VIDEO The Cross in Prayer – Whatever You Ask in My Name

The Cross in Prayer

We too often think of the Cross of Christ as something we have to get through, yet we get through for the purpose of getting into it. The Cross represents only one thing for us— complete, entire, absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ— and there is nothing in which this identification is more real to us than in prayer.

“Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Then why should we ask? The point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have perfect and complete oneness with Him. If we pray only because we want answers, we will become irritated and angry with God. We receive an answer every time we pray, but it does not always come in the way we expect, and our spiritual irritation shows our refusal to identify ourselves truly with our Lord in prayer. We are not here to prove that God answers prayer, but to be living trophies of God’s grace.

“…I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you…” (John 16:26-27). Have you reached such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one with the prayer life of Jesus Christ? Has our Lord exchanged your life with His vital life? If so, then “in that day” you will be so closely identified with Jesus that there will be no distinction.

When prayer seems to be unanswered, beware of trying to place the blame on someone else. That is always a trap of Satan. When you seem to have no answer, there is always a reason— God uses these times to give you deep personal instruction, and it is not for anyone else but you.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

“I have chosen you” (John 15:16). Keep that note of greatness in your creed. It is not that you have got God, but that He has got you.  My Utmost for His Highest, October 25, 837 R


John Piper Prayer Whatever You Ask in My Name

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The Joy of Giving

Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14

It was a dreary week. I had been feeling lethargic and listless, although I couldn’t figure out why.

Near the end of the week, I found out that an aunt had kidney failure. I knew I had to visit her—but to be honest, I felt like postponing the visit. Still, I made my way to her place, where we had dinner, chatted, and prayed together. An hour later, I left her home feeling upbeat for the first time in days. Focusing on someone else rather than myself had somehow improved my mood.

Psychologists have found that the act of giving can produce satisfaction, which comes when the giver sees the recipient’s gratitude. Some experts even believe that humans are wired to be generous!

Perhaps that’s why Paul, when encouraging the church in Thessalonica to build up their faith community, urged them to “help the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Earlier, he had also cited Jesus’s words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). While this was said in the context of giving financially, it applies as well to the giving of time and effort.

When we give, we get an insight into how God feels. We understand why He’s so delighted to give us His love, and we share in His joy and the satisfaction of blessing others. I think I’ll be visiting my aunt again soon.

Father, You have made me to give to others just as You have given to me. Teach me to give so that I can truly reflect Your character and be more like You today.

The giver is the greatest recipient.

By Leslie Koh 

INSIGHT

Do you ever feel that you’re always on the giving end? Or do you feel you’re always taking and receiving—with nothing to offer others but your own neediness? Take another look at Paul’s words to the Thessalonians. See if you can hear the wisdom of someone who knows there’s a time to give and a time to receive.

If you sense that you’re receiving more than your fair share of help, does Paul give you any idea about what you have to give even while receiving? Can you see that in acknowledging graciously the hard work of those who are caring for you, God can actually use you to encourage them?

If you seem to be giving to the point of exhaustion, see if you can hear any gentle wisdom here for yourself.

Mart DeHaan

Releasing Guilt

Isaiah 55:7-8

The church I grew up in could sum up much of its theology in one statement: “Thou shalt not … ” I don’t recall hearing about the Father’s love or how to live the Christian life. What I learned was that a wrathful God would punish me if I didn’t follow all the rules. And there seemed to be rules for everything—including what I could read, what I could wear, and what I could do.

As a teenage boy, I spent a lot of time begging the Lord to forgive me for one foolish thing or another. And I carried around a constant weight of guilt and worry everywhere I went. I just couldn’t seem to be good enough. In truth, the rules were a burden to me, and since I thought God made them, He was a burden too.

In my young adult years, I learned that my perception of God was wrong. He is gracious and loving. The commandments that He gave were designed to keep us safe and free from shame. But even when we do mess up, there is no condemnation for those who trust in Christ (Rom. 8:1). That means He forgives our sin and “wipes out [our] transgressions,” remembering them no more (Isa. 43:25). We may have to live with consequences but never with the weight of guilt.

God is not a burden. He is the burden-bearer. (See Psalm 68:19.) He placed our sins on Jesus Christ at Calvary, thereby relieving us of that heaviness. Don’t keep staggering under the load of guilt. Lay it down before a loving, gracious heavenly Father, who encourages us to come to Him and offers a yoke that is easy and light (Matt. 11:28-30).

Presence of the Lord

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)

The presence of the Lord can be either a cause of fear or a source of blessing. Adam and Eve were greatly afraid of His presence because of their sin, and their son Cain “went out from the presence of the LORD” (Genesis 4:16) because of his sin. Yet it will also be to many a time of great joy. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

The difference, of course, is the presence or absence of unforgiven sin in the presence of the Lord. Most of the sixteen occurrences of the phrase stress the judgmental aspect. Those who reject Christ’s offer of forgiveness through repentance and faith in His death for our sins will eventually be banned forever from His presence, like Cain. “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: [They] shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

But for those who have repented of their sins and trusted in Christ for salvation, the prospect of the coming and personal presence of the Lord Jesus is one of joyful anticipation, for “in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).

When He comes again, we shall be presented “faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24) and shall thenceforth “ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). HMM

But now is Christ risen from the dead

1 Corinthians 15:19-34

The apostle Paul proceeds with his argument upon the resurrection, and declares for himself and brethren—1 Corinthians 15:19-34.

1 Corinthians 15:19

If after all there is no resurrection, then the apostles suffered for nothing, they were wretched dupes, and having higher expectations than others their disappointment was proportionately bitter.

1 Corinthians 15:20

The risen Saviour is the pledge and guarantee of our resurrection; we shall surely live again.

1 Corinthians 15:22

By Adams sin all who are in him die, and by Christ’s righteousness all who are in him shall be made alive. There are two great covenant headships: the first was Adam’s headship under the covenant of works, by which we have fallen, and the second is the headship of the Lord Jesus under the covenant of grace, by which we rise to eternal life.

1 Corinthians 15:28

As Mediator, all power is given to our Lord Jesus in heaven and in earth, and this he will exercise until he has vanquished every foe. Then shall his mediatorial reign cease, the universe shall come under the direct sovereignty of God as God; and the Blessed Trinity shall shine forth before all the redeemed, and enter into immediate fellowship with them.

1 Corinthians 15:29

As one believer died another came forward to occupy his place, and so the ranks were filled up by fresh converts. Where was the reason for such enthusiasm if in death men cease to be? Baptism is itself a picture of burial and resurrection, and it loses all its meaning if there be no rising from the tomb.

1 Corinthians 15:30, 31

His life was always in jeopardy: what was the use of enduring such perils if, after all, death turned out to be an endless sleep? The suffering Christian is the greatest of fools if the dead rise not.

1 Corinthians 15:32

The most sensible thing to do if this life is all and there is nought beyond it, is to enjoy all the pleasures we can while the days fly by us. The apostle had been exposed in the amphitheatre and had escaped: but why run such risks for a mere dream?

1 Corinthians 15:34

Living among philosophical sceptics, the Corinthian Christians had learned to doubt. Paul here warns them of the danger of such company, and rebukes them for having so shamefully called in question the fundamental doctrine of their religion. God save us from the evil communications of this infidel generation.

 

My life’s a shade, my days

Apace to death decline;

My Lord is Life, he’ll raise

My dust again, even mine.

 

Sweet truth to me! I shall arise,

And with these eyes my Saviour see.

My peaceful grave shall keep

My bones till that sweet day;

 

I wake from my long sleep

And leave my bed of clay.

Sweet truth to me! I shall arise,

And with these eyes my Saviour see.

 

Christ Does Not Ever Change

Jesus came and spake unto them… All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)

You will have to prove it to me if you are among those who claim that Jesus Christ refuses to do for you something that He has done for any other of His disciples!

I address this to all of those who insist that the gifts of the Spirit ended when the last apostle died. They have never furnished chapter and verse for their position.

When some men beat the cover off their Bible to demonstrate how they stand for the Word of God, they should be reminded that they are only standing by their own interpretation!

I find nothing in the Bible that says the Lord has changed. He has the same love, the same grace, the same mercy, the same power, the same desires for the blessings of His children.

Why can we not claim all that God has promised for His redeemed people? What a sad condition for Christians who are in the Church of the mighty Redeemer and Deliverer, who is eternally the Victor, the Rock of Ages. Let us never forget that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever!

 

Go; Take Your Property

“Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.” Deut. 1:21

There is a heritage of grace which we ought to be bold enough to win for our own possession. All that one believer has gained is free to another. We may be strong in faith, fervent in love, and abundant in labor; there is nothing to prevent it; let us go up and take possession. The sweetest experience and the brightest grace are as much for us as for any of our brethren, Jehovah has set it before us; no one can deny our right; let us go up and possess it in His name.

The world also lies before us to be conquered for the Lord Jesus. We are not to leave any country or corner of it unsubdued. That slum near our house is before us, not to baffle our endeavors, but to yield to them. We have only to summon courage enough to go forward, and we shall win dark homes and hard hearts for Jesus. Let us never leave the people in a lane or alley to die because we have not enough faith in Jesus and His gospel to go up and possess the land. No spot is too benighted, no person so profane as to be beyond the power of grace. Cowardice, begone! Faith marches to the conquest.

 

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