VIDEO Over the Edge – Necessities for Effective Prayer

Have faith in God.  Mark 11:22

Adventure seekers in Omaha, Nebraska, can rappel off the Highline Building during an annual event called “Over the Edge” that raises money for Greater Omaha Youth for Christ. The organizer explained, “That first step is the hardest when they tell you to trust the rope and lean back. That’s the hardest part but it is thrilling.” Imagine stepping backward with 230 feet of thin air below you, supported by a single rope. It feels dangerous, but, done correctly, it’s safe, exciting, and the cause is worthy.

The followers of Christ are like that. We lean on Christ during the cliffhanging moments of life and trust Him like a climber walking down the side of a building. In his book, Trusting God, Jerry Bridges wrote, “It often seems more difficult to trust God than to obey Him. The moral will of God given to us in the Bible is rational and reasonable. The circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and inexplicable…. Yet it is just as important to trust God as it is to obey Him.”1

The ups and downs of life may be God’s way of teaching us to rely on Him. You can trust the rope of His grace.

In order to trust God, we must always view our adverse circumstances through the eyes of faith, not of sense.
Jerry Bridges, Trusting God

  1. Jerry Bridges, Trusting God (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 6.

The Necessities for Effective Prayer (Mark 11:22-25)

When You Are Just Weary and Tested

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Love is patient, love is kind…. it is not easily angered. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

 

Children are a blessing, they give us so much joy. But let’s be honest, there are days when they can stretch a parent’s patience. Raising a child is no easy task. As parenting author Paul Tripp says, sometimes it’s just mission impossible.

It’s thus with mixed feelings that I’ve been reading recent reports in the newspapers about children being injured—or worse—when their parents lost their temper. In one recent case, a five-year-old boy died from injuries allegedly inflicted by his parents, who are now on trial for the murder of their child.

As imperfect beings, we will surely stumble and fall. Often, we will not respond to situations in the best way. We need God’s grace to redeem our mistakes and prevent us from continuing down the path of destruction—for ourselves and for others.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul outlines what perfect love looks like. Putting it into practice, however, can be daunting.

Thankfully, we have Jesus as our example. As He interacted with people with different needs and issues, He showed us what perfect love looks like in action. As we walk with Him, keeping ourselves in His love and immersing our mind in His Word, we’ll reflect more and more of His likeness.

We’ll still make mistakes, but God is able to redeem them and cause good to come out of every situation, for His love “always protects” and “never fails” (vv. 7–8). We can read 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 this way:

Jesus is patient and kind. Jesus is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Jesus does not demand His own way. Jesus is not irritable, and He keeps no record of being wronged. Jesus does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Jesus never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

How can we follow Jesus’ example? Consider these ways in which we can practise love.

 

“Love is patient and kind”.
The word “patient” literally means “long-tempered”, or “patient endurance under provocation”. A patient person has a long fuse. This is not too difficult when things are going smoothly, but when life is stressful, patience becomes hard. When we are worried over bringing bread to the table and a child is throwing a tantrum, we can quickly lose our patience. That’s when we need God’s grace.

But love does not mean simply enduring everything silently. The Bible stresses that “love is patient and kind”.

The word “kind” refers to “active goodness that goes forth on behalf of others”. Bible scholar J. B. Philip translates it as to “look for a way of being constructive”.

So how can we be patient and kind in disciplining our children? Perhaps it might help to remember that we are all work in progress. God is not done with our children, just as He is not done with us too. He is still at work in them and in us.

 

Keep practicing
In its original Greek text, Paul’s description of love is in the form of verbs. It emphasises not so much what love is, but what loves does. This reminds us that love is something we actually have to practice.

What has helped me is seeing 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 not just as instructions, but also as the result of transformation. The descriptions will become true of us when we put them into action.

That’s why Paul’s instructions are in present tense: they denote actions and attitudes that need to become habitual in our lives. And just as we build our muscles by exercising regularly, we can build these characteristics of love when we practise them every day.

If all this seems difficult, however, I am encouraged by this powerful fact: We are not our own.

God wants to work in us so that we may bear the fruit of the Spirit, which includes love (Galatians 5:22). He will change us from the inside out, allowing us to bear fruit of the Spirit.—Chia Poh Fang

 

Heavenly Father, we are imperfect parents.
Grant us the grace to be patient
when we are weary and tired.
Help us to discipline our children
with Your love.

 

God can redeem our mistakes and change us from the inside out.

 

For more articles on biblical parenting, visit our new website, Biblical Wisdom for Parents.

 

Developing a Servant Spirit

Matthew 20:17-28

Personal ambition and servanthood aren’t always compatible. In fact, they are often at odds with each other. A servant’s goal is to please his or her master in whatever way is required, but personal ambition strives for self-advancement. Jesus’ words from today’s passage must have sounded foreign to the disciples’ ears since, according to the thinking of their culture, greatness was acquired by striving for it, not by serving.

Like them, we live in a world where many people are seeking to make a name for themselves. They set goals, make plans, and do whatever is necessary to achieve what they’ve set out to do. But as Christians, we’re to live by a different standard: exalt Christ, obey His commands, and serve Him faithfully by doing His will, not our own.

We’re not called to gain fame and fortune by leaving our footprints in concrete for all to admire.  Our task is to humbly follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Whether our lives have a large or small impact is up to God, not us. The greatest acts of service are not usually flashy displays; more often they’re commonplace gestures like being kind to strangers, ministering to fellow believers, and praying for others.

Jesus humbled Himself, surrendered His rights, and obeyed God even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). Being His servant begins with the same attitude. It requires helping others when it’s not convenient, doing tasks that are not glamorous, and obeying the Lord even if it’s costly. We aren’t on earth to build our own kingdom but to faithfully serve God as He builds His.

Clothing Needed?

And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” (Revelation 1:13)

In the beginning, at the creation of Eve from Adam’s side, “they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). There was no need for shame at their lack of clothing for neither had any consciousness of sin or moral guilt. They were truly “one flesh” (v. 24), aware that their physiological differences had been divinely created to bring about God’s purposes for His creation. Any embarrassment would have been quite unnatural.

But soon sin entered; they rejected God’s purposes and plan for their lives. Satan had promised they would acquire wisdom, but what was their first taste of wisdom? “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (Genesis 3:7). Their shame must have been multiplied many times over as they heard God pronounce the dreadful curse on all of creation as a result of their sin. And then they had to watch as two of their animal friends (probably sheep) were slain, sacrificed to “make coats of skins” (v. 21) for their covering.

Many years later, another Lamb was slain for sin, stripped of His clothing and hanged on a cruel cross, bearing unthinkable shame. “I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” (Psalm 22:17-18). Today, having conquered sin and death, He reigns in heaven, “clothed with a garment down to the foot” (text verse). In His death, He arranged for us some day to be “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white” (Revelation 19:8), having “washed [our] robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). JDM

In The Erotic Age

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

—1 Corinthians 5:1

The period in which we now live may well go down in history as the Erotic Age. Sex love has been elevated into a cult. Eros has more worshipers among civilized men today than any other god. For millions the erotic has completely displaced the spiritual….

Now if this god would let us Christians alone I for one would let his cult alone. The whole spongy, fetid mess will sink some day under its own weight and become excellent fuel for the fires of hell, a just recompense which is meet, and it becomes us to feel compassion for those who have been caught in its tragic collapse. Tears and silence might be better than words if things were slightly otherwise than they are. But the cult of Eros is seriously affecting the Church. The pure religion of Christ that flows like a crystal river from the heart of God is being polluted by the unclean waters that trickle from behind the altars of abomination that appear on every high hill and under every green tree from New York to Los Angeles.   BAM036-037

Lord, I pray for any of Your servants who are caught in the trap of immorality or pornography. This “whole spongy, fetid mess” has so many in its clutchesgive victory today, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left

Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.—Deuteronomy 5:32.

 

No duty, however hard and perilous, should be feared one-half so much as failure in the duty. People sometimes shrink from responsibility, saying they dare not accept it because it is so great. But in shrinking from duty they are really encountering a far more serious condition than that which they evade. It is a great deal easier to do that which God gives us to do, no matter how hard it is, than to face the responsibility of not doing it. We have abundant assurance that we shall receive all the strength we need to perform any duty God allots to us; but if we fall out of the line of obedience, and refuse to do anything which we ought to do, we find ourselves at once out of harmony with God’s law and God’s providence, and cannot escape the consequences of our failure.

J. R. Miller.

Knowledge is a call to action; an insight into the way of perfection is a call to perfection.

J.H. Newman.

 

Clearly It Is Supernatural

“In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.” Zech. 12:8

One of the best methods of the Lord’s defending His people is to make them strong in inward might. Men are better than walls, and faith is stronger than castles.

The Lord can take the feeblest among us and make him like David, the champion of Israel. Lord, do this with me! Infuse thy power into me, and fill me with sacred courage that I may face the giant with sling and stone, confident in God.

The Lord can make His greatest champions far mightier than they are: David can be as God, as the angel of Jehovah. This would be a marvelous development, but it is possible, or it would not be spoken of. O Lord, work thus with the best of our leaders! Show us what thou art able to do — namely, to raise thy faithful servants to a height of grace and holiness which shall be clearly supernatural!

Lord, dwell in thy saints, and they shall be as God; put thy might into them, and they shall be as the living creatures who dwell in the presence of Jehovah. Fulfill this promise to thine entire church in this our day, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.