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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Writing

Usually when I’m about to make a post, I’ll have written it out, whether it be on a piece of paper or in my journal.

I’m going to try something new. Writing it plain and simple, no piece of paper or page in my journal.

It’ll show my flaws. It’ll show what my writing looks raw. Yes, it’ll be revised. But it’ll be the base material; it’ll have the original piece still in it.

This also isn’t my usual post. Surprise? The last one wasn’t like the posts I usually do.

Welcome to how my mind works.

I go from one topic to another. It is hard to focus, especially when I’m writing. It’s not because I don’t like writing or it’s hard for me to write. In fact, it is almost too easy for me. And as I write my mind goes off on tangents thinking of all the possible topics I could write on or everything that is on my mind.

Just like it is hard for me to focus on My Jesus.

Writing. Write.ing. Two syllable word. A seven letter word. A seven letter word that means a lot to me.
Being able to write. I’m so thankful for it. I use the gift God has given me to be able to do this – blog and share about God’s word. I use this gift to write amazing stories and poems. I also use this gift to my personal advantage. Writing down my feelings. I write down everything, literally, that goes through my mind exactly how I thought of it.

Like I said before, my mind wanders from one thing to another. I do not wish to elaborate, as that’s what my journal is for and maybe someday it’ll be in a post, but as of now… sorry. Of course this post has a point, it isn’t just me going on and on and on writing how I love to write. No, but it has gotten me thinking.

I dropped the line, “Just like it is hard for me to focus on My Jesus.”

It is true. Oh so often I find myself focusing on school, or music, or even cleaning or even my family and the struggle of living. I lose focus on Him. I try to do a devotional each morning. A small one, almost everyone probably has heard of it – it’s called Our Daily Bread. It is a great little devotional. Whether you can relate to the devos or not, it is eye opening and wonderful. But even when, in the quiet of the morning, I’ll be reading it, I still find it hard to focus. I go off planning my day, calculating how much homework I’ll have that day and how long it’ll take me to do it… yadda, yadda, yadda.

I don’t want my mind to wander as I spend time with My Lord, My Jesus. I’m sure I’m not the only one; I know I’m not the only one. I know that I’m proud enough to not admit it right away, that no, life isn’t easy. It’s not easy finding time and just sitting down and spending time with Christ. More often or not I find it easier to sit down and do my homework and listen to music. I just don’t get those people who are like, “Oh, yeah I sit down each morning and spend an hour reading and praying.” I marvel at that, at such dedication, I really do… if it is real true time with Christ. And there are people who spend hours with God and you can tell, you can tell that their faith is unshakable; firm in a solid foundation.

I envy that… “Thou shalt not envy.”

I want that… “Thou shalt not covet.”

But see, I can envy and covet that. That which is an amazing relationship with Jesus.
He wants me to envy and want a relationship with him, because he is My Saving Grace. He is our Saving Grace.

Yes, I’m a strong Christian. I have a firm faith, but it isn’t as firm as I’d like it to be. I want to sort of faith that the people living in persecution have – that no matter what they don’t waver.

Would I be able to stand up to that sort of test?

I don’t want to have to go through that to find out. I want to just know. 

I can feel Him in me. Trust me, he’s there and he’s working.

He is living in my heart, for it is His home. But there is the fact of handing over everything. The deed, the title, the key. And allowing him to rule every part of my Heart and my life. 

My Heart, Christ’s Home.

I may be weak, but the Spirit is strong in me. My flesh will fail, by My God never will fail.

God Gives Me Faith.

His love is relentless. He will never stop seeking to spend time with me, even though I may stop and go. Start and stop and restart. He’s always there, always at the same meeting place. I just have to meet him there, and I will. I go to him excited. Excited that I get to spend time with Him. Cause in the end, he’s all that matters. He’s always by my side.

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The Bravery of Your Ordinary Girl

   Date: March 1, 2014.

   This morning I read the book of Esther. I had always known it was a story about a girl who saved her people from annihilation. But up until now, I hadn’t really read the book of Esther and thought about what really went on in it.

   First off, for those who don’t know or aren’t familiar with the story, it is about a Hebrew girl who becomes the queen of Persia and saves her people from being destroyed by a powerful man in the king’s court. Esther is aided by her gifts of beauty, faith, and wisdom from God along with her cousin and guardian, Mordeci. If you want to really read the whole story (which I strongly suggest you do, it isn’t long), it is found in the seventeenth book of the Old Testament, called Esther.

   Now, I know when I was little, I always thought of Esther as a grown woman, maybe in her 20s – in all the movies, pictures, etc. that was how I had seen her depicted. In which, she was, though she wasn’t in her 20s, but in her time she was considered to be a grown woman. In our day and age she would’ve been considered a girl. Esther was a young woman – a virgin woman – who was probably no older than seventeen. Scary though, huh? (To those teenage girls out there reading this)

   Esther or Hadassah was an orphan. The Bible isn’t specific as to how old she was exactly when her parents died or how they died, but it says she was very young when Mordeci took her in as his own. You may be wondering about the name Hadassah, which means “myrtle” – Hadassah is Esther’s Hebrew name. Esther, which means “star” is her Persian name. When the Jewish people were exiled and captured first by the Babylonians, who fell to the Persians, they were given new names or names that were easier for the Persians to know and with these re-namings, it wiped the Jewish heritage in a sense or covered it up. It was like a supremacy play – renaming was like changing one’s identity.

   As I read further into the book of Esther, parts became familiar. These were the parts of the story that I had heard in those childhood stories. What I didn’t fully recognize was how truly terrified and brave Esther truly was. She was, and can be, definitely deemed as a heroine. In order to saver her people, who Haman was plotting to rid the world of. Esther had to go to the King and plead his blessing (please him) and ask him to reverse a decree Haman had put out. Now, we all may think – or I know I did – she’s the queen, he’s the king, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Customs were different then, unless the king called for the queen, she wasn’t welcome (or anyone for that matter) into the throne room. That idea of the Queen doing whatever she pleased is bologna. Yes, she did have freedom to do as she wished, but she had to obey the King’s laws – when he did summon her, she had to come. No ifs, buts, or whys. If anyone – or the queen – entered and the king didn’t find favor or holds “out [his] golden scepter so that [whoever] may live” (4:11), well it was death for the poor soul that entered.

   Esther was willing to risk it all – she was willing to give up her life to save her people. She had requested prayer and fasting from Mordeci and the Hebrew people three days in advance. God was watching over her. The event that took place wasn’t just chance or luck, it was a God moment. Not only did she gain his approval and kept her life, “she won favor in his sight” (5:2). He even showed compassion and sought to please whatever desires she wished. I think I would’ve fainted out of relief. Her request – well, she asked if the King and Haman would feast with her. She could’ve bailed completely on her plan at that moment  and instead requested riches, luxuries, etc. but she didn’t. She stayed loyal to her people and focused on her plan as well as determined.

  At the feast, or when it was finished, the King asks Esther, “What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request?” (5:6). I think this threw Esther off a bit – as she was not expecting it, even though in the text she seems calm and collected. She asks that King Ahasuerus (or Xerses I) and Haman dine with her the next night.

  During the course of the night Haman plots to hang Mordeci, though God doesn’t allow it. For what seems like a coincident, wasn’t at all. That same night, after the feast, the King cannot sleep and calls for “the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles” (6:1) to be read to him. He learned that Mordeci had saved the king’s life from two of the gate eunuchs and had not  been rewarded.  The next morning, he calls for Haman, but doesn’t mention Mordeci’s name, and asks what should be done for a man who has essentially saved his life.  Haman tells of the extravagance this man should be clothed in and honored, being paraded down the roads with a high ranked official proclaiming the favor the man has sought from the King. I love how God has such humor and knows how to knock someone off their high horse. The ironic even occurs: Haman must do all he told the King for Mordeci. And he must lead him down the streets proclaiming. This is what saves Mordeci’s life.

  Meanwhile, that even after the feast Esther really confronts the King, or answers his question of how he can grant her wishes.

This is the part that just amazes me.

Elegance. Bravery. Grace. Courage.

Understand that Haman is essentially the second in command; a little below the Queen. He is very powerful. Esther tells the King that there is a person plotting against her and her people – the Jews.

   She had not told anyone of her heritage. Naturally, the King asks who (or not naturally, but relieving). Esther stands up (not literally) to the bully – she says rather boldly, “‘A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!'” (7:6). As I write this, I never realized why Esther invited Haman. I mean, yes, he was basically the King’s right-hand man, but she needed him there to be able to really point out who, physically. For in the Bible, after Esther breaks Haman’s plot, he is immediately “terrified of [of] the king and queen,” (7:6).

   King Ahasuerus, instead of being enraged by Esther’s reveal, he is enraged ay Haman. Haman doesn’t even try to plead his case – he had enough power, he could’ve. Esther was a Jew. Even the King could’ve thrown her out and called her crazy. But he wasn’t. Haman’s plot in the end becomes his own demise. Esther saves her people and has truly won the heart of the King.

  The application – if that’s what you want to call it – is that anyone, especially girls, can do more than just look pretty. We have voices and are more than able to speak up. Esther was a 16-17 year old girl who became queen and saved her people because of how God worked through her and gave her bravery and courage. In the ancient times, women didn’t have the same freedoms or rights as men. They were seen more as property. In the Twenty-First Century, we have the same rights as men in America. We have the equality. It’s a privilege, too. The fact that the King loved and valued her and listened to her is miraculous, literally. She was respectful. Through God anything is possible (Matt. 19:26). We, as girls, women, can be inspired by Esther – her bravery, faith, and dependence on God is awing. She was just a Hebrew girl. She was not famous, she had no real status. God could’ve pick anyone. Kind Ahasuerus could’ve chosen another woman to be queen, but he chose Esther (mainly though because of her beauty). She really was the star at that time. A star twinkles and stands out against the night sky. She did that.

   We are called to stand out, not only as Christians, but as individuals. The bravery, courage, love, kindness, and so on of one person can change either one person’s life or many people’s lives. God had a plan for Esther, she trusted him – gave him her all. We don’t know what our calling is at first. Some learn early on, some later. Whatever it is, it is amazing and perfect for you. We just have to full believe and trust.

Be brave. Be courageous. Be bold. Be you. Trust Him. Reflect Him.

Invite Him to live in your heart. Watch as your life unfolds and how we works wonders in your life and those around you.

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Prayer & Perspective

A verse that I’ve thought of on and off lately is the Lord’s Prayer – or as I like to call it ‘The Disciple’s Prayer’ – since Jesus gave the prayer to his followers as a guideline of how they should pray; Jesus already knew how to pray. I’ve always thought of prayer as something more than “special wording meant for Jesus.” It’s a personal thing; and that’s how God intended prayer to be – he wants your true thoughts and word, coming straight from your heart. A prayer shouldn’t be something you memorize and recite each night; it shouldn’t be like a script for then it loses its whole meaning.

I am only using the first four verses of the passage (Matthew 6:5-9), but the whole passage can be found in Matthew 6:5-18. I use the ESV version for verses.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward,” (vs. 5).

Pause there for a second. Before I go on, I want to point out these lines alone, are the first verse. This is a crucial verse. For oh-so-often, too many Christians get caught up in themselves – believing they know it all. The modern day “Little Christ” is not like the early, first Christians. “Little Christ” is what Christian means – it was coined when the first disciples were teaching, and actually the word Christian or “Little Christ” was meant as an insult.

The modern day Christians often think highly of themselves; thinking of how much better off they are because they know Christ and others don’t. They don’t care about the poor and needy – their focus is on money, while they teach Jesus’ sermons on how to care for the poor, broken-hearted, and lost souls. This is wrong, wrong, wrong; the opposite of how a Christian is supposed to act. Sadly, by preaching and having people look at them and either marvel or scoff, they get their reward of satisfaction. They are not true Christians – they do not live up to the definition of a “Little Christ.” Because these Christians are so caught in themselves they do not receive or get to experience the amazing wonders, things, and feelings that Jesus has to offer us.

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who is in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him,” (vs. 6-8).

It is true, often it is the short, simple things that work best. Long, drawn ouutttt things make people lose interest, especially if they aren’t to the point. When people ramble on and just add “fluff,” they really don’t know what they are talking about. As it says in (some concordance to) verse 7, they are just wasting their breath and their words are “heap[ing] up [like] empty phrases” – they have no meaning.

God knows what is on our hearts and minds, he’s more than aware of our needs – but he also knows that we need a way to communicate our feelings, needs, and what is on our minds and hearts to him (not just other people). He gave us a way to do so: prayer. This, to me personally, meant so much, knowing I had a way to connect to my Father in heaven. Knowing there was someone, someone who was so powerful and perfect, was always there for a sinful ridden and hurting person like me… is just indescribable. He always listened. He always comforted in some way. He won’t tell anyone. And to me, that meant a lot, as my trust to certain people has been cut. I know that when I can’t find the words to express how I’m am feeling – he knows exactly what I’m feeling and going through. All I have to say in my mind, in the quiet of my room, is: “Father, help me – you know my heart and thoughts. Please help me to get over this painful feeling that’s tearing me apart in an indescribable way.”

He’ll always listen to you in your hardest moments.

It is comforting to know that my Father knows what I need before I ask him, that relationship between Father and daughter (or son) is unbreakable and imaginable by people who don’t truly know what it is like to know such a force. Those people who stand on the streets proclaiming out loud don’t hear when God calls them, like we do, they don’t hear it because of all the noise they’re making. For God doesn’t normally communicate in the form of a thunderstorm (per-say) – loud and noisy, but he comes like a soft wind, blowing gently. Only those who are quiet and listen can hear it.

When God calls to those lost people out proclaiming on the streets or elsewhere, they don’t hear him, or if they do, they ignore him. Even when fellow believers try to humbly point out that their ways are wrong or try to kindly help them in the right direction, they most often push them off. They point their finger at them, saying they are the wrong-doers; they are the false believers. And it is sad, but it is reality. We live in a fallen world and we are waiting desperately for our Savior to return to take us home.

Our Lord is like a shepherd – he calls and pulls us back when we are lost. He is most persistent and never gives up, even with those who are stubborn. But there are cases when flesh must die and their time to be redeemed runs out or the sheep don’t want to live under the wing of their shepherd. They believe there is something better; they get lost in the ways of the world.

I hope you all got as much as I did out of this verse – if not more.

I am no longer eager, bold, and strong

  All that is past; I am ready not to do

At last, at last, 

  My half day’s work is done,

And this is all my part,

  I give a patient God

My patient heart.

p 265, March by Geraldine Brooks

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Good Thing to Remember

I was talking to one of my best friends, about how tonight (or the night of September 6, 2013), at bible study, one of my old youth pastors, was visiting, and he talked about how there are good Christians, Christians who study the Bible, go to church, to good, etc. but they don’t really live for Christ. What they (we) really need to do is die to ourselves, so that we can live for God. We need to focus on the things he’s given us each day, and when we have accomplishments, we need to not praise ourselves or be happy. We need to praise and thank Him.

There are times, when I’m desperate I go to God. But most of the time, maybe I’ll say a quick prayer and go on my way. But it’s only in time of need, when in reality I should be talking to him each day, not just when I need that “lean to” person, even though he’s happy to help and is always there for us. God also wants us to focus on him all the time. He wants us to go through trials. He’s going to test us; to see how well we stand up and also to remind us again (and again if necessary) that we need him. More than ever. And when we get lost, he knows how to capture us and bring us back.

My friend made the comment of: “That’s definitely hard to remember to do every day. We get so caught up in our lives that we forget about Him who gave us life.”

My username on so many accounts is “CapturedbyChrist.” And it’s true. But I sometimes don’t let him capture me, I’m like a mustang, running away, not wanting to submit; to live my own way, when in reality, I need to submit to him as my leader, the one I need to trust, depend on, love, and always remember no matter what. He’s always there for me.

We do, we get so caught up in school, how our grades are, what homework we need to do. We’re always planning ahead. We don’t take each day step by step. We take each week leap by leap. With God, we oh so often as for what our future is going to look like; what’s the master plan, when instead, we need to be asking him what the next step is. Not leap. Step. One foot in front of the other. Slowly, steady, constant. No leaps, jumps, or haste. Patience is key.

Some of this little “philosophy” is based off a book (I don’t remember the title), and how it states the “Joseph Principle.” Of how, in the end when Joseph was thrown in the pit by his brothers, was sold into slavery, then by his wisdom, became the 2nd in command of Egypt and it just so happened the Israel was having a famine and his brother came to Egypt to seek food, Joseph recognized them, at first he was a little angry. But he forgave them, and he was able to save his family and bring them to Egypt. All this wasn’t by his own power, or glory. It was by God. God had a step-by-step plan for him. God knew what he needed, he knew the whole story, and he knew, even when Joseph celebrated, that he wasn’t doing it for himself, patting himself on the back, no Joseph was thanking God. Joseph knew what God had done. God’s grace and mercy are ever over-flowing and present.

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Discipleship in a Broken World pt 3

Part 3 of How Following Christ Transforms Everything and Discipleship in a Broken World

“So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it–to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

– Philemon 1:17-25 (ESV)

In verses 17 to 19, Paul talks about how a disciple sacrifices for broken relationships. In these few verses, we see that he (Paul) is asking Philemon to set aside his rights as a Roman and accept Onesimus and consider the higher calling to be like Christ. Paul points that, when you get involved with helping and living for Christ, it does cost. Sometimes you, as the offended party have to stop up first and forgive. God sent his son to be among flesh, he paid the debt we could not pay. He intervened, because we could not. This is the appendix of the Christian teachings.

When Paul wrote the letter to Philemon, he left a P.S. In this, Paul said, I will repay you. He also says an “I owe you” to Philemon – as Philemon owes Paul his life.

Forgiveness and intervening is costly, and the reason disciples like to intercede is because it is refreshing and healing, and it works. All the skinless–bloody–knuckles are worth it.

In the last set of verses (verses 20-25), Paul makes the point that a disciple is confident that Christ can heal broken relationships. In the original text (Greek), “refresh my heart” was written as (excuse the bad spelling and unknown ‘pronunciation’) “shplankma,” which means “refresh me.” It is refreshing and rewarding when a person’s heart break – and when I say break I don’t mean in the “love sick” like break. I mean a heart breaking, like a when someone is breaking a horse and the horse gives in, it is a happy moment.
Paul is sure that Philemon will do the right thing, he is also confident that Philmeon will go above and beyond. There is a great deal of creativity we do when we forgive; there just isn’t one standard way of forgiving. When we forgive, we are also accountable to others. We do not live in a vacuum; unlike a vacuum and how it only sucks things in and not out, the way we live our live does affect others.

A root of bitterness in forgiveness and stubbornness in willing to let others in affects the whole body. You can either shatter the faith, break it down, or pump life into it. People will see it and see the grace of God. People will see the spirit working in you; God has dumped his grace on us, and we need to do the same for others.

Forgiveness is one of the most god-like acts we can come close to doing or perform. When we go the extra step; intercede and help out, people will see it – they will see that we have hope, and love, and grace, it is through the grace of God that we are able to show these ‘characteristics.’ The world’s hope – that people will forgive. The reason we still have so many broken relationships is because someone isn’t willing to step up and forgive.

Each one of us here is in debt to our parents, teachers, and obligations to repay, though they don’t expect it, it is our duty to forgive whether or not they have blatantly wronged us or didn’t mean to wrong us. When we don’t forgive, we thwart the plan of God.

“Prayers are the nerves that move the muscles of God’s powers.” – Unknown

Before you close the tab or go back, take a minute to answer these questions. And please answer them full-heartedly, not a third, or half, or five-sixths heartedly – make sure it’s 100% full-hearted. There are only two questions, and one I wrote down an answer, but see if you can come up with your own.

– What is the nature of forgiveness?
It is promising that you will not take revenge on the person who wronged you. It’s saying I won’t bring it up to you, myself, and other people.
– As a disciple, how far should I go to intercede in a broken relationship?

Some relating verses:

– Isaiah 2:4

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mirrored sunset

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

– Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV)

We live in a time of war, not just physically like with the Iraq or Afghanistan war, but also spiritually. So many Christians lose faith because the Devil is able to creep his way in and take out, we must, in order to fight him off, put on the armor of God. There are four points in these ten verses. The first being the armor of God (10-12). The “full armor of God” is referring to the Psalm and Isaiah soldier; Ps. 59:17. It is only with the armor of God that we can defend against the Devil. When we try to do it ourselves it doesn’t work out so well and we end up losing the battle and seriously wounded. In verse twelve it says: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” It’s true. We are not fighting beings with flesh-and-blood, we are fighting dark forces; dark spirits that would love to ruin our lives and make sure we never see the light of Christ. In this day and age our modern war technology is amazing and deathly accurate, but it’s useless when fighting a war that one cannot see physically. We must turn to “old-world technology” and less advanced ways; we must put on the armor of God and arm ourselves with his word and prayer.

In the second point, the passage talks about the specific parts of the armor of God (13-17). Each part of the armor blocks major places we are vulnerable and replaces those weaknesses with God’s strength. There’s the belt of truth – for flesh loves to deceive and lie. The body armor of righteousness, to protect our hearts and keep them pure with good morals, for flesh likes to corrupt the good. The shoes of peace, so that we may be swift and well in sharing with others about God’s love and spiritual peace. The shield of faith is there to stop the arrows of the dark side (Devil) and keep them from burning our souls and turning them to ashes. The helmet of salvation, to protect our head so that we can make right choices and acknowledge our salvation and surrender in Christ. Finally, there’s the sword of the Spirit, which we use to cut down and vanquish the enemy and turn others to God, for the sword of the Spirit is God’s word; the Bible.

In the third point, I want to emphasize of blocking and extinguishing the Devil’s fire (16-17). When we block his fire, we don’t want to just bounce it off and let it burn elsewhere, when we block it, we need to them charge and suffocate it so that it cannot burn in the place it seeks to wreak havoc and destruction. To put that fire out we need to use God’s word, as well as prayer,  and speak the words of truth and justice. God’s word is like rain to the Devil’s fire – it rains till it’s out. Arming ourselves with verses for every occasion will prove us well, even if it seems like a waste of time at first, it’s not. At all. You’ll be thankful one day that you sat down, or while on a business trip, or on the school bus you looked at one verse and memorized it, adding it to your permanent memory bank, for you’ll be able to think and treasure each verse.

In the final point, it’s using prayer and the word of God in this spiritual battlefield – warfare if you will. We are told to pray at all times and on every occasion. At first it seems absurd, but once one does it enough, it becomes a part of life and we grow in our faith; stronger in it. Prayer is one of the biggest connections we have to our heavenly Father – it’s our way of communication to Him. When our connection isn’t strong, then our relationship with Him isn’t as strong as it could be. It’s like if you didn’t talk to your father often, your relationship would be poor and you wouldn’t trust him as much, and when you needed help, he wouldn’t understand well, because your communication was lacking. Of course God knows your every thought and feeling, but he loves when we talk to him and let out our frustration and troubles. We need to pray, too for each other. We are all in the battlefield – at school, our homes, or out on the mission field. We need to ask God to give us the wisdom and the words to speak to share and spread His word and the good news about Him. Even when we’re in chains (spiritually or literally), we need to still be bold and share. His word is like a wild fire – once it catches it spreads fast.

In conclusion, we need to though, understand that faith does not protect us, but it seeks to find a protector – God. To me, my faith is like a privilege. Jesus did not have to die to save us from certain spiritual death. He did not have to create us. He did not have to share about His wonders and amazing love and forgiveness. I am so glad that He did do those things… and more, much more. We cannot thank him enough. Reason alone will never figure out this world. We need the word of God to discern things in this world for us.

Some corresponding passages are Ephesians 4:1, which is one of the main points in this passage – it’s part of its context. Ephesians 4:44 also corresponds to this passage – it talks about putting on a new self, putting on these new weapons, and bracing to go out and share the Faith. In Psalm 88 it talks about wrestling with God, which is and can be a part of the spiritual warfare we endeavor and have to conquer with putting up a white flag and surrendering ourselves to God. Hebrews 12:1-3  talks about God and how He promises to bring differentiation to our lives because he loves us. Psalm 18 is about how we need to be trusting in God at all times, it talks of how there are perils, it seems, and how God is our solid foundation – a foundation that is never shaken or broken. Romans 13:8-12 is a great parallel to this passage, vs. 8 talks how we own no one anything, except loving each other, 10b talks how love is fulfilling, and vs. 12 talks about casting off darkness and putting on armor of light.

A Few Reflection Questions:

    1. How does this fit in with everyday life?
    2. Verse 10 is a continuation of verse 9, it is about family, work, etc. How does spiritual warfare play out in these places?
    3. In one of the corresponding passages, Romans 13:8-12, verse 8 and 10b talk about how we owe no one anything, except loving each other and how love is fulfilling. How do you think you could apply these to your lifestyle and seeing how true love is fulfilling?

Love moves towards people – it does not pull away.

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This study of Prayer will be focused around verses found in Matthew. They are Matthew 6:5-8, 14-15 (NIV):

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him… For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

In the first two verses, verses 5 and 6, Jesus is telling his disciples to do something in these verses. He’s telling them not to pray for attention so that others may see “what an amazing and committed, as well as good Christian you are.” No. Instead, he tells them to go to a quiet, private place. For men (and women!) who “brag” with loud prayers so all can see receive their reward there – their human flesh’s satisfaction of people paying attention to them. But for those who leave to go quietly to a place of peace, our unseen Father above rewards us, since we went to a place in secret. Prayer is personal and powerful, don’t ruin it by making yourself look higher than others, because then you’re just babbling.

Verses 7 and 8, it’s here Jesus tells us more – do not pray like pagans! They babble on to their gods, they pray but it’s meaningless. Why? Because they don’t truly believe. They think their gods hear them for the many “praise words” and “askings” they do. When in reality, it’s nothing. When we pray and speak many meaningless words, it makes the prayer lose its “base.” God knows what you need even before you need it. He cares for you. Prayer is a way to communicate  to your Father, talk to him just like you would to your father on earth – casually and straight forward.

Now, adding in a verse not mentioned above, is verse 9: “”This, then, is how you should pray:'” In this verse Jesus is now about so show us how to properly pray.

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
 your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’”

Recognize it? It’s what people call “The Lord’s Prayer.” Though in reality, it should be called “The Disciples’ Prayer,” because of how it was meant for the disciples, Jesus already knew very well how to pray to his father. And also, see how casual it is? Now, we don’t use those lines every time, but we need to pray along those lines – down to “business” – in our own personal way.

In the last two verses, Jesus reflects on forgiveness, based on the twelfth verse: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” If we forgive the people who do wrong against us, persecute, or tear us down, God too forgives us for our wrongs – because we recognized the wrong we’ve done to others. But if we stay stuck on the wrong done to us and don’t forgive, God won’t forgive either. For our hearts were in the wrong place, they were hard as stone with hate and other feelings.

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