Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How to PRAY on the GO ?

NOTE:=Pray without ceasing, says Apostle Paul in 1 Thess 5:17...Jesus told parable in Luke 18:1 to teach them that they should always pray and not lose heart. How to do this? This abstract I came across offer some useful suggestions. Try them, you may find you prayer life jump up a notch and come alive. Know that prayer is not about doing an activity; it is more about your heart communicating to your God. Be blessed !

How to Pray on the Go
Whitney Hopler

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Mark Littleton's new book, The Ten-Second Prayer Principle: Praying Powerfully as You Go, (Howard Publishing, 2007).

Don't feel guilty if you don't have long stretches of time to send lengthy prayers to God. He hears the short prayers you offer throughout your day -- like while you're driving, exercising, working, or eating -- and He'll answer them, too.

Incorporating brief prayers into your daily life will put you in frequent contact with God, which will make your prayer life rich and full, no matter how busy you are.

Here's how you can pray as you go through your daily life:

Recognize the opportunities. Know that everything that comes your way is an opportunity for you to pray about something. Realize that tremendous power you have to change the world for the better through your prayers -- and decide to use that power to the fullest. Ask God to give you His perspective on the people and situations you encounter so you'll be motivated to pray for them.

Don't stop. Think of prayer as something you can do continuously, without stopping. See it as ongoing communication with God. Remember that God is always present with you. Aim to check in with Him often through prayer.

Be natural. Understand that prayer should come as naturally to you as breathing does. Don't worry about trying to follow any type of formula for prayer; instead, simply pray in the way that works best for you at a particular time. Be assured that God will hear your prayers even if you don't go to a special place, kneel, close your eyes, speak your prayer aloud, use elaborate language, or pray for a certain amount of time. Relax and focus just on communicating with God in whatever way works best for you.

Be creative. Realize that prayer shouldn't be boring; it should be enjoyable and interesting. Rather than praying about the same old subjects over and over, pray about new topics, as well. Instead of using the same format for your prayers, mix up the order and change the style for variety. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you pray, so the process will be exciting.

Pay attention. Notice the abundance of opportunities you have to pray all around you, and make a habit of praying as you encounter various needs from people and situations in your life. Instead of just praying about what's routinely on your mind, make time to pray every time you interact with someone who needs God's touch or deal with something that could benefit from God's intervention. Know that the more you pray, the more God will answer and work in the world. Seek to become a significant force for change in your community.

Listen for the Spirit's prompting. Expect the Holy Spirit to nudge you to pray about people or situations you may never have thought of on your own. Whenever that happens, respond right then, praying while the need is fresh in your mind. Then enjoy watching how God answers your prayers.

Use information from the media. Whenever a news story catches your attention, pray about it. Remember that, while you probably don't personally know the people involved, they're real people in real situations that need God's help. Intercede using the specific details you've learned from the news story, asking God to transform the people's hearts and impact the situations according to His will. Rather than assuming you know the best outcome (such as in the case of a political election), simply pray for God's will to be done. Be assured that by praying about world events, you're tapping into real, unlimited power that can change the world for the better in powerful ways.

Shift your prayers. Get out of the rut of praying for the same old subjects over and over again. As you go through each day, deliberately shift from one topic to another so you can touch on a wide variety of subjects, like: family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, the government, the war on terror, people of other religions, your church, your small group, your city or county, your children's teachers and classmates, your upcoming vacation, moral issues, upcoming legislation, and the criminal justice system. Be creative, exploring new ground as you pray.

Make lists. Use lists of various topics to pray about, such as: a list you write of your personal needs, prayer lists you receive from your church or charities or missionaries that detail their current needs, and Bible verses you want to pray. Consider praying through your lists while taking a leisurely walk. After you pray through your lists, keep them for a while to remind you of what you've been praying and notice how God has answered.

Use your downtime. Make the most of the downtime you have each day, by praying in situations like: standing in line, waiting in a doctor's or dentist's office, sitting in traffic, waiting to be served in a restaurant, cleaning up after a meal, mowing the lawn or working in the garden, listening to music, trying to fall asleep, taking a bath or shower, sitting at the computer, watching your kids play, taking a walk, or watching television. View every moment of downtime you experience as an opportunity to pray.

Pray about whatever comes at you. Whenever life throws circumstances at you for which you're not prepared, make prayer your first response to them. Instead of letting yourself become overwhelmed, wasting time and energy worrying, or trying to solve problems in your own limited strength, pray when you first encounter challenges to release God's power into those situations right away.

Ask, seek, and knock. If you're asking God about something, frame your request in terms of biblical principles to make sure you're asking according to His will. Seek the answer to your prayer by taking action after you ask. For example, if you've asked God to help you become more physically fit (which aligns with the biblical principle of taking care of the body He gave you), seek the answer to your prayer by exercising regularly. Don't just wait around for God to magically drop the answer in your lap without you doing anything that will move you closer to your goal. Keep knocking on God's door persistently while you wait for Him to answer your prayers; don't give up.

Pray the Scriptures. Read the Bible often and meditate on the passages that speak the most powerfully to you. Memorize them, so the Holy Spirit will remind you of them whenever you need to apply their truths. When you pray, do so on the basis of what God has already promised or commanded in the Bible, since that will make your prayers line up with God's will. Don't limit yourself just to the Scripture passages you've memorized; whenever you read some verses that speak to something you're currently dealing with, turn that passage into a prayer by personalizing it. Realize that the better you know the Bible, the more specific, wide-ranging, and fervent your prayers can become.

Create a prayer file. Write down various prayer requests on index cards, using one card per request and noting: the nature of the request, the date, and where the request came from. File each request in the appropriate section of your file: things you intend to pray about daily, weekly, and monthly (divide the monthly section into 30 slots so you can pray about a different request each day of the month). Whenever you discover how God has answered a certain prayer request, record the answer on the corresponding card and move the card to a new file -- one for answered prayers.

Pray about small things as well as large things. Remember that nothing is too small to pray about; everything is significant to God because it's a part of your life and He loves you deeply. So go ahead and pray about whatever thoughts and feelings occur to you and whatever experiences you have. Don't hold back. Make a habit of connecting to God through prayer constantly.

Expect God to answer. Understand that God will eventually answer all of your prayers, but sometimes not in the ways you predict. Be prepared for surprises. Trust God to hear and respond to each prayer -- no matter how brief -- in the absolute best ways for you and all concerned. Look forward to what God will do!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

An Excellent Summary:The Bible in 50 words.

It’s amazing how simple some things really are. Take the Bible, for instance. At first glance, it’s an intimidating book filled with strange names, places we’ve never heard of, books we can’t pronounce, and verses we don’t understand. Even people who have read the Bible for years still have trouble understanding parts of it. Sometimes it helps to remember that the message of the Bible is not very complicated.

A friend sent me an e-mail containing “The Bible in 50 words.” That wouldn’t seem possible because the Bible is such a big book. But here it is.

God made
Adam bit
Noah arked
Abraham split
Jacob fooled
Joseph ruled
Bush talked
Moses balked
Pharaoh plagued
People walked
Sea divided
Tablets guided
Promise landed
Saul freaked
David peeked
Prophets warned
Jesus born
God walked
Love talked
Anger crucified
Hope died
Love rose
Spirit flamed
Word spread
God remained.

I don’t know who wrote that, but whoever it was did a fine job. You can quibble with what is left out—and you can ponder certain phrases such as “Saul freaked,” which isn’t entirely clear, but no matter what it means, it rhymes quite well with “David peeked,” which is in fact entirely correct.

I like it for a second reason that goes beyond the cleverness factor. It reminds us that the deepest truths are actually quite simple. A few years ago the editor of the student newspaper at a local high school called me. She said she was interviewing local clergy and wanted to know what Christmas means to me. I told her that it all comes down to one simple fact:
At Bethlehem a baby was born who was God in human flesh. This is the central truth of the Christian faith—that God became a man at Christmastime. Everything else we believe derives from that essential truth. With that in mind, let’s return to “The Bible in 50 words.”
Here is the life of Christ in just 12 words:

Jesus born
God walked
Love talked
Anger crucified
Hope died
Love rose

Not bad. Not bad at all. You can always add to that, but as it stands, it’s an excellent summary of the greatest story ever told—the life of Jesus Christ on the earth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why Christains Suffer??

Reflections on Why Christians Suffer Losses

By John Piper

When huge pain comes into your life—like divorce, or the loss of a precious family member, or the dream of wholeness shattered—it is good to have a few things settled with God ahead of time. The reason for this is not because it makes grieving easy, but because it gives focus and boundaries for the pain.

Being confident in God does not make the pain less deep, but less broad. If some things are settled with God, there are boundaries around the field of pain. In fact, by being focused and bounded, the pain of loss may go deeper—as a river with banks runs deeper than a flood plain. But with God in his firm and proper place, the pain need not spread out into the endless spaces of ultimate meaning. This is a great blessing, though at the time it may simply feel no more tender than a brick wall. But what a precious wall it is!

As a father, I want to help our twelve-year-old daughter Talitha settle some things with God now, so that when little or big losses come—and they will come—her pain will be bounded and will not carry her out, like a riptide, into the terrifying darkness of doubt about God. So as we read God’s word together twice a day, I point out the mysterious ways of God.

Two days ago, we read this from the lips of Jesus to the church at Smyrna in Revelation 2:10:
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

I asked Talitha, “Is Jesus stronger than the devil?” “Yes,” she said. Indeed, I added, ten million times stronger. It’s not even close. In fact, as Mark 1:27 says, “He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” So all Jesus has to do is say to the devil, “You shall not throw my loved ones into prison,” and the devil will not be able to do it. Right, Talitha? Right.

So, Talitha, why does Jesus let the devil do this? Why does he let the devil throw his precious followers in jail and even kill some of them? She shook her head. I said, well, let’s read it again slowly, and you tell me the reason that the Bible gives. Slowly, “Behold the devil is about to throw some of you into prison . . . that . . . you . . . may . . . be . . . tested.” So why does Jesus let this happen, Talitha? “That they may be tested.” That’s right.

And what is being tested? The answer is given in the way Jesus describes what passing the test looks like. He says, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Faithfulness to Jesus is being tested. Will his loved ones keep trusting him? Will they keep believing that he has their best interest at heart? That he is wise? That he is good? That he is stronger than all?

So, Talitha, there are a thousand things that God is doing every time something painful happens to you. Most of these you do not know or understand. Job, Joseph, and Esther did not know what God was doing in their losses. But there is always one thing you can know God is doing when pain comes into your life. This is something you can settle with God ahead of time. He is always testing you.

If the test leads to your death, as it did for some of the Christians in Smyrna, Jesus wants you to know something ahead of time. “You will receive the crown of life.” That means he will raise you from the dead and will crown you with the kind of everlasting joy in his presence that will make up for your loses ten-thousand-fold. “Crown” signifies majestic, royal restoration and exaltation.
James says the same thing:

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Passing the test means loving God to the end.

So settle it, Talitha. Loss and pain are coming into your life, but Jesus is infinitely stronger than the devil. So even if the devil is causing it, as he did in Smyrna, Jesus is letting it happen. And he always has his reasons—more than we can know. One of those reasons is always testing, namely, the testing of our faith and our love for him.

We cannot answer every why question. But there is always this answer: My faith is being tested. And our Lord never wastes his tests. Whether we believe this truth is, in fact, part of the test. In the mind of Jesus, the promise that he would give them the crown of life was enough to sustain the Christians in Smyrna. I pray that it will be enough for Talitha—and for you.

Trusting the wisdom and goodness of Jesus in loss, Pastor John

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wait for the Lord; Wait On the Lord.

Note:= Useful Verses to help us understand the practice and reason for waiting upon the Lord. Perhaps our modern fast pace of life, the 24/7 work culture, dont lend itself to such a mindset of just waiting and not be doing something. How can we be listen to God's still small voice when we are chasing so fast and so loud after the voice of this world? Perhaps we have learned the world's way of how to take control of our own life, how to be so effective, that we do not know how to surrender and be weak and let God have control. May these verses rekindle our desire to know our God as we are known by Him !

Ps 25:5 NKJV Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Ps 25:21 NKJV Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.

Ps 27:14 NKJV Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait , I say, on the LORD!

Ps 37:7-8 NKJV Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret — it only causes harm.

Ps 37:9 NKJV For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.

Ps 37:34 NKJV Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

Ps 59:9 NKJV I will wait for You, O You his Strength; For God is my defense.

Ps 62:5 NKJV My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.

Ps 69:3 NKJV I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Isa 30:18 NKJV God Will Be Gracious

Therefore the LORD will wait , that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.

Isa 40:31 NKJV But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Isa 49:23 NKJV Kings shall be your foster fathers, And their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, And lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD, For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me."

Isa 30:15 NKJV For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." But you would not,