VIDEO Praying or Preying? – Your Best Life Now

Praying or Preying?

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. 2 Peter 1:3, NIV

A woman in Virginia received an unwelcome gift when her Christmas tree began sprouting with praying mantises. The insect eggs were hidden among the branches, and in the warmth of her house they began hatching—more than one hundred of them, which were soon on the walls, ceilings, and windows. Next year, she said, she plans to buy an artificial tree.

The Bible compares God’s people to trees planted by the river (Psalm 1), but sometimes our thoughts and lives are filled with preying temptations. It’s strange how sinful thoughts hatch in the branches of our minds.

The psalmist tells us what to do. We should let the Word of God dwell in our minds and meditate on it day and night. In the Scriptures, God provides us with everything we need to resist temptation. When we read a helpful passage of Scripture—like Psalm 1—over and over, it has a way of seeping into our thoughts until we are transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). His Word is the sword of the Spirit by which we can defeat our preying enemy and become praying victors through Christ

Apply yourself wholly to the Scriptures, and apply the Scriptures wholly to yourself. Johann Bengel, 1742


Your Best Life: Now or Later? (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Someone Who Leads

As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you. 2 Kings 2:6

Who do you think of when you hear the word mentor? For me, it’s Pastor Rich. He saw my potential and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He modeled how to lead by serving in humility and love. As a result, I am now serving God by mentoring others.

The prophet Elijah played a critical role in Elisha’s growth as a leader. Elijah found him plowing a field and invited him to be his protégé after God told him to anoint Elisha as his successor (1 Kings 19:16, 19). The young mentee watched his mentor perform incredible miracles and obey God no matter what. God used Elijah to prepare Elisha for a lifetime of ministry. Toward the end of Elijah’s life, Elisha had the opportunity to leave. Instead, he chose to renew his commitment to his mentor. Three times Elijah offered to release Elisha from his duties, yet each time he refused, saying, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you” (2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6). As a result of Elisha’s faithfulness, he too was used by God in extraordinary ways.

We all need someone who models what it means to follow Jesus. May God give us godly men and women who help us grow spiritually. And may we too, by the power of His Spirit, invest our lives in others.

By Estera Pirosca Escobar

Reflect & Pray

Who are mentors that are currently building into you or who have built into your life? Why is it vital for us to mentor others in Jesus?

Father God, thank You for placing people in our lives to challenge and encourage us. Help us to do the same for others.

Seeking God’s Guidance

Psalm 16:1-11

A correct perspective of God is vital because it determines how we interact with Him. For instance, if we think He is concerned only about the big events in world history, we won’t bother to pray about our daily concerns. However, if our view of Him is grounded in the Scriptures, we’ll readily seek His guidance, knowing that He cares about every aspect of our life.

Despite this assurance, there may be times when we are so determined to get what we want that we don’t even ask for God’s direction. Instead, we plunge ahead, thinking that He will simply stop us if our decision is not according to His will. But the Lord won’t necessarily prevent us from doing that which is not His will, nor will He always come to our rescue if we have acted presumptuously without seeking His help.

A better approach is to do as David did. He said, “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8). The omniscient heavenly Father has provided everything we need to live wisely through His Word and His Spirit. And as those who know and love Him, we should desire to please God by seeking His direction in every area of life.

The Lord is certainly willing to guide us through the treacherous seas of decision-making. But we must pay attention to the instructions in His Word and to the promptings of His Spirit, who is our helper, teacher, and guide. Then we can say with David, “I will bless the Lord who has counseled me” (Psalm 16:7).

You Know Christ Will Come Again

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

The world has not seen the last of Jesus Christ! He was in the world once, but the world would not have Him, even though He had created it (John 1:10). While He was on Earth, He made it clear that He would be returning some day to judge the world.

But here in the upper room, just before His arrest and crucifixion, He told His disciples, for the very first time, that He would be coming for them personally, not to judge them with the world, but to “receive you unto myself.” In the first epistle written by the apostle Paul, this wonderful promise was repeated and amplified: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven. . . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

When He comes again, we shall be where He is, forever! In the meantime, the “dead in Christ” are already with Him. At that time, “we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. . . . For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

During this present time, He is preparing a place for us in the New Jerusalem that, like Christ Himself, will be “coming down from God out of heaven” (Revelation 21:2). All of this is exactly what we might expect from such a gracious and loving Savior, and He assures us that “if it were not so, I would have told you.” HMM

Sense of Inadequacy

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

—2 Corinthians 4:7

I believe I had anticipated that it was going to be a pleasure to expound this beautiful and high soaring Gospel of John. However, I must confess that in my preparation and study a sense of inadequacy has come over me—a feeling of inadequacy so stunning, so almost paralyzing that I am not at this juncture able to call it a pleasure to preach.

Perhaps this will be God’s way of reducing the flesh to a minimum and giving the Holy Spirit the best possible opportunity to do His eternal work. I fear that sometimes our own eloquence and our own concepts may get in the way, for the unlimited ability to talk endlessly about religion is a questionable blessing….

None of us can approach a serious study and consideration of the eternal nature and person of Jesus Christ without sensing and confessing our complete inadequacy in the face of the divine revelation.   CES003, 009

Lord, I’ve so often been at that place of total inadequacy. I’ve learned that that is so healthy because then I step aside, I quit relying on my own “eloquence” and I allow the Holy Spirit to take over and do what only He can do anyway! Use me today in my weakness. Amen.

 

That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in us

That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.—2 Corinthians 4:11.

 

The fretting friction of our daily life,

Heart-weariness with loving patience borne,

The meek endurance of the inward strife,

The painful crown of thorn,

 

Prepare the heart for God’s own dwelling-place,

Adorn with sacred loveliness His shrine,

And brighten every inconspicuous grace,

For God alone to shine.

Mary E. Atkinson.

 

God has a purpose for each one of us, a work for each one to do, a place for each one to fill, an influence for each one to exert, a likeness to His dear Son for each one to manifest, and then, a place for each one to fill in His holy Temple.

Arthur C.A. Hall.

 

The surest method of arriving at a knowledge of God’s eternal purposes about us is to be found in the right use of the present moment. God’s will does not come to us in the whole, but in fragments, and generally in small fragments. It is our business to piece it together, and to live it into one orderly vocation.

F.W. Faber.

 

Best if you Let No Evil Remain

“And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and show thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers.” Deut. 13:17

Israel must conquer idolatrous cities, and destroy all the spoil, regarding all that had been polluted by idolatry as an accursed thing to be burned with fire. Now, sin of all sorts must be treated by Christians in the same manner. We must not allow a single evil habit to remain. It is now war to the knife with sins of all sorts and sizes, whether of the body, the mind, or the spirit. We do not look upon this giving up of evil as deserving mercy, but we regard it as a fruit of the grace of God, which we would on no account miss.

When God causes us to have no mercy on our sins, then He has great mercy on us. When we are angry with evil, God is no more angry with us. When we multiply our efforts against iniquity, the Lord multiplies our blessings. The way of peace, of growth, of safety, of joy in Christ Jesus, will be found by following out these words: “There shall nought of the cursed thing cleave to thine hand.” Lord, purify me this day. Compassion, prosperity, increase, and joy, will surely be given to those who put away sin with solemn resolution.