We live in a culture of death but God wants to transform it into a culture of life.
Although none of us ever want to be in that place in life, some of us have sometimes been there. Never give in. Never give up. The blind man that called out to Jesus as He passed by, pressed by the crowd; that's who we want to be when in those difficult times.
Dwight L. Moody, while working in Chicago, was confronted by a man, an atheist, who challenged him to a debate about the reality of Jesus. He accepted, except for one condition. The man had to bring ten people whose lives had been transformed by what he believes and Moody would bring 100. The man declined. He said he couldn't.
Do we truly want our lives do be different, to have life that we never knew we could have?
For those of us who have gone through devastating circumstances, to the point where we really didn't think our heart could take much more without failing, these are the times when we need real comfort, the kind of comfort that can bring back complete rest in our hearts.
This week we're looking at Peter in the courtyard. It's a story we've all heard so often that the tendency is to not listen too closely. And that ends up being the central issue, doesn't it. Focusing on ourselves, and then, when the pressure is on we react knee-jerk style. This isn't about focusing about others. It's about focusing on ourselves in a different way. Getting quiet, learning to talk to our Living Lord, learning to listen and being willing to be honest in self assessment.
...and they do more times than not in most of our lives. Life is supposed to be long periods of peace interrupted only be brief periods of difficulty. At least that's the way we hope. What is our immediate response in tough circumstances. Let's dig in to find out the best way.
"Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz, my friends all drive Porsches I must make amends..." Janis Joplin's mockery of prayer was well deserved and, for the most part these days, still has some merit. Praying for your sleeping partner to "come to the Lord" probably isn't going to work out real well either. Using the power of prayer to bless your sinful lifestyle has never proven to get results.
While Joplin was tongue in cheek, the second example isn't. Does God answer prayer; absolutely. Does He honor willful ignorance of His way of living life while honoring our requests at the same time. Don't think so. We've got to get serious with Him if we want Him to get serious with us.
I know lot of people who truly do know quite a bit about God. But knowing God really is a different deal. I know a lot about (pick a famous person and insert) but don't know him/her, never had a conversation, and certainly Famous Person doesn't know I even exist, let alone care. But in the case of THE Famous Person, do you truly truly really really want to know Him, and know Him in a very personal way. That means having real conversation, challenging Him with what really counts inside you and then having Him actually respond. And not only responding but then DOING something in you. Beginning to make changes in you that you know didn't come or couldn't come from within yourself, mainly because you really know yourself and realize those changes couldn't have come from within you. A power and ability that somehow you truly know you didn't have.
This all begins when you realize that Elohim-Adoni-Yahweh-Jehovah Jireh (and a few more names we haven't yet discussed) made promises regarding you. Promises that He intends to keep. But promises you have very possibly not yet "called Him out on" as the expression goes.
Go ahead. Call Him out on those promises He's made regarding you. Let's keep listenting.
When things go south in a person's life, it's always a real gift to have friends who are there to stand beside you, friends with whom you've built a great relationship over time. Spending time in conversation, getting to know them and they you; experiencing circumstances of all kinds with them. That's the stuff of which great relationships are built, one-on-one. You're not doing it so you've got someone you can depend on when trouble lands at your front door, but it is wonderful to know they're there. So, let's talk about conversation with your Invisible Friend.
This is not algebra, but if it were it would be more accurate to say the power of 2 raised to infinity, because that's exactly what's happening when we seek the Source that holds unlimited power and authority. Jesus said where two or more are gathered together in prayer that He is in their midst.
Today we're not getting into the content of our prayer, whether we're asking for the right things or whether our prayers get answered when and how we want them. The point is that God guarantees He is listening when two bind together to address Him. That is incredible and we've got to start getting that instilled deeply into our corporate lives as followers of Jesus.
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