VIDEO Continual Prayer Keeps Us Vigilant – Seven Basic Conditions for Answered Prayer

It hit me the other night that darkness in this world is not static, that evil is continually on the move. That means our prayers are not a one-time event; our prayers must be constant, continually praying for the Spirit of God to drive out the darkness with His light. We must remember that if we are not vigilant in our prayers, darkness can get a toehold in our lives and the church.

I think this is what Paul is telling the church in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-20. Paul writes in verse 16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.” This reminds us that if we lose our focus on Christ Jesus and start grumbling about our circumstances, we leave a door open for darkness to move into our lives and the church. In verses 12-15 he cautions the church to guard against things that cause division. He urges the church to “live in peace with each other” and to “be patient with everyone.”

Continual prayer helps us to focus on Jesus Christ and the blessings he gives us. Prayer helps us to turn someone’s offense into an avenue of reconciliation. Prayer helps us to stop divisive actions and gives us the courage to pursue peace-making. Continual prayer, particularly as a body of believers, helps to stop darkness from seeping into our lives and the church. That is why Paul tells the church in verses 21-22 to “hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” Our prayers help us to tap into the power of the Spirit of God so that the light continues to advance over darkness.


The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5

Continual Prayer Keeps Us Vigilant

Seven Basic Conditions for Answered Prayer

Easy Does It

It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  Philippians 2:13

My father and I used to fell trees and cut them to size with a two-man crosscut saw. Being young and energetic, I tried to force the saw into the cut. “Easy does it,” my father would say. “Let the saw do the work.”

I think of Paul’s words in Philippians: “It is God who works in you” (2:13). Easy does it. Let Him do the work of changing us.

C. S. Lewis said that growth is much more than reading what Christ said and carrying it out. He explained, “A real Person, Christ, . . . is doing things to you . . . gradually turning you permanently into . . . a new little Christ, a being which . . . shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.”

God is at that process today. Sit at the feet of Jesus and take in what He has to say. Pray. “Keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude 1:21), reminding yourself all day long that you are His. Rest in the assurance that He’s gradually changing you.

“But shouldn’t we hunger and thirst for righteousness?” you ask. Picture a small child trying to get a gift high on a shelf, his eyes glittering with desire. His father, sensing that desire, brings the gift down to him.

The work is God’s; the joy is ours. Easy does it. We shall get there some day.

By:  David H. Roper

Reflect & Pray

What does it mean to you that “It is God who works in you”? What do you want Him to do in you?

God, I’m grateful that You’re changing my heart and actions to make me like Jesus. Please give me a humble attitude to learn from You.

Sunday Reflection: God’s Promise to Satisfy Us

As we reflect on satisfying our hunger, thirst, and longing with a view to eternity, it becomes clear that God’s intention isn’t for us to disregard earthly pleasures. The things that bring us joy and satisfaction in our everyday lives are gifts from the Lord—given to enjoy, of course, but also to serve as important reminders of the satisfaction He promises.

In His love and mercy, God promises much: to faithfully stay with us (Deut. 31:6, Matt. 28:20), give us wisdom (James 1:5), fulfill every need we have (Phil. 4:19), meet us where we are (James 4:8), and reveal what we’re to say in hard situations (Matt. 10:19), to name a few. We can look to these promises as we wait for His return, knowing that each earthly joy is but a glimpse of what is to come.

Think about it
• Think of something you genuinely enjoy or find satisfying. Is it easy to see this as a reminder of the joy God offers?

• When Christ’s promises are realized, our souls will be satisfied. How does reflecting on His promises help you in your pursuit of righteousness and, ultimately, eternal satisfaction?

Righteous Boldness as a lion

“The righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1)

A holy boldness is imparted to those who seek to speak the truth of God (Acts 4:31). The miracle of the Pentecost outpouring of the Holy Spirit was followed by several incidents where the various apostles and early Christian leaders spoke “boldly in the Lord” (Acts 14:3). Where does this boldness come from?

The Presence of the Holy Spirit: The Sanhedrin “saw the boldness of Peter and John” when they were dragged before them (Acts 4:13), after they had healed the lame man shortly after Pentecost. Peter was “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 4:8) and boldly answered the farcical questioning of those self-righteous leaders, and they “took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). When we speak with God’s authority, we speak boldly.

The Words of God’s Word: The first church prayed “that with all boldness they may speak thy word,” and they were enabled to speak “the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29, 31). When Paul was starting the church in Ephesus, he “spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). We should have boldness when we have opportunity to “make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).

The Assurance of a Righteous Life: “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20). Several godly traits of righteous men are given in Hebrews, “so that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).

All in Just One Sermon

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

—1 Thessalonians 5:14


The shepherd of souls is often forced to work at what would appear to be cross purposes with himself.

For instance, he must encourage the timid and warn the self-confident; and these may at any given time be present in his congregation in almost equal numbers….

Another problem he faces is the presence in the normal Christian assembly of believers in every stage of development, from the newly converted who knows almost nothing about the Christian life to the wise and experienced Christian who seems to know almost everything.

Again, the Christian minister must have a word from God for the teen-aged, the middle-aged and the very aged. He must speak to the scholar as well as to the ignorant; he must bring the living Word to the cultured man and woman and to the vulgarian who reads nothing but the sports page and the comic strip. He must speak to the sad and to the happy, to the tender-minded and to the tough-minded, to those eager to live and to some who secretly wish they could die. And he must do this all in one sermon and in a period of time not exceeding forty-five minutes. Surely this requires a Daniel, and Daniels are as scarce in the United States today as in Babylon in 600 B.C.   SOS082-083

Lord, I confess myself totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. Enable, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


One Focus, One Goal

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

—1 John 2:1


In a very real sense, faith is fixing our eyes on Jesus, keeping Jesus in full view regardless of what others may be doing all around us. This is excellent counsel, because as human beings we know we are not sufficient in ourselves. It is in our nature to look out—to look beyond ourselves for help. This world is big and deadly, and we are too weak and not wise enough to deal with it!

It is also a human trait to look beyond ourselves for assurance. We hope to find someone worthy of trust. We want someone who has made good, someone who has done what we would like to do.

The Hebrews writer points us to the perfect One, our eternal High Priest, seated now at the right hand of God. He is Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith. He has endured the cross and is now the eternal Victor and our Advocate in heaven. JAF077

He who fought [the] battle once, comes still to fight it in our hearts. He who believed for Himself now believes in us, and sustains in us the spirit of trust and victory. CTBC, Vol. 3/194


What Is Holiness?

2 Peter 1:4

A girl asked me, “What is sanctification, or holiness, that people are talking so much about?” She had heard the experience testified to and talked and preached about, until I thought that, of course, she understood it. Her question surprised me, but I rallied and asked, “Have you a bad temper?”

“Oh yes,” she said, “I have a temper like a volcano.”

“Sanctification,” I replied, “is to have that bad temper taken out.” That definition set her thinking and did her good; but it was hardly accurate. If I had said,

“Sanctification is to have our sinful tempers cleansed, and the heart filled with love to God and man,” that would have done, for that is sanctification—that is holiness. It is, in our measure, to be made like God. It is to be made “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

A spark from the fire is like the fire. The tiniest twig on the giant oak, or the smallest branch of the vine, has the nature of the oak or the vine, and is in that respect like the oak or the vine. A drop of water on the end of your finger from the ocean is like the ocean—not in its size, of course, for the big ships cannot float upon it nor the big fish swim in it. But it is like the ocean in its essence, in its character, in its nature. Just so, a holy person is like God. Not that he is infinite as God is; he does not know everything; he has not all power and wisdom as God has; but he is like God in his nature. He is good and pure and loving and just, in the same way that God is.

Holiness then, is conformity to the nature of God. It is likeness to God as He is revealed in Jesus.

We are to be like Jesus in separation from the world. Jesus was in the world but He was not of the world. While He worked and associated with bad people to do them good, yet He was always separate from them in spirit.

The Apostle John, in speaking of those who expect to see Jesus in heaven says, “And every one who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). That is a lofty standard of purity, for there was no impurity in Jesus. He allowed no unclean habits. He indulged in no impure thoughts or desires. We are to be pure in heart and in life as He was.

We are to be like Jesus in love to God and to all men, especially to our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are to be like Jesus by having God dwelling in us. We are to be like Him in our separation from the world, in purity, in love, and in the fullness of the Spirit. This is holiness.

Samuel Logan Brengle, The Way of Holiness


VIDEO May I? Asking for the Old Paths

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16, NIV

Our society is at a crossroads and we should ask God for the ancient paths.

What are the ancient paths? Not the 1950s. Not the era of the Founding Fathers or when the West seemed more established on Judeo-Christian principles. Jeremiah wasn’t talking about the good old days.

The Bible uses the word ancient to describe things that are truly old, that go back to creation and before. Psalm 119:52 refers to Scripture as God’s “ancient laws” (NIV). God is described as “ancient,” a word indicating eternality. Before the mountains were born or the world was made, He is God. In Isaiah, He said, “From ancient days I am he” (43:13, NIV). In Daniel, He is called the “Ancient of Days” (7:9).

Our world offers lots of new paths, but the Bible tells us to stick to the old ones—to the paths and choices outlined by our Creator in His Word. Only there will we find rest for our souls.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost

The Old Paths, Jeremiah 6:16 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study


Do Whatever

For without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?  Ecclesiastes 2:25

In a recent film, a self-proclaimed “genius” rants to the camera about the world’s “horror, corruption, ignorance, and poverty,” declaring life to be godless and absurd. While such thinking isn’t unusual in many modern film scripts, what’s interesting is where it leads. In the end, the lead character turns to the audience and implores us to do whatever it takes to find a little happiness. For him, this includes leaving traditional morality behind.

But will “do whatever” work? Facing his own despair at life’s horrors, the Old Testament writer of Ecclesiastes gave it a try long ago, searching for happiness through pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 10), grand work projects (vv. 4–6), riches (vv. 7–9), and philosophical inquiry (vv. 12–16). And his assessment? “All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (v. 17). None of these things is immune to death, disaster, or injustice (5:13–17).

Only one thing brings the writer of Ecclesiastes back from despair. Despite life’s trials, we can find fulfillment when God is part of our living and working: “for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (2:25). Life will at times feel meaningless, but “remember your Creator” (12:1). Don’t exhaust yourself trying to figure life out, but “fear God and keep his commandments” (v. 13).

Without God as our center, life’s pleasures and sorrows lead only to disillusionment.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How much do you seek happiness through things that won’t last? Since the writer of Ecclesiastes didn’t know the hope of resurrection, how would you consider his search in light of Romans 8:11, 18–25?

God, today I place You anew at the center of my living, working, joys, and disappointments, for without You nothing will satisfy or make sense.

The Word of Our Salvation

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Try to imagine a world without Bibles. The reality is that there are places on earth where Scripture is unknown, and the people who live in those cultures don’t know anything about Jesus Christ. This truth should stir us to pray not only that God’s Word will reach them, but also that they will realize how valuable the Bible is. Without it, none of us would have any idea how to be saved—or even that we needed salvation.

• The Bible reveals God’s holiness and exposes mankind’s sinful, hopeless condition (Rom. 3:23). Our sin makes us His enemies, and we can’t do anything to remedy this situation.

• Scripture explains what God did through Jesus Christ to provide a means of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). The Father sent His Son to earth to become a substitute sacrifice to pay the penalty we deserved for our sin.

• God’s Word explains that we can receive Christ’s gift of salvation by repenting of our sin and trusting in Him (Mark 1:15).

The next time you pick up your Bible, stop and thank God for giving you such a precious gift. And praise Him for making His wonderful plan of salvation known to you.