Holiness: A Necessity for Effective Prayer

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Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). Hebrews 12:14 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”  Holiness and purity are absolutely necessary for true prayer.

Those who take steps to see God and His holiness, so as to be holy like Him, to pray “Hallowed be Thy name,” to them God grants the pleasure of His friendship and of dwelling peacefully with Him. This I think is the essence of prayer—to be in His presence and to be in awe of His glory.  Therefore, when we do what it takes to be holy we lay the groundwork for prayer.

Though friendship with God I think is so important for prayer, God desires that we go beyond friendship. He makes us holy so that in our friendship with Him we may also do His work and pray according to His will.  Through holiness, as we dwell with Him in friendship, He makes us able to see things from His perspective and therefore to pray and serve Him according to His will.

Moreover, by holiness our prayers will be effective. James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  The word “righteous” here means to be godly.  And in order to be godly we must set our heart to be holy—that is, to be as much like the sinless Jesus as we can be.  If this is your goal, God will help you to accomplish it and will hear your prayers.

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What If Those Pigs Were Mine? – From Matthew 8: 28-34

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This is the question that I have been asking myself after reading the following biblical story.

When he [Jesus] arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

 

When I first read this, I felt angry at the town people for wanting Jesus to leave. But then I later asked myself,

How would I feel if those pigs were mine?

And by the way, Mark’s gospel tells us that there were 2,000 pigs that were drowned in the lake!

So how would I feel? And how would you feel if they were your pigs?

Would I be angry at Jesus? And would you?

Would I accept it?

Would I accept losing 2000 pigs???

I wonder how much pigs are worth today.

Well my acceptance of what happened would depend on my relationship and my knowledge of Jesus, wouldn’t it? That Jesus would somehow reimburse me, and that things would work out. Ultimately, that He has a good plan for me.

But in the story, it doesn’t appear that Jesus made any effort to apologize or to reimburse the owners, whoever they were.

You know sometimes that’s the way things happen isn’t it. God takes things away from us and doesn’t say anything about it. Or maybe He has said something. Yes, it seems to me that He has told us that if we seek His kingdom and His righteousness that all the things we need will be given to us. (in Matthew 6:33).

Maybe you are say…

I don’t have pigs, and I will never have pigs. So how does this story apply to me?

Well, you may not have pigs, but you have other thing that God may want to take away—for His good purposes. Yes, Jesus sent the demons into the pigs to drown for a purpose—for His good purpose. And if there was a purpose in what He did in that particular story, then whatever He does in your life, even if it is tragic, there will be a purpose for it, a good purpose.

God may choose to take away your…

Business,

Or your Job,

Or your house,

Or even your children and family.

Or all of it!!

If God took one or all of these things away from you how would you feel? What would you do?

You may be thinking, God would never do that because He is good.

Oh really. Well, He did it to Job.

Yes, through Satan, God tragically took everything away from him, even his health.

And why did He do that? He did it for a very good purpose, to prove to Satan—and to all of us—that Job would be loyal to Him. And in the end God restored all of what Job had and more (Job 42:12-17).

Well, I am still asking myself, that question: What if those pigs were mine? I hope I will never be angry at God for whatever He decides to do in my life that may be painful. I want to be able to trust Him always, in every circumstance. For His purposes in the world, that include me, will always be good.

 

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28-29.

 

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Evil: Its Source, Its Nature, and Who It Affects

Studying Bible Prophecy

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As we begin this study of evil, our first duty must be to find out its source. We really don’t know how it originally began. As far as we know from scripture, it first appeared in Lucifer (Satan), who was God’s wisest and most beautiful angel—whom He created for His own glory. Indeed, his beauty and glory were like none other. However, scripture tells us, in Ezekiel 28:15, that one day “unrighteousness was found [in him].”  Also, in Isaiah 14:13-14, we read that he willed to usurp God’s position of authority.  He said, “I will make myself like the Most High.” In other words, He wanted to take God’s place—to be God himself.

So this is the only information we have as to when evil began. And we could go on and on with a discussion about why God allowed it, etc.; but I will leave that discussion for…

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Evil: If You Search For Evil, It Will Find You! – Proverbs 11:27

Studying Bible Prophecy

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Evil. This is a topic that I’m guessing many don’t like to think about, much less write about. Yet this word evil is scattered throughout the bible—Old and New Testament. I’ve been reading through Proverbs, and the other day I ran across a verse that got my attention—Proverbs 11:27 (in the NLT). It says,

If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!

The reason it got my attention was because I always thought of evil as being sort of a dead inconsequential force, or something that I am safe from, something that only really bad people are affected by—and I think this is the belief of a lot of people. But here in this verse evil seems almost alive. The verse says that if I look for it or desire it, it will find me! The verse doesn’t…

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Jesus’ Promise To Believers: “I Am Coming Quickly”

Studying Bible Prophecy

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In the last chapter of the bible (in verses 7, 12, and 20), Jesus tells us three times, “I am coming quickly.”

“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Bold for emphasis)

And because He has been speaking (in chapters 21 and 22) of the believers’ eternal home—of the New Jerusalem, the river of life, and of seeing His face, etc.—I think, He is speaking to the church and not to the unbeliever. Thus His words are intended to be words of hope and encouragement to us. They are indeed words of promise. He…

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Obama, Kerry, and the UN Against Israel

Studying Bible Prophecy

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The latest events at the UN have been absolutely shameful. I feel sick about it. Hal Lindsey has written an excellent article about it entitled Shameful.  I invite you to read the entire artitle. I feel strongly that this turning against Israel is an indicator that our Lord is coming soon.

 

‘Shameful’

By Hal Lindsey

The Drudge Report headline read, “OBAMA BACKSTABS ISRAEL.”

The New York Post titled their editorial on the subject, “Obama’s appalling UN betrayal.”

It happened on the Friday afternoon before a Sunday Christmas.  The United States allowed passage of a UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s settlements and, in effect, proclaimed that every bit of land beyond the 1967 borders already belongs to the Palestinians.  That includes East Jerusalem with the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall.

The original resolution had been sponsored by Egypt and scheduled for a vote on Thursday the 22nd.  But a…

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Fasting: A Great Prayer Aid with Continual Rewards

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Those who are serious about prayer and about doing the will of God will use this great prayer aid. It is the best way I know of to detach yourself from earthly, sinful things and to keep your physical appetites under control—so as to prepare your heart for the kind of serious prayer you desire.

Fasting with prayer will cleanse and renews your heart, give you a deep hunger for God, and will make you more sensitive to the things of the Spirit—so that you will be able to understand the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10), things that the natural man has no knowledge of (1 Cor. 2:14).

As fasting does its work of cleansing, you will be more and more desirous of prayer—to pray with more earnestness. Continued fasting will help you to express that earnest desire, and at the same time kindle in your soul even more earnest zeal so that you are willing and prepared to continue praying until God gives you the answers you desire.

And fasting not only helps to bring us answers to pressing current problems; it will continue to aid your prayers (and your life). One time of fasting will pay you dividends for a lifetime, even for eternity.

Ronald Dunn, in his book, Don’t Just Stand There Pray Something, writes,

The word Jesus uses for reward [the reward of fasting] in verse 16 [Mathew 6:16, misthon] is different from the one used in verse 18 [apodidomi].  The word used to describe the reward of the hypocrite implies an immediate reward and a reward paid in full. In other words, “What you see is what you get.”  But the word Jesus uses to describe the reward given in response to the right spirit [apodidomi] suggests a restoration over a period of time.  The rewards of fasting are like dividends from blue chip stock.  Day after day, God continues to unfold for you and others the rewards of fasting (p. 168).

 

 

 

 

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