I can but don’t parrot the Lord’s prayer. For me, it serves as a model, a how-to prayer. Here’s what we learn of how to pray (Matt. 6:9-13):
- Our Father – not impersonal, unfeeling, but loving family; not an amorphous force field.
- Who art in Heaven – not only inside us, not a human projection, transcendant, above all in power and in person
- Hallowed by thy name – ultimately we serve Him, not He, us
- Thy kingdom come – ultimately the purpose is reaching others for Christ, not filling our whims
- Thy will be done – ultimately, it’s about His will, not ours
- On earth as it is in Heaven – obviously there’s a great lack of perfection here on Earth that we want to realize, just like Heaven is perfect
- Give us this day our daily bread – notice the redundancy (hence it is important to God) or our provision
- Forgive us our trespasses – we humans daily miss the mark of God’s required perfectness, hence we ask forgiveness
- As we forgive those who trespass against us – it is critical for us to forgive others!
- Lead us not into temptation – yeah, good idea to steer clear of that stuff!
- Deliver us from evil – may we not fall prey to merciless destructiveness
- Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory – it’s all His, not ours
my old church in Guatemala today!
Pray along these lines and you’ll do well! The Lord’s prayer tells you to whom you are praying and for what you ought to pray! I think it’s best to use your own words. Keep in mind the start off: He’s our compassionate daddy, not a cruel tyrant or stone-faced taskmaster.
Posted in prayer
Tagged Bible prayers, Christ, Christianity, God, how do I pray?, how to pray?, Jesus, Lord's prayer, prayer, prayers from the Bible, Thy Will Be Done
Why do you gloat? You act proud of not believing in God. You call yourself open-minded, unfettered by religion, etc.
But I don’t see the higher moral ground of not believing in God because it’s as easy as giving up — and there’s no heroism in surrendering. It is enough that the devil assails our faith constantly. It is enough that it is hard to muster faith in the midst of adversity. And then the intellectual world constantly bombards us with darts of discouragement.
It would be easy for me to give up, to give place to the negativity inside me, to cease from faith and blame God (called lack thereof). It is a struggle to believe for finances, for healing, for restoration. To me, struggling against unbelief is heroic. Losing faith is easy — sorry, no kudos for that.
If you are fighting for faith, you are my brother. If you are an atheist, you are my friend, but I don’t understand you.
Posted in inspiration
Tagged atheism, belief, believe, Christ, Christianity, church, existentialism, Faith, God, life, lifestyle
Out of 14 years in jail under the Communists in Romania, I spent three years alone in a cell 30 feet below ground, never seeing sun, moon or stars, flowers or snow, never seeing another man except for the guards and interrogators who beat and tortured me.
I seldom heard a noise in that prison. The guards had felt-soled shoes, and I did not hear their approach.
I had no Bible, or any other books. I had no paper on which to write my thoughts. The only things we were expected to write were statements accusing ourselves and others.
During that time I rarely slept at night. I slept in the daytime. Every night I passed the hours in spiritual exercises and prayer. Every night I composed a sermon and delivered it (to myself).
I had a faint hope that one day I might be released…
To be in a solitary cell under the Communists or the Nazis is to reach the peak of suffering. The reactions of Christians who pas through such trials are something apart from everything else.
Blogger’s Note: I stumbled across this book With God in Solitary Confinement, with the most unattractive cover, and discovered a gem we need to remember. God’s servants are suffering greatly around the world. They are an inspiration for us to live more whole-heartedly for the Lord. He died in 2001.
Posted in Christian, inspiration
Tagged Bible, Christ, Christian, God, human rights, overcoming, persecution, Richard Wurmbrand, Romania, solitary confinement
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Immediately, the Pharisees plot to kill both Jesus and the testament of his power, Lazarus.
“Hypocrite” in Greek simply means actor, so simply defined pretty much everyone in church is a hypocrite — and everyone outside of the church too. Who is not something a poser, a pretender?
If you want to befuddle a Christian, call him this bad word. If you want to skip Sunday worship, bandy about this word. BUT BEWARE: you are using the term too loosely. A hypocrite is NOT someone who flounders the high standards of God’s kingdom; he’s simply a human being.
Rather, a hypocrite is a person like the Pharisees, who in John 11 see Lazarus resurrected and orchestrate the Healer’s murder. A hypocrite is NOT someone who stubs his toe everyday but he who is deliberately evil and hides behind a pretense of righteousness.
In reality, you are NOT a hypocrite if you are sincere about your stumblings. The non-Christian is wrongly applying the word for imperfect believers (only Christ was and is perfect). If you catch me sinning, well surprise, I’m a sinner (saved by grace). I’m not excusing my sin.
My sin is inexcusable. At the same time, it is forgivable — if not by you, at least by God (most importantly, by God). Far from us to call ourselves holier than thou. We are sinners, saved by grace. Though we must strive for betterment, we inexorably flail and fail. Forgive us, but please don’t exclude yourself based on our imperfections.
Our warts are glaringly hideous. We just need a bit of tolerance.
Hannah bore the misery of powerlessness. Childless, she cringed under the withering scorn of those around her and even doubted the love of her husband. There was nothing she could do about it — no fertility doctors back then. In prayer, her lips quivered so bad that the chief priest mistook for a drunk woman.
Powerlessness is the story of salvation. We are absolutely powerlessness to fulfill the law and earn our way to Heaven. So Christ came down from Heaven to do it for us as a man. Powerlessness, then, is the essence of Christianity.
So don’t be overly distressed in a moment of utter powerlessness. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong – 2 Cor. 12:10 NIV. Powerlessness is the stage call the Powerful One. He will appear on scene and vanquish all things that have cornered us and deprived us of our dignity.
Hannah’s prayer got answered. Silencing her rival, she gave birth to Samuel the prophet — and a few more kids afterward. Her rancor turned to rapture.
I first started praying — really praying — when I got involved in the Lighthouse Church in Santa Monica. They had 6:00 a.m. prayer for an hour every morning. I went because 1) it was expected of rising disciples, and 2) in theory, I knew prayer was effective.
However, my first prayings, I am ashamed to admit now, lacked faith. The first real answer to prayer surprised me. I was praying for Blanca, the middle of three sisters, who was in the world. I prayed six months for her to get saved. When she walked into the church, my jaw dropped to the floor. In my head, I said, “Blanca, what are you doing here? I thought you wanted to be in the world.”
To which, the Holy Spirit responded: “Weren’t you praying for her? Why now are you surprised by the answer?”
That’s when I stopped going to prayer out of obligation. From then on, I went because of conviction. I knew that prayer worked! Since I have seen thousands of similar answers. I am addicted to prayer like the junkie to drugs. I only wish I could help people to get the revelation for themselves. That is the purpose of this blog.
Roman roads were built in seven layers, with technology to resist freezing, permit drainage and to last with as little repair as possible. They were smooth and straight, designed to transport heavy building materials and move armies quickly from one province to another.
With the advent of the bicycle and later the motor car in the early 1900s, durable roads were needed in both Europe and America. Drawing upon their Roman ancestors, the Europeans initially outperformed American in road engineering. It wasn’t until after clumsy attempts with wood and even iron that Americans perfect the art. The incipient trucking industry potholed our first roads.
A pastor and a Christian leader is paving the way before new converts to walk in the Way. Christ said, I am the WAY and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me — John 14:6 NIV (caps mine). Ravines were filled in and passes were cut through mountains. The stability of the Empire depended on this network of 400,000 kilometers of roads. You as a leader must forge the path before the new convert to achieve his stability. It is labor intensive, so that’s why Christ has commissioned you. Engineer your ministry in such a way that your construction of Christians helps them go the distance.
Posted in Financial Talk
Tagged Christ, Christian leader, ministry, need for roads, pastor, Road, road building, Roman, Roman road, the way, way