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Posts tagged ‘Sin’

How to Pray ‘On Target’ With Your Spouse.


 

Do you and your wife know how to pray the Word together?
Do you and your wife know how to pray the Word together? (Lightstock)

Habakkuk was an Old Testament prophet who complained a lot to God. He thought God needed to show up and handle all the foolishness and sin that was evident among His people. So God shocked Habakkuk by announcing that He was preparing the Babylonians to bring a judgment upon His people.

In Habakkuk 2:3, God explained, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (NIV).

Did you catch that line: “For the revelation awaits an appointed time”?

Some months before my wife, Vicki, confronted me about my failure to consistently lead us in prayer for one of our children who was struggling, this verse had impressed that concept upon me. It is about God’s sovereignty. God reveals in His timing.

When the light goes on in our lives, usually it is not because we learn new information. Often we already have the information, and what we need is the revelation. In the mystery of God, it is also about His “appointed time.”

This is a mystery to me. Sometimes I think God’s timing is pretty bad, don’t you? But we are not God. Certainly only God always understands the reason for His timing. Sometimes we have a glimpse of understanding, but frequently we are in the dark. It is an evident call for us to trust Him.

That afternoon with Vicki, I had the revelation! As all of this came tumbling out of my wife’s heart—I literally lifted up my hands, as if being arrested, and said, “Guilty … Guilty as charged!” The conviction of God fell heavy upon me. The alarm was ringing with more force and volume than ever before, and I couldn’t hit the snooze button any longer. I was really broken. I felt terrible. I confessed to Vicki, “It hardly seems sufficient to cover the scope of what we are talking about here, but I want to tell you I am sorry. With all my heart, I am so sorry!”

It is a wonderful thing to realize the attendant grace of God. As the revelation of conviction and repentance fell upon me, simultaneously a firm resolve gripped my heart. I said, “You know what Vicki? By the grace of God, this is not going to happen again. I promise. It is not going to happen again!” I sensed my words were at the level of the vows I had given her at the wedding altar.

I continued, “The best we can, within the reasonable limitations and realities of life, we are going to pray together. I know life is very busy, unpredictable, a moving target, but daily prayer together will be the goal. And I am going to take the lead in initiating. I vow to be intentional.”

Suddenly, I even knew how we were going to make this work.

I told Vicki, “Here is how we are going to do it. We are going to pray the Bible! We will let the Bible literally be the guide for our prayers. The Bible will be our template. We are going to intentionally follow God’s Word in our prayers—Scripture praying.

“We will read a paragraph of the Bible together—see how the Holy Spirit might speak to our hearts—and then we will let the text of the Bible be the guide for what we will pray back to God.

“We will run on the tracks of the Scriptures to give us the ideas and content for our prayers. Then we will pray about a few of the other things that are immediately at hand in our lives, family and ministry – and that is it. We will keep it short and then we will be on our way.”

Since it is one my favorite books of the Bible, I suggested we start with the book of Hebrews. And you know what? It was just awesome!

Think about it! What could be better than praying the Word of God itself? The will of God, the truths, principles, prayers, praises, values, and doctrines of God.

Perhaps you have heard of “expository preaching.” An expository preacher preaches through the Bible, verse-by-verse, paragraph-by-paragraph. He allows God’s Word to bring forth the message for God’s people. The Bible becomes the guide to provide the content, ideas, concepts, and exhortations of his preaching and teaching. This approach allows the message to emerge from the Word of God.

So let’s call our approach “Expository Praying.” We can follow the Bible with our prayers. God’s Word will be the guide to show us the topics, ideas, praises, and requests. In doing so, we allow God to show us what to pray about. We “call out” God’s Word in our prayers. The Bible gives us the tracks to follow, and in this way, we can be sure our prayers are on track.

I am either not creative enough or spiritual enough to pray with the same person on a daily or very regular basis and sweep the heavens with all kinds of “thees,” “thous,” spiritual insights, and wonderful intercessions. Praying every time about basically the same things in the same way, I would be boring and/or bored in short order.

But by following the Word of God and by letting the Bible literally be the text of our prayers, then the Bible will take care of keeping our prayers fresh. It will enable us to be as creative and comprehensive as the Bible itself! We will be praying “on target”—the Word and will of God over our lives, family and ministry—in an ever fresh and empowered manner.

SAM INGRASSIA

This second in a series of three articles is adapted from “Just Say the Word: A Simple Way to Increase Your Passion for God and Your Wife” by Sam Ingrassia. Click here for part one. For more information about creating spiritual intimacy by praying with your wife, please visit justsaytheword.net.

Vatican Stresses That Pope Has Not Abolished Sin.


The Vatican felt compelled on Tuesday to deny that Pope Francis had “abolished sin“, after a well-known Italian intellectual wrote that he had effectively done so through his words and gestures.

The singular exchange began on Sunday when Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist who writes opinion pieces for the left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper, published an article titled “Francis’ Revolution: He has abolished sin”.

Scalfari, who held a long private conversation with the pope earlier this year and wrote about it several times, concluded in the complex, treatise-like article that Francis believed sin effectively no longer existed because God’s mercy and forgiveness were “eternal”.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio that “this affirmation that the pope has abolished sin” was wrong.

“Those who really follow the pope daily know how many times he has spoken about sin and our (human) condition as sinners,” Lombardi said.

It was not the first brush between the Vatican and Scalfari, who founded La Repubblica newspaper in 1976.

Last month the Vatican removed from its website the text of Scalfari’s transcript of his conversation with the pope, saying parts of it were not reliable.

Scalfari said he had not used a tape recorder or taken notes when he met the pope but reconstructed the long session from memory afterwards and made additions to help the flow of the article.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Franklin Graham: ‘I Support My Friend Phil Robertson’.


Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham (BGEA)

Phil Robertson’s desire is to see all men and women repent—that is to turn from their sin and follow Christ in obedience. Indeed, that’s his own story, as he freely shares. This is my desire too.

We live in a culture that openly supports and promotes sin against God. While Phil Robertson is not anyone’s judge—God is, and will judge all sin. Jesus Christ came to this earth to save sinners, which includes me.

I have appreciated the Robertson family’s commitment to biblical values, and that they have not backed down in a politically correct world that is tolerant of everything except biblical standards and values. I pray that we would be a nation where we can disagree civilly while holding firm convictions.

I support my friend Phil Robertson.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

FRANKLIN GRAHAM

Study: Many Believers Struggle to Obey God’s Word.


reading Bible
Canadian churchgoers say reading the Bible has changed their life, and they readily confess their sins. (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Canadian churchgoers say reading the Bible has changed their life and they readily confess their sins, according to a survey by LifeWay Research.

The survey included 1,086 Canadian lay people who attend church at least once a month.

More than half say they try to avoid temptations but few say that becoming a better Christian involves self-denial.

About a third (33 percent) of Canadian churchgoers agree with the statement, “A Christian must learn to deny himself/herself in order to serve Christ.” Close to half (45 percent) disagreed.

“Obeying God and Denying Self” is one of eight attributes of discipleship found in the Transformational Discipleship study conducted by Nashville, Tenn.-based LifeWay Research.

Each of the eight attributes consistently shows up in the lives of spiritually growing believers, said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research.

McConnell said researchers didn’t list specific sins that churchgoers should avoid. Instead, they were more interested in people’s attitudes. They wanted to see how important obeying God is to churchgoers.

He said spiritual maturity goes beyond avoiding sin and asking for forgiveness. It also involves conscious choices to obey God’s will rather than our own.

“Obeying God is only easy when a person’s own desires match God’s,” McConnell said. “Until believers have the same mind as Christ, denying their own natural desires will be hard.”

The survey asked churchgoers how often they confess sins or ask for forgiveness. It’s a way to measure a spiritual attribute called “Obeying God and Denying Self.”

Sixteen percent of those surveyed say they confess sin and seek forgiveness daily. One in five say they confess to God a few times a week. Almost a quarter (23 percent) rarely or never confess sins and wrongdoings to God and ask forgiveness.

The survey also asked churchgoers how proactive they are in avoiding sin.

Just over half (52 percent) agree with the statement: “I try to avoid situations in which I might be tempted to think or do immoral things.” Twenty-five percent disagree, and 23 percent are indifferent.

More than half of Canadian churchgoers (58 percent) change their attitudes when they feel those attitudes displease God.

The idea of obeying God, however, got mixed results, especially the statement: “When I realize that I have a choice between ‘my way’ and ‘God’s way,’ I usually choose my own way.”

Forty-percent disagree, while nearly the same number (38 percent) neither agree nor disagree. Only two percent strongly agree, while 22 percent agree overall.

The survey also reveals actions that lead to higher scores on the “Obeying God and Denying Self” attribute, according to researchers.

Those actions include:

  • Attending a worship service;
  • Making a decision to obey or follow God with an awareness that choosing His way may in some way be costly;
  • Being discipled or mentored one-on-one by a more spiritually mature Christian;
  • Reading the Bible or a book about what is in the Bible;
  • Praying for unbelieving acquaintances;
  • Setting aside time for prayer of any kind.

McConnell noted that “Obeying God and Denying Self” is the only one of the eight attributes of discipleship that was predicted by more frequent worship attendance.

It’s a sign that spiritual maturity often happens in community, said McConnell.

“Many people think of obeying God as something they must do on their own,” he said. “However, it’s clear through the research findings that the teaching, encouragement and accountability of corporate worship have a direct impact on obedience.”

These findings on obeying God and denying self are part of the largest discipleship study of its kind. Results from each of the eight attributes of spiritual maturity will continue to be released over the coming months.

LifeWay Research used the study’s data to develop a questionnaire for believers, called the Transformational Discipleship Assessment (TDA). This online evaluation delivers both individual and group reports on spiritual maturity based on eight factors of biblical discipleship. The TDA also provides practical suggestions for continued spiritual development.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

The Message of Hope.


The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. —John 1:29

The time has come for the people of God to wake up and recognize what is going on in the church. The enemy keeps gnawing away, deceiving us into accepting one lie after another, luring us into believing a compromised gospel, until the diluted body we call the church is pleasing to everyone except God.

It is time once again for the church to show the people their transgressions and point out their sins. Sin is the one thing we all have in common, but nobody likes to talk about. Sin stops us from receiving all God has for us.

The message of sin is a message of hope, for Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. We need not shrink from calling sin what it is, even at the risk of being rejected and ridiculed. Some will always turn away when confronted with their sin, but many more will be saved.

Jesus, convict me of my sin by Your Spirit.
Give me the boldness and courage to
confront sin in my life and
my world. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

Which Side are You On?.


James Merritt
Luke 23:33,39-43

INTRODUCTION

1. The universal symbol of the Christian faith is the cross, the old rugged cross. The empty tomb may be the foundation of Christianity, but the cross is the focus of Christianity. When we think of the place called Calvary; when we think of that “hill far away” in our mind’s eye we can picture the cross upon which Jesus died.

2. But too often we forget there was not just one cross that day. There were three. “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, AND THE CRIMINALS, one on the right hand and the other on the left.” (v.33) There was more than one cross, and there was more than one crucifixion. There was a cross of redemption, but there was also a cross of reception and a cross of rejection.

3. Someone has observed that Jesus did not die in a cathedral between two candles. He died on a cross between two criminals. Three men died that day on a cross. One was a benefactor, one was a blasphemer, one was a believer. One was a Savior, one was a sinner, and one was a saint. One man died for sin. Another man died in sin. The third man died to sin.

4. Now the fact that a Holy Savior died between hopeless sinners was not just an accident. It was an appointment. This was a fulfillment of prophecy for Isaiah had said 750 years before about the Messiah “And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12b)

5. Before this world was even created, God had made an appointment in his calendar for the Savior to meet these sinners and for these sinners to meet the Savior. Two men died that day. One man died on the wrong side of Jesus. One man died on the right side of Jesus. Friend, when the day comes that you die, the only question that will really matter is: which side are you on?

6. Now both men were on the wrong side of Jesus, but one man got on the right side of Jesus. The way he got right is the way we must get right. So I want us to look at Calvary through the eyes of a sinner who became a saint.

I. The Revelation Of His Sin

1. This thief saw something in the last minutes of his life, that had he not seen it, would have doomed his soul forever. That is, he saw his sinfulness.

2. He realized that it was his sin that had nailed him to the cross. But more than that, he realized it was his sin that had nailed Jesus to the cross. The reason why this thief was saved is because he finally realized he was lost.

3. He realized because he was a lost sinner he needed to fear a holy God. It was his fear of God that led to his faith in God. It is important to understand not only why one thief was saved, but also to understand why the other thief was lost.

A. No Fear Of The Person Of God

1. One thief wanted to save his soul. The other thief wanted to save his skin. “Then …

{ Day 279 }.


The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:8-10

David opened his heart again in Psalm 103 to express what he knew about the way God‘s heart worked. He was saying, “When I deserve to be punished, He forgives me and restores me in love.” David knew that God had removed his sins as far as the east is from the west. This was David’s revelation of God’s heart. He learned to relate to God on the basis of God’s passion for him rather than his own performance. Beloved, only a student of God’s emotions can recover so quickly after grievous compromise. God forgives us today so we will grow in the fear of God tomorrow. If He wiped us out today, we would never become mature, God-fearing people. This is God’s strategy toward us. He wants to deal gently with us even though it requires burning our Ziklags. He does not want to mark our iniquities but to forgive them so we can go on to be great in love. He wants our confidence to be based in the revelation of His desire for us and His work on the cross.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Lord, if You treated me as I deserve, You would banish me from Your presence. Yet it is my sins that You remove, taking them as far away as the east is from the west. Thank You so much for raising me up to walk with You again in holiness. Complete Your work in me.

Do you need to overcome a spirit of fear that
gets in the way of your intimacy with God?

By MIKE BICKLE.

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