Prayer Devotional, John 15:1-17

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Dear brothers and sisters,

Let’s look at a passage of Scripture that gives us two amazing promises that God will answer our prayers! And not only does God promise to answer us, but He is so kind and gracious that He tells us exactly how this is going to happen. With such great promises from God, we ought to pay close attention to this glorious and familiar passage of Scripture.

First, the passage………….

 JOHN 15:1-17

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, or the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

What a beautiful metaphor Jesus gives us of our union with Him! Jesus Christ is represented as the True Vine who gives us (his branches, i.e. Christians) life and sustenance. As we abide in Jesus, we are sustained, strengthened, and remain in covenant relationship with Him. As Christians, we have a life-giving connection with the Creator of the universe. Let that sink in for a while. And let us never forget the vital, and daily, significance of abiding in Christ. While it is God who keeps us in the faith through our union with Christ, by virtue of His indwelling Holy Spirit, He uses means for us to abide in Him. Things such as: reading and meditating on His Word and being obedient to what we read, drawing strength from prayer, being sharpened by fellowship with the saints, the preaching of the Word, and the Lord’s Supper.

There would be no salvation, no progress, in fact no answered prayer, apart from union with Christ. Union with Christ is vital, as we are continually dependent upon Him for everything, and can do nothing ‘apart from Him’ (v. 5). And speaking of answered prayer, take a close look at verses 7 and 16 in context. We see a direct correlation between our abiding in Christ, and receiving answers to prayer. John 15:7 reads,If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” No doubt…..this involves a sanctifying growth process, and these kinds of prayers don’t just happen overnight. They involve a daily growing in the knowledge of our Savior and His character. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him. And the more we know and love Him, the more we will pray for those things that grip His heart.

Let’s remember a couple more important things here. God’s choosing to give us what we pray for doesn’t happen because He is ever obligated to answer us, or because of anything we do. Every answer to prayer is a gift from Him to us. But what we see in this passage is that, by remaining in Christ, our prayers become more God-centered, and less me-centered. The conclusion we see in John 15 is that, as we grow in our dependence upon God and in our knowledge of Him, more of our prayers will reflect God’s own desires and purposes, and will be answered! (see also 1 John 5:14, John 14:13-14)

All true Christians will abide in Christ, and none will ever be lost. It is not for reason of  our own strength or doing that we abide, but it is His work in us. But we can experience greater degrees of joy, fruitfulness, and answered prayers, as Christ teaches us here. Let us grow in our knowledge of Christ and His will, and have our prayers shaped by such knowledge. May God bless you as you seek His face in prayer!

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Thank you so much for reading my blog! Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and have a great day!   — Jamie

 

 

 

Christ Over and Above All

Jesus Christ is over and above all kings, nations, angels, rulers and powers,
He is above Satan and all of his demons; in fear of Christ they quickly cower.
And while many false gods claim to be His equal, He will never share His glory,
He is transcendent over all, nothing like us; He’s in a totally different category.

Jesus Christ is LORD, seated on His throne, governing every moment that passes,
Sovereign over every molecule, every particle; all liquids, solids, and gases.
Nothing catches Him off guard, and nothing will ever thwart His perfect plans,
No happening can take Him by surprise, for the world is completely is His hands.

Christ upholds all the galaxies, is governed by none, and seeks no one’s advice,
He is the God-man, and those who reject His claims will pay the ultimate price.
Seek His wisdom daily, for He never doubts, never fails, and never second guesses,
If you are in Christ, He has taken away your shame and sin; your life He truly blesses.

None should occupy our hearts the way that Jesus does, for He alone is worthy over all,
And this One who is altogether worthy, He came down to earth to rescue us from the fall.
Our KING, all-powerful, worthy of our trust, infinite in holiness, wisdom, love, and every other attribute,
He came and bled and died on the cross; the One to Whom all knees will bow, and whose rule is absolute.

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Thank you so much for reading my blog! Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and have a great day!   — Jamie

COVID-19 Not Supreme

No, not at all, not even a tiny bit, and not in any manner,
Coronavirus is not in control, it has no sovereign banner.
It may be disruptive, causing so much unspeakable pain,
Making us all to feel as though we’ve truly gone insane.

But the virus has its limits; it doesn’t have final control,
Jesus Christ is sovereign over COVID, and Him we should extol.
The Bible has no loopholes, this matter is crystal clear,
Nothing surprises our God, not even 2020, this most crazy year.

The LORD is doing so much, many things we don’t even know,
But one thing Christians can say is this: He is causing us to grow,
To grow in ways like never before, stripping us of our idols,
Showing us our great need for Him, bringing inward revival.

Make no mistake, COVID-19 is a horrific thing, causing many thousands to succumb,
Families have lost their precious loved ones, while some are left without their income.
We should never diminish the hardship and pain of others, or the evil consequences of Adam’s Fall,
But let’s remember, God uses all things for a believer’s good, to show us that He is our all in all.

Satan may think he’s in control of COVID-19, but he would be seriously deluded,
God is the One who rules over all things, as studied theologians have rightly concluded.
So when you’re tempted to think God has lost His grip, or that He is pacing anxiously around the throne,
Go to the Word, meditate on Who He is, that He is the Ruler over all, and this world belongs to Him alone.
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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!   — Jamie

15 Things We Shouldn’t Neglect in Evangelism

Hello everyone, I am beginning a new series on evangelism. And while most of it will apply more to “street evangelism”, I am hoping and praying these tips will help you no matter what type of evangelism you are engaged in. By God’s grace, I hope that these tips will bring to your attention ways to improve your attempts at sharing the gospel. The longer I am a Christian, the more I realize that I need to keep learning how to evangelize. Always a student, always learning something new. That’s the attitude we need to have! It is a God-given privilege to be Christ’s ambassadors, and it is God who gives the strength for us to engage people with the gospel. God is the One who receives all the glory for anything we accomplish, and for any fruit that comes from our proclamation of Jesus Christ.

But I believe that God works His sovereignty through means, and He desires that we try to be as faithful ambassadors as we can possibly be. We certainly can never be perfect, and all of us are far from it. But that is no excuse for us to stop learning. Yes, God is sovereign in saving sinners, but He calls us to proclaim the Good News to others. He works specifically through the preaching of the gospel to save sinners. Since that is the case, doesn’t it make sense that we should try to better ourselves and please the Lord in the way we evangelize? God calls us to be diligent, humble, and faithful in all things. He calls us to show love to our neighbor. He calls us to present the gospel clearly for all to understand.In short, He wants us to grow in our efforts. God wants us to make progress, just like in every other area of our Christian life.

The simplicity of the list may surprise you. It isn’t going to be rocket science by any means. But in my observation, I’m convinced that all too often we fail to do the simplest things when we evangelize. Things that are so obvious that we just simply overlook them. Things that truly work, but we just don’t try them because we’ve heard negative stories, or we may have a false impression about a specific method. Perhaps we judge certain methods too harshly because of what other people think. Let’s be open minded here. I am no expert, and I have failed over and over in my evangelism. But by God’s grace, I have observed some things I believe will help you………if you give them a try. Weigh everything I say with Scripture, and see where this goes. May God strengthen you to be an effective witness for the glory of Christ!

So with that in mind, here are 15 tips that I will be writing about in great detail over the next several months, one by one. But the list itself should be enough to get you to start thinking on these matters. They are listed in no particular order. Some are obviously more important than others, and some of them come logically before others. But don’t get too hung up on the order. The point is to incorporate these things into your arsenal.

So with all that in mind…………when evangelizing, never neglect to………….

1) Notice people’s faces

2) Look in their eyes

3) Smile at them

4) Say “Hello” or “How are y’all tonight?” or any other kind of “welcome statement”

5) Give them space

6) Have gospel tracts in your hands

7) Hand them a tract

8) Be extremely friendly and joyful

9) Open a conversation by asking them a thought-provoking, spiritual question

10) Speak the truth in love

11) Pray before and after

12) Be clear and articulate

13) Persevere in conversation

14) Tell them about your church

15) Tell them about Jesus!

 

Next time I will begin to speak in detail about the importance of noticing people’s faces. Come back and visit! Goodbye for now and God bless!

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!   — Jamie

What Cancer Can’t Take From You

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This is written for my beautiful sister Stephanie, who is loving Jesus while battling cancer. This is also written for anyone else who is battling this disease, or has a friend or family member who is fighting it with everything they have.

On your worst days, and even on your best days, always remember the truths below to remind you that God is always with you, He has cancer on a leash, and no illness can take any of these things from you ……… ever.


What cancer can’t take is the glorious freedom you have in Christ,
The freedom bought by His precious blood, by His infinite sacrifice.
It can’t take away any heavenly blessings, which are forever thine,
God will never leave or forsake you; you are connected to the Vine.

What cancer can’t take is the complete forgiveness of your sins,
It can’t take away your justification, when eternal life truly begins.
Nor can it take away God’s grace, strength, and loving-kindness,
Nor that past moment, when He removed your spiritual blindness.

What cancer can’t take is the joy of being loved by your awesome Lord,
It can’t take your future hope of seeing Jesus, by far your greatest reward.
It may cause you temporal pain, and will sometimes make you very afraid,
But do not fear; death has been conquered, your penalty has been paid.

What cancer can’t take away is the genuine love the body of Christ has for you,
It can’t take away the prayers offered, on behalf of all you are going through.
Nor can it can’t take away the comfort……of knowing that God is always in control,
That He works all things for good…… for you His child; it is well with your soul.

What cancer can’t take is the promise of the glorified body you will receive,
And all the riches God has in store for you, of which you cannot even conceive,
It can’t take away the bloody cross, when Jesus atoned for your transgressions,
Nor can it take away his rising from the grave, securing your own resurrection.

What cancer can’t take away is the indwelling peace of the Holy Spirit,
You have boldness in the day of judgment! And death? Don’t even fear it!
So the next time you go for chemo, and you’re feeling like total despair,
Remember, everything that belongs to Jesus belongs to you! You’re His co-heir.

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!   — Jamie

What God Brings from Suffering

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What God brings from suffering, a process far beyond what we can imagine,
It’s never the way we would desire, never our wish for such things to happen.
But God knows what He is doing, having great purpose in what He brings,
It may always be great mystery to us, how the King is glorified in all things.

We are not called to figure it out, as though we must know the how and why,
Better to open the Word, reading every glorious promise, even while you cry.
God is always with you, dear Christian, to give comfort when you are weary,
What a wonderful and precious promise, that your Father loves you so dearly.

He is able to comfort you in your pain, as He Himself has gone through great distress,
On the cross Jesus absorbed God’s wrath for sinners, so that we would be forever blessed.
But how can this be? That He, who is eternally blissful, would choose such bitter anguish,
So that we would not be judged, having our sins forgiven, the power of death vanquished.

And as if all that were not enough, the Lord is also doing a great work inside of us,
Using our pain to draw us closer to Him, sanctifying us, while increasing our feeble trust.
Suffering turns our hearts away from the things of this world, as God removes our remaining dross,
Which is the very reason our Master commands us to deny ourselves, while taking up our cross.

So when in the midst of inexpressible pain, and you feel like you can’t go on any longer,
Remember your Great High Priest who suffered, the One who is worthy of infinite honor.
He will never leave you nor forsake you, His Holy Spirit will be with you to the very end,
Then your pain will be no more, in Heaven you will be, with Christ an eternity to spend!
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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!   — Jamie

God Won’t Look the Other Way

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God hates the sin of abortion; His holiness demands nothing less,
A woman’s right to choose? No! It’s a demand over which you obsess.
Precious babies are being destroyed, life given by their Creator,
Stop giving in to this wicked mindset; don’t be a ruthless God-hater.

The murder of innocent blood! How can you look the other way?
God knows each aborted baby by name; there will be justice to pay.
You only support a woman’s right to murder? And you think He doesn’t care?
Indeed He does! He will punish every evil thought, as Scripture boldly declares.

But you foolishly say…..

“God doesn’t care what I do. Surely He will look the other way.”
“Besides, this baby is a nuisance. I want to live my fullest today.”

But God says…….

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.”
Heed what God says! If not,
you will one day look on Him with dread.

But you still foolishly say………

“God will look the other way. He will understand. Who needs Jesus? Surely there will be no punishment for this.”

To which I say……….

“Repent and trust in Christ today! What will you do after you die, when it’ll be too late? Will you offer Him Judas’ kiss?
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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!   — Jamie

 

Prayer Devotional, Psalm 42

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Dear brothers and sisters,

Let’s take a look at a powerful and hope-filled Chapter in the Psalms. At first glance, it doesn’t look so full of hope. In fact, it looks pretty bleak. But because the psalmist ultimately trusts in God, his entire outlook begins to change. He starts to look upward, and not so much inward. That’s the sweet spot of Christianity. When feeling depressed, anxious, and/or distant from God, this passage is a great place to turn. Even as Christians, we often get anxious, depressed, and fearful. We can’t imagine that we will even make it through the day with our sanity preserved………let alone the rest of our lives. Let’s see what we can learn from Psalm 42, so that we are better prepared for the turmoil and suffering that will come to all of us.

When we focus on all of the pressures of life, and all of the bad things that could happen, we forget God and the enemy rejoices. Thoughts like these flood our feeble minds………..What if they reject me because I’m a Christian? What if I get fired from my job? What if my child becomes a prodigal? What if my child is already a prodigal and doesn’t return to God? What if I get cancer? What if my wife gets cancer? What if my house burns down? What if…? What if….? What if….?  AArrgghhh. It’s enough to make anyone a whirlwind of anxiety inside. Sometimes even the godliest of people. And truth be told, if he hadn’t turned to God, the psalmist would have let inner turmoil completely take over his life.

There were probably seasons (or at least moments) when anxiety, as opposed to God’s promises, dominated the psalmist’s entire outlook. But ultimately his theology of God’s perfect character saved the day. He was brought to that desperate place where the troubled soul seeks God with everything he has, and doesn’t hold back. The lesson: In desperate situations, be extremely careful not to let your feelings override correct theology of who God is. Really, this applies in any situation, not just desperate ones. But as it goes, when our sufferings increase, we are more tempted to let feelings rule the day. But let’s look where the psalmist turns. When he is at the end of his rope, he realizes that he needs a different focus…….off of Himself, and onto the King.

You know what the biggest “what if” we should be concerned about? It’s not all the “what ifs” I listed above. Not even close. This is the one we should be most concerned about………What if I lose hope by forgetting God? That would be more of a tragedy than anything else in life! The psalmist is harassed by God’s enemies, feeling downcast, and unable to worship at the sanctuary. He doesn’t necessarily feel God’s presence. But even so, he recognizes that God is His refuge and the only One worthy to turn to. Above all things, he does not want to forget His God. That would be the ultimate tragedy. But sadly, Christians can fall into that trap when life takes us by surprise.

Feelings change. Emotions go high, low, and everywhere in between. And in a fallen world, our circumstances are never going to be exactly as we want them. But none of this describes what God is like. He is our steadfast and unchangeable Rock. God is worthy to be praised not only during times of comfort and blessing, but also during trial and great distress. He will often put us in situations that force us to trust Him. He does this to train our faith. He removes the comforts we can see so that we focus more on the One we cannot yet see. Our emotions will often waiver back and forth, but God and the promises of His Word do not change. Therefore, our praise should not waiver either. It should always be focused on our Lord Jesus Christ.

We worship the God of hope, the One who has given us the certain expectation of a resurrected and glorified life with Jesus Christ! Now experienced in part, but one day in full. Let us turn our attention away from mounting circumstances, and onto our great God and Savior. Like the Psalmist, let us praise Him at all times. This is so important for our sanctification, that we learn to praise Him and give thanks in all things. This is true both individually, and in our spiritual growth as the body of Christ.

Cling to this truth, dear Christian. It will change you for the better. As bad as things may get sometimes, we are never hopeless as long as God is caring for us. And if you are a Christian, He will do that forever.

 

                    PSALM 42

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”

When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.

O my God, my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon,
From the Hill Mizar.
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!   — Jamie

Prayer Devotional, Jeremiah 33:1-9

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Hello brothers and sisters,

As is evidenced by this passage, what a merciful God we worship! What other-worldly compassion HE shows! Throughout their history, God rescued the nation of Judah again and again from their unjust oppressors. For one shining example, just go back and read the entire Book of Exodus. We often falsely hear about how God was always so ‘harsh’ and ‘judgmental’ in the Old Testament. Really? Are we all reading the same Bible? First of all, even when God judges an individual or an entire people group, HE always judges righteously.  HE is perfectly holy, and His judgments are always true and righteous (see Revelation 19:2). But when you begin to pour yourself into Scripture, the mercy of God jumps off the pages of the Old Testament.

After all of their rampant idolatry, God justly punishes the nation through the Babylonian siege. But then, or better yet……BUT GOD, is not finished yet. Jeremiah receives Word that God has an astonishing plan. A wonderful and gracious plan that defies all expectations (think Ephesians 3:20!). The plan that HE will restore Judah to their former glory and prosperity. More than that, He will forgive their sins. The idolatrous, unfaithful nation would no longer be under God’s curse, but instead would receive a future blessing.

What??!! Why would God do this?! I mean, the nation was steeped in idolatry and immorality of all kinds. They turned their backs on God again and again. What could possibly motivate God to restore them to their land AND forgive their sins? They don’t deserve that. Well, it comes back to that one word I mentioned above………mercy. Instead of getting what they deserved, Judah received mercy instead of continued judgment. The judgment would come to an end and God would lovingly, and compassionately, bring them back to their former place. And best of all, for the remnant who would return, the Lord would reconcile their relationship to Himself.

And contained within God’s gracious plan is that Jeremiah would call out to God. And his prayers would be heard!  And notice the reasons that Jeremiah can confidently call out to God. First off, God gave Jeremiah HIS own Word and promise that He will answer the prophet’s prayers. When God makes a promise, He never fails to follow through. Jeremiah now has hope, a certain expectation that Judah will be restored. And secondly, God describes His own Name and character, therefore giving us unshakable confidence and trust! Because HE is the ‘I AM’ (Yahweh), the self-existent, self-sustaining God, with infinite power to create and sustain the earth, He cannot possibly fail to restore His own people. It goes along with who HE is. God is both able and willing to do it, and nothing is too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:27). This should give us great confidence in our prayers, because we are praying to the very same God as Jeremiah did (Hebrews 13:8).

Even though the context is very different, we should still see something of our own lives in this passage. We too have committed idolatry, serving ourselves and created things over and above God. Money, sex, food, status, popularity, false religion, etc. The list goes on and on. And because of this, we deserve nothing but God’s wrath and punishment. But then comes the Good News for you, dear Christian. BUT GOD………..He came and rescued us through the Person and work of Christ! He has restored us to Himself. Jesus Christ, the True Israel who obeyed God perfectly, experienced the curse for our idolatry. Now we are the recipients of the ultimate future blessing………to be in the very presence of Christ forever. Let us call out to Him and praise Him for His mercy!                                                         


JEREMIAH 33:1-9

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard:Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name:Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword:They are coming in to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill them with the dead bodies of men whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil.Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first.I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. 
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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!   — Jamie

Prayer Devotional, Psalm 141

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Dear brothers and sisters,

In Psalm 141, the Psalmist is so desperate for God that he begs Him to hear his prayers. And notice the awe and reverence he has for God as he presents his requests. There is so much reverence that he longs for his prayers to be pleasing to God, like incense as a fragrant aroma. He is deeply concerned about the content, motivation, and goal of his prayers. The posture of his heart is to pray in order to please God, not himself. There is not a trace of self-glory in the words of the Psalmist.

What does this mean for us? For one, it is important not only that we pray, but also how we pray. James 4:3 states, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” No, God does not expect our prayers to be perfect. We could never accomplish that in our own strength. That is why we have the gracious assistance of the Son and the Spirit! But, at the same time, we do need to be concerned with what we ask for, and the posture of our heart when we ask for it.

Of course, we know that God is always listening and hears every word that is uttered. But the Psalmist is seeking more than just the knowledge that God audibly hears our every prayer. He is longing for intimacy and communion when he prays. He longs to pray according to God’s will and purpose. He wants God’s Kingdom to come, and His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10)!

Notice something else. Look at how the holiness of his life is vital to the Psalmist’s prayer motives. He refuses to enjoy the pleasures of the wicked, but will accept the rebuke of the righteous (verse 5). He prays in order to live holy, and as a result, his holy life then feeds his prayers (James 5:16). What a powerful combination, and a deadly weapon against Satan! The Psalmist is very concerned about his walk with God, and it beautifully shapes his prayers.

How does this instruct us as Christians? That communion with God in prayer is essential to our sanctification. We cannot do without it. Again, this also echoes the Lord’s Prayer when Jesus instructs us to pray against temptation, and deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13).

So let us pray, and be desperate for God to hear and answer our prayers. Let us be mindful of our motives and goals when we pray. God desires that we live holy (Leviticus 11:44), and He will surely answer us as we pray to be more like Christ. No motivation could honor Him more than that.

Psalm 141  

O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!

Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
let my head not refuse it.
Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
When their judges are thrown over the cliff,
then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
As when one plows and breaks up the earth,
so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me
and from the snares of evildoers!
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by safely.

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