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
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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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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, Matthew 7:7-11

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When it comes to teaching on how to pray, I love the directness of Jesus. I love it, and Him, because He gives His elect people such clear, unmistakable instructions. In other words, you can’t miss it! Oh, but we do miss the point sometimes, don’t we? We miss it because we overcomplicate things. We try to give way too many reasons for why Jesus “didn’t really mean what He said.” But I say we take the King at His Word, and start benefitting from the beauty of His instructions.

Below we have a confidence-boosting passage that teaches us to approach God as our Father, pleading for His blessings, knowing that He always desires to give us good gifts. This is most encouraging and uplifting. Jesus exhorts all of God’s children to approach boldly to the throne in prayer, and to ask without reservation. He is the One who owns all things, and He commands us to come to Him, so that He can show just how amazing of a Provider He truly is. What a Savior we have!

When the Bible refers to God giving His children good gifts, it is talking about the best gifts possible. It is referring to the absolute, perfect good that only God can display. Our ‘good’ is always tainted, even in our best works. With us, something is always lacking in motivation, attitude, faith, and/or performance. God’s good is always perfect. Psalm 18:30 proclaims, “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Since God is good, and all His ways are good, that means that anything He gives is also good.

And what is it about these gifts that are so good? Well, of course, there are too many reasons to possibly know, much less list, them all. But there are a few things we know. They are good gifts because they are given for the purpose of bringing glory and honor to the great and holy Name of Jesus Christ. They are gifts that will benefit our sanctification and perseverance in the faith. Gifts that will bless others, and contribute to the growth of God’s everlasting Kingdom through the spread of the gospel. And certainly, gifts that will strengthen and edify the local church. What a comfort it is to know that God never wastes a single gift!

God dispenses His answers to our prayers in perfect wisdom. He always gives us exactly what we need, and when we need it. He doesn’t give based on what we think we need in any given moment, but based on what we really need according to His perfect plan and purpose for our lives. That goes for us as individual Christians, and corporately as the church body. The verses below should motivate us to come together and pray fervently, and confidently, to our Father. He gives infinitely better than even the greatest parent on earth. And here’s another amazing thing about it……. it is His delight to do so! Why? Simply because we are His children, and He delights to do good to us.

Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
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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, Mark 9:14-29

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Hello brothers and sisters,

The verses below deal with something all too common for struggling Christians. Something we all experience and do serious battle with. It is that age-old, pestering, irritating, never-seeming-to-surrender……… doubt. Yes, dear Christians, whether we admit it or not, we all struggle at times with a lack of faith. We doubt our Father, who gave to us His Only Begotten Son. We doubt the One who spoke the world into existence and upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3).

Unfortunately, this lack of faith manifests itself often when we pray. During the time we should have some of our most intimate fellowship with God, we doubt Him. Even though we read His Word describing His absolute perfection in all that He is and does, we still doubt Him. We doubt His character, His ability, and His wisdom. This is not acceptable for the Christian. This should grieve us to the core.

Although it is true that all of us struggle with doubt in the Christian life, we are never to be content with it. We need to fight it by asking God for greater faith and trust in Him, and by relying on His Spirit and His Word to confirm truth in our hearts. And as is common advice with many of these devotionals, we need to take our eyes off of us and our feeble abilities, and redirect our minds onto Jesus Christ.

Our circumstances and emotions matter to us too much when we are anxious. They can squash our trust in God if we dwell on them for too long. God doesn’t get anxious. Circumstances don’t phase Him. Remember, He is the One who tells the waves just how far they are allowed to go (Job 38:11). He made the sun stand still for a full day (Joshua 10:13). Oh, and there’s this too…………He conquered death by rising from the grave!!

Now, let’s make sure we are balanced here. We don’t want to go to extremes with over-emphasizing the quality of our faith. Otherwise, we’ll get depressed and feel too ashamed to even pray. In fact, that is the whole point of the prayer in this passage- that we don’t always have it together, and we shouldn’t be surprised at that. We sometimes fear that our prayers will be too weak and lacking too much faith for God to really answer us. And this could lead us to not even pray at all. But this should not be! Whatever the condition of your faith, pray! In fact, if your faith is feeling extra weak, that is all the more reason to pray. So don’t get overly introspective about it. That is not healthy. Recognize it for what it is, and get on your knees.

We have a wonderful example below that proves God answers prayer not according to the largeness of our faith, but because of His great power, mercy, and compassion. It only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move the hand of God. The father of the demon-possessed boy in the following passage is proof of this. His faith was very small.  But he was not content with that, was he? He knew that, although his faith was weak, His God is infinitely loving and powerful! This should make us resolute in our prayer lives. All glory to God!

Mark 9:14-29

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

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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, 2 Corinthians 1:1-11

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Dear brothers and sisters,

We will be in 2 Corinthians looking at how God works mightily through our prayers, especially during times of suffering. There is a strong temptation for us to ignore prayer during times of extreme trials and difficulties. We get so stressed out and weary, and then we foolishly decide that we don’t want to expend any energy to pray. We doubt God’s love, care, and provision for us. But this is unwise. In fact, it is outright spiritually dangerous. To neglect prayer at such crucial times would be tragic. It displays a lack of trust in our good and holy Father, who sent His Son to die for us. So…..how do we get out of such a spiritual rut?

We get our eyes off of us and onto Him! We approach the throne. We pray. Even if we don’t feel like it. We still pray. And we ask others to pray with, and for, us. This is where the body of Christ comes in and helps us. In the passage below, we see the importance of corporate prayer in how God delivers Paul from his perilous circumstances. Paul earnestly desired the prayers of the saints in Corinth, because he knew that God works powerfully through prayer.

Paul, like anyone else in his situation, wanted to be rescued. But it wasn’t just for the sake of being rescued. Look at verse 11. It was so that God would receive thanks. When he appeals to the Corinthians for prayer, Paul wasn’t just thinking of his own comfort and well-being. He wants the compassion and power of God to be acknowledged and magnified. He wants God to receive the thanks and praise He is due, both for past and future deliverance. Notice how Paul expects God to act on his behalf at the end of verse 10.

As God answers our own corporate prayers, we ought to be people who express praise and thanksgiving for his many mercies. Like Paul, we need to be grateful for God’s deliverance from difficult circumstances (if He so chooses). But we must also be zealous for our church families to remember God……. first and foremost! Notice how Paul sees purpose both in His suffering and in God’s deliverance. We need to have the same Biblical mindset.

Matthew Henry says this about verse 11: “Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us under obligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty, not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits received. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good to ourselves and others.”

                                              2 Corinthians 1:1-11

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

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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, Luke 22:39-46

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Hello brothers and sisters,

We will be reading through a very powerful and instructive passage, the one describing the agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. In it, we have our perfect example of the way we ought to pray at all times and circumstances. Jesus, who was so distressed in the garden that his sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44), was about to face the most painful, and shameful, death imaginable. He was about to be crucified by cruel, merciless Roman Soldiers. Men who were specifically trained to make the condemned suffer the most horrific pain imaginable, as an attempt to squash others from rebellion against the empire. The irony being, of course, that the soldiers crucified an innocent man on this particular day. One who was not in rebellion against the Roman empire. In fact, One who had never rebelled at all, in any way, period. For His entire life!

But it isn’t just the physical torture of crucifixion that Jesus had to deal with, which would be enough to make anyone recoil in terror. And it wasn’t just the physical beatings, the mocking, the spitting, the mock trial, the crown of thorns, and the many false accusations. Don’t get me wrong. These things are all wicked crimes against the Son of Man. But far worst than all of the physical and emotional suffering from the hands of evil men, was the spiritual pain that Christ would endure. Jesus, the Holy One of God, is about to have the sin of the world laid upon Him on the cross. In addition, He knows that He must drink the “cup” of God’s wrath to accomplish this work. This “cup” was what prompted Him to cry out, “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)  Should we even have to ask why He desired for this cup to pass?

But ultimately, the Father would not let this cup pass. He could not. For this was the reason Jesus came to earth, to glorify God in accomplishing redemption for His people on the cross. He came to do the will of the Father. And that desire, to do God’s will, is never shown more clearly than in this prayer. Despite the physical and spiritual agony He knew was coming, Jesus, “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2) Also, Christ reminds us here how important prayer is in fighting temptation. If the 2nd Person of the Trinity (who had no sin nature) prayed in such a desperate way, then how much more should we be agonizing in prayer over our struggles and temptations?

Remember, God answered the prayer of Jesus! Don’t let anyone ever tell you He didn’t. The Father always hears the Son. For Jesus prayed, “Not My will, but Thy will.” That prayer was answered in a big way. Jesus was a different man as He exited the garden.

The first Adam once failed miserably inside of a lush, beautiful garden. He decided that his own will was more important than God’s. But thanks be to God for the second Adam! He was also once tempted inside of a lush, beautiful garden. Severely tempted. But unlike the first Adam, Jesus never once failed to do God’s will! He passed every test with flying colors.

LUKE 22:39-46

39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

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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, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

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In today’s devotional passage, Paul is giving some final, and very fruitful, instructions to the church at Thessalonica. We see the importance of prayer going right alongside with being joyful and always giving thanks. Prayer is one of the means that God gives us to fuel the fires of joy and thanksgiving. When we are losing our joy and/or contentment, we should always pray. When we find ourselves not giving thanks in all things, we need to pray. When our growth in sanctification seems to be going in the wrong direction, we need to pray. Paul addresses every one of these concerns in this passage.

Joy and thankfulness in the Lord play such a large part in our sanctification. Our contentment and happiness in Christ is directly related to how we live for Him. And without prayer, we can’t expect our joy and contentment to increase. In fact, the opposite is true. Have you ever noticed that, just as your prayer life goes, so goes your thankfulness and joy in Christ. So let us pray, and ask God for the help we desperately need. Not to have everything in our life as we want it, but that He would increase our joy in Him alone. That way, we will be more prepared when God removes something very dear from us. And He will do that as often as He sees fit, in order to sanctify us.

We can have confidence that God will always answer this kind of prayer. Why? Because more than anything else, God desires our sanctification. He desires for us to be more like His Son, Jesus Christ. Verse 24 gives us the motivation. God is faithful! We can be confident that God will answer our prayers because, unlike us, He is always faithful. God is not against us having joy and contentment. In fact, He is our Father and wants the best for us. And the best thing for us is to delight in Him. God is certainly ok with us delighting in things He gives us, but we should never delight in the gifts more than the Giver.

The passage tells us that when we do this, we are doing God’s will. And since we often are prone to drift away from spiritual things, God’s will for us is to continually pray that we grow in our love for Christ. To pray continually means that we ought to always be mindful of our need for Christ and His grace, to be in a posture of complete dependence on Him, and then commune with Him in prayer. And there is a corporate nature to this instruction. Paul is giving this instruction not only to individuals, but to the local church. God’s desire is that we come together consistently to pray with, and for, one another. Now let’s get to it. (-:

God bless you all,  Jamie


1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually,18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
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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, 1 John 3:16-24

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Dear brothers and sisters,

We will be in 1 John for our prayer devotional today. In this passage, we learn how much the holiness of our lives matters to God when it comes to effective prayer. Yes, how we live can affect whether or not our prayers get answered. Our generosity and the way we love our brothers and sisters is very crucial. When we are obeying God’s commandments, we are more inclined to be seeking His will for our lives when we pray. But if we are indulging in sinful patterns, or living in ungratefulness and discontentment, we shouldn’t be surprised when our prayer lives suffer.

It can become a very frustrating, repetitive cycle. First, we grow slack in our obedience, becoming lazy in our Christian walk. We neglect the Scriptures, toy around with pet sins, avoid opportunities to be with the body of Christ, etc. It then follows that, since we are neglecting the means of growth, we don’t pray for the right things. Hence, those prayers don’t get answered. We then get frustrated that God isn’t answering our prayers, tempted to blame others or even Him for our lack. Not a good place to remain.

When this happens, what we need to do is get back to preaching the gospel to ourselves, being reminded of the complete forgiveness and imputed righteousness we have in Christ. It’s time to open and meditate on the Word of God, rejoicing in His great and precious promises to us (2 Peter 1:4). Also, be with other Christians a lot. They will sharpen, strengthen, and encourage you. Don’t fly solo! If you do, you’ll end up in a worse place than where you started.As we slowly, albeit weakly, get back to the normal means of growth, we will begin to please the Lord by obeying His precepts. It may not look like a lot at first, but obedience will be present. We will be more self-controlled, more forgiving, and we will start to humble ourselves in sacrificial service to others.

The Book of James says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” John is showing full agreement in this passage with what James has to say about prayer. We don’t simply obey God just so that He will answer our prayers and give us what we want. We obey God out of gratitude for who He is, and what He’s done in saving us, and then over time He graciously conforms our will to His will when we pray. Now, let’s obey Him by seeking Him above all things! Then pray, and trust Him for His answers.

God bless,  Jamie

                                                           1 John 3:16-24

 

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.  For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.  And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Prayer Devotional, Acts 1:12-26

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For use in corporate or private prayer, and/or family devotions………

Our Scripture passage will be Acts 1:12-26:

 

Dear brothers and sisters,

Let us take notice of how important Corporate Prayer was to the early church. This passage takes place just after the ascension of Jesus Christ, after He had given these early disciples instructions on the Great Commission. Faced with the task of spreading the gospel to the nations, planting churches, and replacing Judas with a qualified Apostle, these men and women came together to pour out their heart to God in prayer.

The way the early church prayed in this passage is an example we ought to follow. They believed that great things happen when God’s people pray! The Great Commission has not ended, and will not end until the Lord returns. And if we are to reach the nations, starting with our own areas which God has placed us in, we need to bathe it all in much prayer. Remember, the sovereignty of God has determined where you live, and this is where He desires you to spread the gospel. And it would be arrogant of us to think we can do it in our own strength. Prayer is vital!

And notice…..they did it in agreement with one another. They were united in their motivation and desire, which was dependence on the Holy Spirit, love for Christ, and trust in God to do His work in and through them. Which ultimately leads to greater communion with God! And they were also united in their purpose, which was to gloryify God in the spread of the gospel. Having this mindset when it comes to our relationship with God will drive us to more more fervent praying for the lost. That mindset is being humble to the fact that we can do nothing without the enabling power of God.

So let us all, together with one accord, pray for the Holy Spirit to go mightily before us as we live as witnesses to the great Name of Jesus Christ.

God bless,  Jamie

 

                                                Acts 1:12-26

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, ‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it‘, and ‘Let another take his office.’“

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

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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