Reality and Relation – Thinking of Prayer as Jesus Taught

Reality and Relation

And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5b

Most Christians understand the idea that God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Every member of humankind was to bear the image of God throughout the earth to represent God’s dominion and authority over His creation. We might say that individuals bearing the image of God are to represent the reality of God in their character and behavior.

But there is another dimension to God that is represented by groups of individuals: the relational part of God. Starting in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:24), God used marriage as a metaphor for how He relates to those whom He loves. Beginning with Israel, God has related to His people as a bridegroom relates to his bride (Isaiah 54:6-8; 62:5; Hosea 2:19-20). Then, in the New Testament, we find Paul using marriage to illustrate the relationship between Christ and His Church (and vice versa) (Ephesians 5:22-33). As individuals, we bear witness to the reality of God, and as couples we illustrate the relational dimension of God. Both are powerful witnesses to a watching world.

Couples should consider: What do people see of God and His love when they see our marriage?

A Single Thought: May our lives reflect God’s love—it is the portrait of God’s image to others.

Thinking of Prayer as Jesus Taught

Pray without ceasing… —1 Thessalonians 5:17

Our thinking about prayer, whether right or wrong, is based on our own mental conception of it. The correct concept is to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts. Our blood flows and our breathing continues “without ceasing”; we are not even conscious of it, but it never stops. And we are not always conscious of Jesus keeping us in perfect oneness with God, but if we are obeying Him, He always is. Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life of the saint. Beware of anything that stops the offering up of prayer. “Pray without ceasing…”— maintain the childlike habit of offering up prayer in your heart to God all the time.

Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He had the unlimited certainty of knowing that prayer is always answered. Do we have through the Spirit of God that inexpressible certainty that Jesus had about prayer, or do we think of the times when it seemed that God did not answer our prayer? Jesus said, “…everyone who asks receives…” (Matthew 7:8). Yet we say, “But…, but….” God answers prayer in the best way— not just sometimes, but every time. However, the evidence of the answer in the area we want it may not always immediately follow. Do we expect God to answer prayer?

The danger we have is that we want to water down what Jesus said to make it mean something that aligns with our common sense. But if it were only common sense, what He said would not even be worthwhile. The things Jesus taught about prayer are supernatural truths He reveals to us.

The fiery furnaces are there by God’s direct permission. It is misleading to imagine that we are developed in spite of our circumstances; we are developed because of them. It is mastery in circumstances that is needed, not mastery over them. The Love of God—The Message of Invincible Consolation, 674 R


Hindrances To Knowing God’s Will

Romans 12:1-2

The Bible tells us that God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect in every way (Rom. 12:2). To live life at its spiritual best, we need to discover His plans and desires for us, and then we must walk in them every day. And yet certain hindrances can prevent our discerning His intentions for us.

Self-will. We are our own biggest obstacle. We’re born into this world with a fallen nature that likes to have its own way and be its own master. To follow God’s plan, we need to surrender our rights to Him and embrace His ways. We must choose every day to let Him rule over our thought life, emotions, families, work, and decisions. Surrendering to God means victory; clinging to our own ideas brings defeat. (See 1 Cor. 15:57.)

Ignorance of God’s principles. We are easily tripped up when we do not know what is important to the Lord and what we should avoid. Our minds can be changed from worldly to godly only with a steady application of Scripture. Without the light of biblical guidance, we will wander away from God’s plan (Ps. 119:105).

Influence of others. People have lots of opinions about what we ought to do and how God would want us to behave. Unless we are extremely careful, we will act to satisfy them. In fact, we might find ourselves out of God’s will because we put others ahead of the Lord.

If we abandon ourselves to God’s care, then “self” will be subdued, a hunger for His Word will grow, and we will live to please Him, not others. Have you given the “throne of your life” to Him?

Jesus Is the Savior

“But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10)

For centuries, the message of the gospel was presented in drama through the sacrificial system instituted through Moses. Obviously, Moses did not invent the concept of an innocent blood sacrifice. God Himself performed the initial “atonement” when He made coverings for Adam and Eve with the skins of animals that the Creator Himself killed and prepared for them (Genesis 3:21).

Abel brought the “more excellent sacrifice,” but Cain tried “another gospel” and was rejected (Genesis 4:3-5). After the Flood, “Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20). Abraham and Jacob offered animal sacrifices to the Lord in recognition of their subservience to Him and in obedience to the instructions they were given (Genesis 12:7; 46:1).

When Moses received the Law from the hand of God on Mount Sinai, the entire system of sacrifices was centered around a male “lamb without blemish” (Leviticus 1:10; 23:12). This was the Passover Lamb that became the symbol of God’s deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 12:21) and was directly applied to the Lord Jesus as “our passover” who was “sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Of all the names given to the Lord Jesus, it is the Lamb title that stands out so strongly when referencing the sacrifice He made. John the Baptist called out, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and it is the “Lamb that was slain” who is worthy to “receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12). HMM III

Anything Too Hard for God?

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? —Jeremiah 32:27

What does it mean to us, that God Almighty has all the power there is? It means that since God has the ability always to do anything He wills to do, then nothing is harder or easier with God. “Hard” and “easy” can’t apply to God because God has all the power there is. Hard or easy applies to me….

God, who has all the power there is, can make a sun and a star and a galaxy as easily as He can lift a robin off a nest. God can do anything as easily as He can do anything else.

This truth applies specifically to the area of our unbelief. We hesitate to ask God to do “hard” things because we figure that God can’t do them. But if they are “easy” things, we ask God to do them. If we have a headache we say, “Oh God, heal my headache.” But if we have a heart condition, we don’t ask the Lord about that, because that’s “too hard” for the Lord! What a shame! Nothing is hard for God—nothing whatsoever. Nothing! In all God’s wisdom and power He is able to do anything as easily as He is able to do anything else.

Lord, no matter where You lead me today or what circumstances come my way, I rest in the knowledge that there is no such thing as “hard” or “easy” with You. Amen.

Do You Share Man’s View of This World

Choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

If you have ever given much thought to this present world in which we live, you have some idea of the power of interpretation. The world is a stable fact, quite unchanged by the passing of years, but how different is modern man’s view of the world from the view our fathers held.

The world is for all of us not only what it is; it is what we believe it to be, and a tremendous load of weal or woe rides on the soundness of our interpretation!

In the earlier days, when Christianity exercised a dominant influence over American thinking, men conceded this world to be a battleground. Man, so our fathers held, had to choose sides. He could not be neutral—for him it must be life or death, heaven or hell!

In our day, the interpretation has changed completely. We are not here to fight, but to frolic! We are not in a hostile foreign land; we are at home! It now becomes the bounden duty of every Christian to reexamine his spiritual philosophy in the light of the Bible. So much depends on this that we cannot afford to be careless about it!

There can be no actual discrepancy

Between the revelation of God in his word and that in his works, there can be no actual discrepancy. The one may go farther than the other, but the revelation must be harmonious. Between the interpretation of the Works and the interpretation of the Word, there may be very great differences. It must be admitted that the men of the Book have sometimes missed its meaning. Nay, more: it is certain that, in their desire to defend their Bible, devout persons have been unwise enough to twist its words. If they had always labored to understand what God said, in his book, and had steadfastly adhered to its meaning, they would have been wise