Where’s Your Closet?

Luke 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

As most of you know, I enjoy doing leather work. There is some thing about it that just allows me to clear my head and all my aggravations just seem to leave. In fact, I often find that as I work on a project I’m able to focus more on the things of God. Perhaps the concentration I put into the project clears out the “cob webs” just enough to allow the Word to really penetrate; I can’t really explain it much clearer than that. But I do know that much of the most profitable meditation time for me comes when I’m tooling a belt, for example.

Jesus set the example for us in His words and deeds: We need to get away from the “multitudes” of life, what ever they may be for each of us, and have alone time with God. Christ often went into the wilderness to pray. I know a preacher that gets some of his best alone time on his riding mower. And I have some of mine at my leather work bench. We are all different, with different situations, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. But we all need to find our “prayer closet” to get into and away from every one and every thing that might distract us. That intimate time with God is vital, no matter where your’s occurs at, to our spiritual life and walk of faith.

Comfort Zones

I happened across this prayer today. I can only speak for myself on this but imagine that it applies to most all of us: we need to get uncomfortable for God and in doing what He would have us to do, everyday not only on Sunday morning or during midweek service.

“Heavenly Father, I know that You are the only reason why I live. I will follow Your command to step out of my comfort zone, or leave behind what is familiar to me for I know that You will not leave me nor forsake me. Thank you Lord that You will provide everything that I need and continue to provide me as You have promised in Your Word.”

Matthew 7:7-8
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; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Whoops!

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Earlier today I was forwarded an email that contained a prayer request for a lady’s brother. I was asked to add the man to our prayer list. (Click this link to see it http://is.gd/fCVyR.)

What I normally do is to copy and paste the information into a new note. Then I edit it as needed, spell check it and then copy the final draft into a new email that I send blind carbon copy to all those on the list. Then it gets made into a post and put on our church blog. Normally, this goes smoothly but today I goofed it all up. The result was that the post was right but the emails were wrong: It appeared that I was requesting prayer for my brother (and I don’t even have one).

Anytime we get any information from any human source (news programs, the Internet, email, phone, even in person) it is subject to be incorrect. Scripture isn’t like that though. The verse referenced today says that all Scripture is inspired but it is really much more than that! The original Greek wording translates out more literally “breathed out by God”.

I’m so glad that in a fallen world where most everything can be questioned or suspect we have the infallible Word of God to guide us in all points of our lives! Take a few minutes today or this weekend and think about the Bible, God’s inspired Word, breathed out by Him, to us. And then thank Him for providing you with a Source you know is all true, completely correct, and for your benefit.

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Lost Dog

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

This afternoon one of our dogs went missing, after someone opened the gate on our fence, for several hours. I looked for him as best I could but my physical limitations and being sick really limited what I do as far as searching goes. After two hours of driving the neighborhood, walking as much as I could and hollering for the dog I was exhausted. I came home and began to pray at that point.

I knew that what I was asking, for God to deliver Jack home safely, was just a raindrop in the ocean compared to His power. After all, my God spoke the universe into existence, created all things and has moved mightily in my own life; this prayer was a pittance to Him compared to many that He has already answered.

Time drug on slowly. An hour later my wife came home and began to search the neighborhood. As she searched I moved inside the house to continue to pray. Another hour or more passed and I realized something: My flesh was warring against my spirit. My head kept trying to say it was hopeless, it had been too long, Jack wasn’t coming home. But my faith kept saying trust in God. It was a very real battle and I can’t really explain to you how it felt to know it was going on as it was.

Thank God after over four hours of being gone a neighbor several homes away, who I don’t know, brought a still-damp Jack home. He had fallen into her pool and had been treading water for God only knows how long. She said she went out to put chemicals in her pool and found him, got him out, dried him off and brought him to his address on the tags. She added she’d never have seen him if it weren’t for adding this chemicals and she hadn’t planned to do it today but for some reason did. I told her the reason was that she was used to answer my prayer.

I said all that to say this: Even though we are redeemed through the blood of Christ we are still going to have fights with our flesh. Though we are not of the flesh any longer we are still in the flesh. And as long as we live in this fleshly body we will have to fight against it, for it is still part of a fallen creation. So don’t let the battles drag you down; that’s what the devil would love. No, instead rejoice! The war is already won and as long as we keep up the fight one day we’ll experience the total victory!

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Red Mike

Galatians 6:10a As we, therefore, have opportunity, let us do good unto all men.

A few weeks ago my pastor gave a message on reaching out to someone (he used the fictitious character of Red Mike as his example) in our lives that though we might have interacted with for a long time we had not witnessed to them. It could be anyone: friend, family, neighbor, etc.

When I came across this story I thought it illustrated the “Red Mike” theory much better than I could in a short note. I hope it strikes a chord with you; it did me.

“A writer in the Sunday School Times tells how, during a season of revival, a friend was praying one evening for a certain unconverted neighbor. After this manner he prayed: “O Lord, touch him with Thy finger, Lord!” The petition was repeated with great earnestness, when something said to him: “You are the finger of God. Have you ever touched your neighbor? Have you ever spoken a single word to him on the question of salvation? Go now and touch that man, and your prayer shall be answered.” It was a voice from the throne. God’s servant arose from his knees self-condemned. He had known the man to be impenitent for a quarter of a century, yet he had uttered not a word of warning. Hundreds of opportunities had come and gone, but the supreme question of life had been set aside for such topics as “the weather,” “the latest news,” “politics,” “trade,” etc. His first duty as a Christian had been left undone.”

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Fully Committed

Matthew 4:19 And (Jesus) saith unto them, Follow me…

This morning our associate pastor, Bro. Adam Bowen, preached a message on Peter’s actions leading up to and following his betrayal of Christ. It has been on my mind all day and I wanted to share some of what I got from it with you.

Jesus told Peter after he was “converted” he was to “strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 23:32). The way this word is used in the text isn’t what we think of today as being converted: becoming a Christian. It meant fully given over to love and obey God, or fully committed. As we know, Peter certainly went on to be fully committed to God and He did great things through Peter.

Do you ever wonder why the church isn’t full? Why people are not being saved? Why prayers seem to go unheard? I think the answer is the same to us today as it was to Peter some 2000 years ago; our people aren’t fully committed to love and obey God.

Do you have areas in your life that aren’t fully committed and submitted to God? If we are honest with ourselves the answer has to be yes. We all get a little slack, a little weak or weary from time to time. It’s so important that we listen to the Spirit’s voice and admit it when this happens. The sooner we do, the quicker we can get that area back into God’s will by fully committing and submitting to Him. Just think of what the Church could accomplish if all of God’s children would fully commit!

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Eyewitness Account

Eyewitness Account

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty (2 Peter 1:16).

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:16-21

I witnessed it, watching in horror as a pick-up truck veered out of its lane and smashed into a friend’s car. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. The truck’s driver tried to deny his responsibility, but the police were quite interested in my firsthand, eyewitness account.

The apostles were eyewitnesses too. How wonderful to walk with Jesus, to dine with Him, to hear Him teach. They witnessed His miracles; they heard the voice of the Father affirming Jesus as His Son. They even saw Jesus raised to life, and then ascending to Heaven.

We encounter difficult days when our faith may be tested. We may begin to doubt in the darkness what seemed so sure in the light. It’s then that we can return to the beginning point of faith-to the clear, firsthand accounts of those who were with Jesus. After all, you just can’t argue with an eyewitness. Let Christ shine in your heart, no matter how dark your days may seem.

Father, thank You for the faithful witness of those who were with Jesus. May their testimony be a constant source of strength and faith for me. In the name of Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.

(Dan Nicksich is the senior minister of First Christian Church in Somerset, Pennsylvania.)

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