Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

At times I have wondered if my prayers had any real value. I’ve continued praying because the Lord has told us too but I have sometimes wondered. As I read this verse, the urging to pray I stopped to consider it. I asked the Lord to open my spirit to his word and this verse stuck out like a shining light.

So, here are the thoughts that came to me. Not deeply profound, but they struck a deep resonating chord inside me.

Prayer is speaking to God. Talking to Him about what is in our heart.

Steadfastly: by dictionary definition is to continue firmly, with resolution, to be staunch.

Being watchful in it: By dictionary definition: Alert, vigilant, steadily attentive.

Give thanks - not just a general ‘I’m thankful,’ but calling to mind specific things in my life, and making a specific statement of thanks.

And, as I pray, I need to keep alert to, be watchful of my own thought and attitudes. To allow God’s viewpoint to emerge.

Things to watch for would be that the prayer not become a complaint session, or telling God how HE should proceed. And, I need to take note of the answers I am expecting God to give me. Those expectations may shut my ears to His actual answer.

Some answers I can pray for with assurance because they line up with God’s own stated purposes - as in praying for salvation for someone, or growth in the Christian walk of another, or that a believer may grow in the Lord.

But, I can also pray for my hearts cares and concerns, even my hearts desires, but I must keep my spirit open to hear God’s words to me - what He desires of me, things I must deal with, attitudes I must change. Listening as well as talking.

Prayer is truly a two way street. Even in my own fumbling and doubts I have found in acting upon the thought that comes to me while praying, when it is clearly not my thought, how obedience has brought me peace.

Case in point. In a rant to God that everything was annoying me and wouldn’t God just step in and change it or better, get me out of it, the thought came that this was an attack from Satan, and my only recourse in it was to give praise and thanksgiving to the LORD. With that praise and thanksgiving I was immediately released from my anger and given peace.

God desires us to be in conversation with Him. It is a gift to us from Him. He really cares about us and wants to communicate.

The open portal directly into His presence was closed by Adam and Eve when they chose their own way. But, in my own life I also close the door to His presence by choosing my own way. Only in prayer do I begin to tune into His presence.

I need to “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”

Thank you Father

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Philippians 2:8-11  8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,  even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I never really thought about it before - that Christ, born of a woman, living as a human in a sinful world, could have failed. 

Adam had one "do not do" in his world, a perfect world with no troubles, and wonderful fellowship with his creator. He failed.

Christ on the other hand, came into a world of "options" and "choices".  And,  as all mankind before him, he had an active  enemy to contend with.  In the scriptures we see one of those  temptations and the end result. It also tells us in Hebrews he was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin. Yet, in the midst of my own temptations I have never connected with the thought Christ must have also faced just such 

I know, I know it seems impossible to have not realized all Christ faced.  But His  success made his temptations seem less  difficult, though I never really thought of it before in that light and didn't realize I was diminishing Christ's work on my behalf.

I have only just connected the dots,  that Satan must have thrown all his considerable power into deceiving and subjugating Jesus.  Here, since the fall of Adam, was Satan's first really major challenge against his former master.  With other humans he could work on their already sinful minds and souls to increase their subjugation to himself. 

But Christ was different. He was without any sin.  To overthrow Christ would be his ultimate victory against God.  Against the one God told would come in Genesis 3:15.

When 33 years of  'tempting' Christ reaped no harvest of rebellion, Satan determined that his only recourse was to get rid of Christ by death.  But even in this final drive against God, Satan sought to tempt Jesus to rebel against His Father. Telling Jesus he didn't have to accept death.  If only he would choose to live he could have everything he ever desired. 

But, I believe, even if Satan had succeeded in overcoming God by influencing Jesus into rebelling, Satan's purpose would have remained set - to destroy Christ and thus to assume his own ultimate power over God. At least, that is how it seems Satan  sees it - that he is able to win against God.

But, if Jesus had rebelled, could he not have been able to destroy Satan?  Would he have set himself to  become the new challenger against God?

Praise the Lord we will never know what 'might have been' if Jesus has rebelled. 
Praise the Lord Jesus humbly yielded to his Father and became obedient unto death.
Thank you LORD, for your unimaginable, mighty and glorious gift to mankind.

Praise the LORD!