Lately praying has been a struggle. What's that all about?
Over the Independence Day weekend I visited my mother in northeastern Pennsylvania. On Sunday morning Laurie and I went to a nearby church called High Point. The assistant pastor preached a sermon on . . . you'll never guess . . . Paul's prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 3. [My regular readers will understand.]
We "charis-minded" Christians tend often to focus on the Spirit's gifts in place of the blood of Christ. Perhaps we think we'll win friends if we talk about power rather than weakness, about "overcoming" rather than humiliation. But, as the old song says, "there is power in the blood." And as Paul says, "When I am weak, He is strong."
Speaking of Ephesians, in chapter 2 Paul says that the blood of Jesus has removed the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile, bringing reconciliation and one-ness. My question: what about the dividing wall between Christian and Christian? Even in Christian marriages! Which reminds me, of course, that James posed the same question long ago. "What causes fights and quarrels among you?" His answer, in a nutshell: "Friendship with the world." Look it up. [James 4:1-6]
BTW: When we read Biblical passages like this one -- "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" -- do we instinctively think up examples of "the proud" other than ourselves? Well, I do. Which pretty much puts me in the camp of the proud rather than the humble.
Meekness is dangerous. You get stepped on. Who would willingly choose meekness over strength? Given the choice, I mean. No, we don't choose it, we become it, by the grace of God and through the inworking of His Spirit.
Just a reminder: it's not for your sake that God gives you the Spirit. It's for His own. Not for your sake does He save you from the mirey pit, but ultimately for the sake of His glory. That's good to remember.
I've just discovered the blog of Matthew Willey. He's a young fellow from Greenville, NC. Here are a couple of quotes:
God's presence rocks. We can talk about it, study it, sing about it or whatever, but we must SPEND TIME IN HIS PRESENCE. That is what makes the difference. Spend time with God. Even if you're not "doing anything". Just come to God and say, "God, here I am". Put on worship music if you want, or instrumental music, or no music. If you just seek God first, He will lead you to pray or read your Bible or whatever He wants. Be patient. Find God again. Get out of the rut! Break the cycle or life. Seek God. It's worth it.
That's always good advice. Now check this out:
Matthew, that rocks!
I don't want Your name to be my spiritual 911.
I don't want Your name to be a keyword to gain spiritual power.
I don't want Your name to be on my tongue in vain repetition.
I don't want to pray "in Jesus' name" and not actually think about You.
I want your name to be my best friend's name.
I want your name to bring a tear to my eye... every time.
I want to know the One behind the name - the heart that bring my help and the love that brings the power.