Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Cross Proof Of God's Love

While shopping at a local thrift store yesterday, I heard a child say "look mother a sword. She said that's not a sword it's cross. He said "oh but I can pretend it's a sword" So he walked out of the isle  pretending it was sword, stabbing and jabbing an invisible opponent.

Such is the Christian life. The cross is our sword it is the precious weapon given to us by our God. This weapon defeats every enemy known to mankind. However, we must be mindful of it and use it on a daily basis, moment by moment, minute by minute, second by second.  Although our enemies are invisible we can tell when they are near by what we think or feel. We can tell when they are around or they've been around by our circumstances. Yet, because of the cross we can defeat them and reverse/overcome negative circumstances. Let's take a moment to look at what happened when someone was crucified.  James Strong and John McClintock Cyclopedia says:

Nails, being driven through parts of the hands and feet which are full of nerves and tendons (and yet at a distance from the heart), create the most exquisite anguish.
The exposure of so many wounds and lacerations brings on inflammation, which tends to become gangrene, and every moment increases the poignancy of suffering. 
In the distended parts of the body more blood flows through the arteries than can be carried back into the veins: hence too much blood finds its way from the aorta into the head and stomach, and the blood-vessels of the head become pressed and swollen. The general obstruction of circulation which ensues causes an internal excitement, exertion, and anxiety more intolerable than death itself.
Death by crucifixion (physically considered) is therefore to be attributed to the sympathetic fever which is excited by the wounds, and aggravated by exposure to the weather, privation of water, and the painfully constrained position of the body.
Imagine someone voluntarily going through such a painful death for you.
Paul said,"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)
What things do you need,healing, release from mental bondage or oppression, deliverance from drugs or alcohol, relationships restored, financial intervention? If he suffered and died on a cross for you to deliver you from the power of sin, will he not willingly help you with such matters.
Scripture says, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:4- 6
The cross is proof of God's Love for us. Have faith in Jesus Christ and the work of the cross to overcome your enemies. Starting today, plan to use the cross in your daily life, declare its benefits boldly in action and deed. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Why God Ignores Some People's Prayers

Scripture says, If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. Psalms 66:18 (NKJV). 

I believe parents may understand this passage because persistent children may ask for something more than once (let's say he or she continues to ask for ice cream after being told no or wait until after dinner). After the given response the child continues to ask for ice cream but instead of saying no or later, the parent responds with silence. It's as if he or she doesn't hear the child. It's not that the parent can't hear the request he or she simply ignores the request.

Perhaps God is the same way, it's not that He can't hear our request, he just responds with silence until we do what He has told us to do. Peter instructed husbands to treat their wives properly so their prayers would not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7). He goes on to say if we want to love life and see good days we should avoid evil because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers. (1 Peter 3:10-12).

Although we may be involved in sin God can hear our prayers but He may not grant our requests. He does this out of love. He does this to encourage us to turn back to him and away from the darkness. 

John Gill says, "the idea is, that in order that prayer may be heard, there must be a purpose to forsake all forms of sin." Remember sins means to miss the mark. We miss the mark of the commandment to love when we are in sin (whether it's loving God with all our heart or loving our neighbor). 

Gill notes the principle in the following:

(a) to secret purposes of sin; to sinful desires, corrupt passions. and evil propensities;
(b) to acts of sin in individuals, as when a man is pursuing a business founded on fraud, dishonesty, oppression, and wrong;
(c) to public acts of sin, as when a people fast and pray Isaiah  58:1-14, and yet hold their fellow-men in bondage; or enact and maintain unjust and unrighteous laws; or uphold the acts of wicked rulers; or countenance and support by law that which is contrary to the law of God."

Remember sin doesn't have to maintain a hold on you because Jesus died to rescue you from Satan's power.  (1 John 3:8, Acts 26:18, Colossians 1:13). 

The choice is yours serve the God of life (John 17:2) and have your prayers answered or serve the god of death while enjoying the temporary pleasures of sin (John 10:10) and have God ignore your prayers. 

I hope you will choose life and live. Choose life and have your prayers answered in the affirmative.


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