Posts Tagged 'perseverance'

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Admit Your Need

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Admit Your Need

John 15:1-9

Every year, we remember what God does for us, from the beginning of the plan (Jesus’ arrival in Bethlehem) to the end (His return). Through it all, we see the example that Jesus gives as He lived. As we move through Advent, this year we’ll be looking at specific steps that will help us live the Christian life every day.

Have you found the Christian life to be frustrating? Try saying “I can’t…”

Parts of Your First Step

* Produce Produce! ~ John 15:1-2

  • We are EXPECTED to bear fruit! But HOW? Three possible ways to do this:
  • Plan A. keep the Law; (spoiler alert: doesn’t work)
  • Plan B. cling to grace/justification by faith (because plan A doesn’t work), or
  • Plan C. mix A and B (which is just A repackaged)

* Profess Powerlessness! ~ John 15:3-6

  • 3 Jesus’ word cleanses us (like a branch end must be clean to be grafted)
  • 4 focus is US being IN Jesus, not Jesus being IN us! Difference? We are to come into HIS presence; we enter into HIS Kingdom; HE CALLS THE SHOTS IN HIS OWN HOME
  • 5 this means we are powerless; (cf Matt. 5.6 abject poverty of spirit)
  • 6 look at the difference: a branch on its own has no life CANNOT bear fruit; a branch connected to the Vine has life (but not its own) – and THAT Life makes us able to produce!

* Persist and Preserve! ~ John 15:6-9

  • 7 “and my words remain” far too often, Christians focus on “ask whatever”, and forget the necessity of REMAINING in Christ and RETAINING His Word
  • 8 Farmers: how do you KNOW when a crop is ready for harvest? Don’t you INSPECT the fruit? We give ribbons at the county fair for brag-worthy crops; that’s our goal, too: to be blue-ribbon servants all for God’s glory (GOD is the Grower; we’re the Grafted)
  • 9 Don’t just visit: STAY because of LOVE

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability… (Deuteronomy 8:17-18a)

Apply step 1: Dear Father, I come to You today to acknowledge that I am powerless. I am fundamentally powerless – period! I am also powerless over the effects of my separation from You. Apart from Your intervention in my life today, I do not have the ability to be Yours.

Prayer Practicum: Unceasing Prayer

Prayer Practicum: Unceasing Prayer Sermon Audio Here

Ephesians 6:18-20

New Yankee Workshop-Norm Abram had every tool; Dick Proenneke had a few hand tools, and made every other tool he needed. What tools do we use in prayer? Our challenge is to

Expand Our Prayer Toolbox With

Breath Prayer

  • Luke 18:13 is the example of the most well known “breath prayer”
  • Not formal, not fancy, but definitely got the job done.
  • In Psalm 130:1, the first verse reveals a gut-level response to life:
  • Ever feel like you’re so far lost, you won’t possibly find your way out? Cry out for help!
  • SW: Think of short phrases that you “send up as a flare” prayer; Resolve to use them!

Presence Prayer

Brother Lawrence, wrote, “the most excellent method he had found of going to GOD, was that of doing our common business without any view of pleasing men, and (as far as we are capable) purely for the love of GOD.”

  • Galatians 1:10 ~ When we serve, we remind ourselves: THIS IS FOR GOD.
  • Ephesians 6:5-6 ~ As we serve, we think of God’s presence, and we PRAY IN RESPONSE

“As he proceeded in his work, he continued his familiar conversation with his Maker, imploring His grace, and offering to Him all his actions.” ~ Brother Lawrence

  • If we were able to offer everything we did, no matter the context, as an offering to God, how would that affect our prayer life?

Steps Into Unceasing Prayer

  • The first step is outward discipline. A concert musician might make their performance seem effortless, but consider how much time was spent practicing scales. Ask yourself: what concrete disciplines could you use to commune with God in prayer?
  • The next step is mental discipline. What examples do you see in Psalm 119:9-16?
  • The third step is “splanchna” – gut-level change.
  • Consider Colossians 3:12 as an ongoing example for us ~

We MAKE THE CHOICE what we will “put on” in prayer. And we make this choice EVERY DAY.

“’O Lord, my Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth.’ The Pleiades and Orion sing your praise. Sparrows and chickadees mimic their song. All creation seems in harmony with you, the Master Conductor. All, that is, except me. Why? Why do I alone want to sing my own melody? I certainly am a stubborn creature. Forgive me.
I do desire to come into harmony with you more fully and more often. I do desire a fellowship that is constant and sustaining. Please nurture this desire of mine, which seems so small and tentative right now. May I someday become like the trees, which are ‘planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not whither. In all they do, they prosper.’ For Jesus’ sake. –Amen.”1

 
 
 
 
 
 

1. Richard Foster, Prayer, the Heart’s True Home, pg. 129

The Messiah’s Ministry: Persevering Through Prayer

The Messiah’s Ministry: Persevering Through Prayer Sermon Audio Here

Persevering Through Prayer


Matthew 26:36-46
Prayer is surrender–surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will. If I throw out a boathook from the boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God.

Jesus Shows Three Truths About Prayer:
* Troubled Prayer Is Normal
36-39 Pray when you’re upset; everyone gets upset
v36 wait with Jesus
v37 share burdens with close supporters
v38 express and share your concerns
v39 submit to God’s will

* Doubled Prayer is Helpful
40-43 Pray when you’re weak; ask for help
v40 realize that we will let each other down
v41 pray in midst of weakness
v42 let God know your desires
v43 Jesus finds us in our weakness (being weak doesn’t mean being lost)

* Stubborn Prayer Is Effective
44-46 Pray with perseverance; don’t give up
v44 be persistent in prayer
v45 be aware: the hour is at hand
v46 be “going with” Jesus

E.M. Bounds wrote, “The central significance of prayer is not in the things that happen as results, but in the deepening intimacy and unhurried communion with God at His central throne of control in order to discover a ‘sense of God’s need in order to call on God’s help to meet that need.'”

Prayer is not about getting from God; prayer is about being with God so that He can work with you.


Pastor Ed Backell

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