And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words (Matt 6:5-7)…..
Religious prayers focus on a response from man, trying impress with long drawn out performances displaying skills of speaking and stirring up the crowd with volume and theatrics and earning the applause of those in earshot. Your reward will be just that – being placed in some light of greatness by those you stand in front of. They will be impressed… and you will be popular – great job… but in whose eyes? What impact does that prayer really have? Are you spending so much time making an impact on those that hear your religion that you become silent to the one that HEARS you in relationship?
Relationship Prayers focus on a response from God. The length of your public prayer also exposes the brevity of your private prayer. You spend SO much energy on praying in front of people that you sometimes don’t even GET to that place in the Spirit with God. And God is NOT impressed by your command of language or your lengthy dissertations of memorized verses and traditions. They don’t move Him. He wants to hear from YOU – Not your speech. He sees what’s really going on with you, He wants a relationship with you and wants to deal with your “deep down on the inside” – those things that you would not dare pray in your religious circle because THAT’s not something you’d want others to know about you! That’s likely what you want God to deal with anyway; so Commit to the relationship with the one that sees the truth and can deal with it and you!
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph 2:8-9); “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:19-23).”
The author of Hebrews talks about a “new and living way” opened up to Christians because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. To me, the “old and dead way” is a life under the law or works because that way of living is one completely self-centered. It’s all about what “I” do. It is a life where God’s blessings are completely conditional upon ‘my’ actions and utterly unattainable. It is a way of life dedicated to the impossible; striving for a life that you will never live in order to achieve blessings of the flesh that God will never grant. It is a way of living that creates an attitude that says, “Look at what I’m doing for God.” “Look at how I go to church.” “Look at how I was raised in my denomination.” “Look at how I gave my money.” “Look at how I confessed my sins.” “Look at how successful my life is.” “Look at how I healed the sick.” “Look at how I spoke in tongues.” The list is endless. Nowhere in that way of life is the focus on knowing God through faith in Jesus Christ. However, as the scriptures tell us, the “new and living way” of life is one where we can boldly approach God because of our faith in the work of Jesus on our behalf. That is why we can “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” There is no assurance to draw near to God when we believe our ability to do such a thing is conditional on our behavior. We know we will fail each and every time to live up to God’s perfect requirements. There’s a serious gap in where we are and where we are “trying” to be because we can’t do it ourselves!
But, the grace of God that we now live in changes everything about our lives in the Lord. Our new way of living creates an attitude stemming from the grace of God that says, “Look at what Jesus did for us.” “Look at how Jesus went to Calvary.” “Look at how Jesus was raised from the dead.” “Look at how Jesus gave His life.” “Look at how Jesus took away our sins.” “Look at how successful the death of Jesus was.” “Look at how Jesus raised the dead.” “Look at how Jesus spoke in love.” This list is also endless. The difference between the “old and dead way” and the “new and living way” is the difference between law and grace. His Grace Fills the Gap!
You must ask yourself a serious question: “Are you willing to die to all self-effort and rest in the saving grace of Jesus Christ?” If your answer is, “Yes,” then it is time to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).” The Old Covenant law can be described as man trying to cross a cavern, trying to reach God with self-effort to be accepted by Him. The New Covenant of grace can be described as God reaching across that cavern to man through Jesus Christ with love and acceptance.
…..(Thanks I-Dog for the Inspiration)
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isa 26:3)~ Our peace is often the focus of the enemy. Satan knows without peace, we are in a weakened condition, vulnerable to defeat. If he can get us to hand over our peace, he knows it won’t be long before we become putty in his hand. But, the devil is a lie! Friend, have you ever thought of the power that we have been given in Jesus’ name when we speak His word and claim it in our life? One of the great provisions of Christ to us as His family is peace in Him. He not only gives us peace, He keeps us in peace; in His perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be for ever. Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in Him, but shall receive from Him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is forever. God’s Word is true and it can be trusted! When we stand on God’s Word, we won’t fall for the tricks of the enemy! And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Col 3:15). As members of His family, peace is not just God’s gift but His WILL… His intention for us. He doesn’t intend that we live in stress and strain; He doesn’t intend that we have dysfunction in our families and relationships; He doesn’t intend that we struggle through life. It is His will that every need be supplied (Phil 4:19). Friend, I pray that God, the source of all hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ (Rom 15:13).
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Ps 51:1-12)~~ All of us have sinned and fallen short of His glory. There is not one of us that is beyond the guilt of our transgressions. There is also not one transgression that God is not already aware of. The guilt of things I’ve done and the person I’ve been is enough to make me run and hide in shame for the rest of my days. But the glorious thing about all of this is, as we own up to the truth about ourselves, and realize how much we have actually strayed away, God Is already telling us to just come on back!
Let’s see that again… As we are confessing ourselves to Him and HIM only, HE IS REMINDING US THAT WE CAN ALWAYS COME BACK!
No matter how bad it is or was or how long it’s been – He stands with open arms to you! There is nothing too great for His mercies; too hard to forgive; or too far gone beyond His righteousness. God requires perfect righteousness And in Jesus- this we have. His love for us is truly without limit! My friend, open up to God today and experience the restored joy of His free salvation in you! Then, start fresh and clean from the heart… in God’s hand!!!
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed (1 Cor 5:7)
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:11-12)~ Can you imagine a soldier rising up early in the middle of a war zone, heading out, and forgetting to prepare for battle? That’s what we do each time we wake up in the morning to leave the house without “putting on the WHOLE armor of God”. It’s not enough to just pray; GEAR UP FOR YOUR DAILY BATTLE – you’re not going out there to fight people, but mindsets, ideologies and idiosyncrasies… Laws, rules and opinions “designed” toward your demise; all cleverly setup to ‘appear’ harmless and even inviting, yet serious and severe enough to not only throw off your victory and eternal destiny, but to derail the journey of generations that follow you. The battle is about much more than you…you are just one piece but with a potential to impact so much more. This is why we must “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8)~ there is a very real enemy out there waiting to attack… and that enemy knows just how to get you… especially if you’re not prepared. Everything to keep you from your victory will be thrown at you today! Things that challenge what you believe, but spun in such a way that you could actually go the wrong way and not realize it until it’s too late! Look, the enemy wants to bring you down … Especially if you’re already walking in faith… You’re too dangerous to the master plan of evil! Therefore you need to protect yourself and be ready to counter the attack! Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph 6:16-17)! It doesn’t matter how strong your will is, the enemy knows your weakness… but there’s something else that the enemy knows that he cannot defeat…and that’s your strength in Christ by faith in the Word of God…so the enemy will try to get you to not take it with you! Don’t let the enemy find you without the Word! Soldier: It’s a war zone out there! And it starts right now….Don’t go into the day unprepared! WORD UP Soldier, the day awaits!
For that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever (Rom 1:25)~ Before the beginning began, GOD has determined what is right and wrong, and since HE made clear what we weren’t supposed to do, we have ALL sinned and fallen short of His glory, but rather than humble ourselves before Him and respect Him, we’ve decided that ‘our’ ways are now okay and we are all about what WE want. Rather than having high standards about what God intends, we set and accept lower standards and excuse ourselves from being accountable to God. We rationalize everything that governs us and conclude by our own wisdom that in some cases, ‘sin’ is no longer sin, but is now the choice of our free will and lifestyle! In fact, the more controversial it is against God’s standards, the more desirable the lifestyle seems to get! People say things like, “but the Bible was written by a “MAN”, it was not the word of God. I’m sorry, but social mores have changed.” … and also one that stated “You forget that the United States is not a theocracy; the bible is irrelevant concerning public policy.”….It amazes yet saddens me that we look at the Bible and say it’s outdated and doesn’t apply to today’s “social” world.
But THIS Christian believes that the Bible is a sure guide to eternal life! The prophets and apostles did not speak from themselves, but delivered what they received of God! I believe what the Word says in that “All Scripture is breathed out by GOD and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). But “we” have decided that God’s standards as the Word defines them are too restrictive to the different varieties of lifestyles people want to have so we must redefine those standards to accommodate every choice of lifestyle we want to lead. We think that if enough of ‘the people’ are okay with it, and will vote it into a law or have a faction that supports it; it’s okay and even “right” to do. So someone that’s highly published or famous or charismatic; and with a popular dialect of supposed intellect comes out with their interpretation! Popular culture likes it, and THAT makes our choices and lifestyles and interpretations justified and therefore okay! No thanks worldly views! I’ve got enough to give account for as it is, I won’t be trying to explain to God why ‘I’ changed the rules … One question I don’t want to have to answer is “Who made YOU God?” Because my only answer could be… “The people” and honestly, that’s another bad story in itself.
Remember what happened when the Israelites decided to fashion their own god and make their own rules! That’s where this world is headed right now! The intent and meaning of God’s word doesn’t change to suit our choices! His Word is THE word, PERIOD! It’s according to HIS will as it is written and is not up for debate, negotiation or re-interpretation under cultural or social scrutiny! There is no “I know the Bible says this but…..”. Plain and simple, “thus saith The Lord”! He is God and He changes NOT!
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov 16:25)~ The enemy blinds the eyes of unbelievers, causing absurd reasonings in matters of religion. Whether men seek happiness in worldly things, or run into unbelief, superstition, or any false system, they feed on ashes…remnants of that which has been “created”, used and reshaped by man. The ideals of people and society have changed the truth of God into a lie, and people have come to worship and serve their own ways more than the Word of God (Rom 1:25). They have convinced themselves the Bible is foolish, hopelessly outdated, or written by religious fanatics. They love their own thoughts so much they will not accept correction from God nor His ambassadors! A heart deceived by pride, love of sin, and departure from God, turns us aside from His holy truth and worship. It’s gotten so that people hold fast to the ‘lie’ as the best treasure. Today’s hearts are set upon the wealth of the world and its pleasures. We must be careful to what we hold dear to our heart and soul! If we trust to outward professions and doings, as if those would save us, we deceive ourselves. He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? (Isa 44:20).