Sabtu, 24 Juni 2017

Realities of Prayer -A Privilege, Princely and Sacred - Immediate Connection with God - True Prayer

THE word "Prayer" expresses the largest and most comprehensive way to approach God. It gives importance to the ingredient of devotion. It is a relationship and interaction with God. It is enjoyment of God. It is access to God. "Supplication" is a more controlled and more intense form of prayer, accompanied by a sense of personal need, limited to the seeking in an urgent manner the supply for a pressing need.

"Supplication" is the very soul of prayer in the way of pleading for some one thing, very much needed, and the need intensely felt.

"Intercession" is amplification in prayer; it is going out in broadness and fullness from ones self for others. Primarily, it does not center in praying for others, but refers to the freeness, boldness and childlike confidence in praying. It is the completeness of trusting influence in the soul's approach to God, unlimited and unhesitating in its access and its demands. This influence and confident trust is to be used in prayer for others.

Prayer is always and everywhere an immediate and confiding approach to, and a request of, God the Father. In the prayer universal and perfect "The Lord's Prayer" [or as I like to refer to this prayer as "The Family Prayer"], as the pattern of all praying, it is "Our Father, Who art in Heaven." At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father." In His pastoral prayer, Jesus lifted up His eyes to Heaven, and said, "Father." Personal, familiar and fatherly was always His way of praying. Strong, instrumental, touching and tearful, was also His way of praying. Read these words of Paul: "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared" (Hebrews 5:7).

So it is the same elsewhere in the Holy Bible (James 1:5) we have "asking" put into view as a prayer: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and upbraiding [scolding somebody] not, and it shall be given him."

"Asking of God" and "receiving" from the Lord - direct request to God, immediate connection with God - that is true prayer.

The Holy Bible says in (John 5:13) this statement about prayer: "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."

In (Phil. 4:6) we have these words about prayer: "Be careful for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God."

Sabtu, 17 Juni 2017

Learn How to Pray - Don't Underestimate the Power of Prayer

Don't underestimate the power of prayer. When I talk about prayer, I mean talking to God just like the words on this page are talking to you now. I am not talking about saying The Lord's Prayer or a standard, memorized prayer.

The Lord's Prayer, taken from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter six and verses nine through thirteen, is a prayer that is used throughout many religious organizations. In my church, which is Presbyterian, we recite The Lord's Prayer during our worship service.

Before this prayer starts, Jesus says, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen." He also says, "This, then is how you should pray." Jesus didn't say - This is what you should pray.

If we only recite prayers, we are not having a two-way conversation with God. Learning how to pray means spending time talking and listening to God.

After hearing a sermon by my pastor called, "The Secret to Successful Prayer," my whole concept of prayer changed. I realized that I could talk to God just like I talked to my husband, a family member or friend. At any time and in any place, I could have a conversation with God. My new definition of prayer was talking to God, not using a Bible verse or a church written prayer, it was talking and building a relationship.

After discovering the power of prayer in my life as I began to talk to God more often, I assumed that everyone thought of prayer in the same way. I found that not to be the case. Here's a story to explain what I mean.

I held a wonderful position as Vice President of Marketing for a Christian organization. We had developed a state-of-the-art Internet and retail shopping program that when people signed up through their church and made a purchase a percentage of every sale would go back to support their church. I had a two person team that worked for me.

There were some issues going on within the company and the three of us didn't feel right about where things were headed. In an effort to do something about it, we decided to get together to pray. One of my team members was a Baptist minister and the other was of the Catholic faith. When we got together to pray my Catholic friend asked how we would pray. All she knew was the Lord's Prayer or other prayers that she said at church. The minister and I looked at each other and said, "We'll start."

So, he began to pray asking for guidance and offering up our concerns about the situation. Then I began to pray and offered up additional requests or duplicating with emphasis the on key points from the prior prayer. The door opened and the next thing we heard was crying. Our Catholic friend had left the room to grab some tissues. She walked back in and said, "I've never prayed like that. That was beautiful." My friend is a devout Catholic, but she had not prayed, or simply talked to God in the way that we prayed that day.

Communication is key to any successful relationship. Prayer is our communication with God and creating a relationship with Him. If you can talk or think, you can pray. It's that simple. Because it can be so simple, you may think that prayer is such a little thing. It's not. If you don't know what to do for someone or how to help someone pray for them. Prayer is powerful. God hears our prayers.

As in any relationship, persistence is needed in keeping the relationship strong. Our prayer life needs to be consistent and persistent. I have learned to be persistent in praying to God. To be successful in any endeavor in life, persistence is the key. Little children are the best examples of persistence. They will ask and ask and ask for something. They may not get what they want, but they will certainly get an answer. We are God's children, so we need to be persistent like a child in our prayers.

To learn how to pray, simply talk to God. Express your gratitude and give thanks for what you have - the air that you breathe, talents you've been given, family, friends. Welcome challenges to help you grow and to depend on God to see you through. Be persistent in talking to God. When you are finished, remain quiet for a few minutes to listen for guidance and insight. Pray for others.

Minggu, 11 Juni 2017

Prayer - How Must I Stand Before the God Who Created Me?

"No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."
John 14:6

When praying, we request an audience with God, thus we have to follow what our prophets and biblical leaders have done when we are in the presence of the most high.

When invited by a dignitary, we prepare ourselves and "spick and span" our attire for the occasion. We even prepare what to say and we do mind our language so as not to give an improper tone or voice. When in presence of a dignitary, we try to dress up properly, stand at attention or sit and listen. The same honor is also given to a judge in the court- we are silent and all other things that is outside of the courthouse does not exist. The same scenario are also practiced in important office meeting where are announcement or a petition will be heard and adjudicated by a very important person.

We need not attempt to compare or contrast such an occasion with that of appearing before the most high God in private audience. If the one is wonderful, the other is a thousand times more so. There can in reality be no comparison, only contrast; for God is beyond compare.

In prayer, we enter the presence of God, the audience chamber of the Most High. Not, as on earth, are we ushered into an outer reception room with hundreds of others, but into the throne room itself, the inmost sanctuary of God, for a private audience with the ruler of the universe. It is doubtful that even the greatest of the saints fully appreciate the honor thus bestowed. Moreover, this honor is granted the lowliest of men! Wonder upon wonders!

In private prayer, as in public worship, we often engage in communion with God as a matter of duty or custom and repeat certain phrases without thought as to their meaning. It is a pious practice learned from others or remembered from childhood. We cling to it as something we "ought" to do. We feel that if our prayers seem to do little good, at least they do no harm.

Such is a far cry from what God intends prayer to be. Prayer is not a common occasion for which no preparation is needed. It is an audience with God.

God's Plan for Man
We need to understand more about prayer than we do. Why does God want us to pray? He knows what we need, so why does He simply give us what we ought to have? What are the conditions upon which rests the answer? What may we expect from prayer?

In God's universal plan, men were intended to occupy a high position as co-workers with Him. To prepare them for this work they were to be subjected to certain tests to ascertain if they were worthy of their future high calling; if they stood these tests they were eventually to take their place as members of the household of God.

Such a plan involved a period of instruction and training that would demonstrate their capacity for learning the necessary lessons. During this time they would have the opportunity of deciding whether or not the life promised them by God as a reward for their work was worth the discipline necessary to meet the standard God has set for inclusion in His family. At any time they would be at liberty to terminate the agreement; and should they once more change their minds and wish to return to their allegiance to God, He would give them the opportunity until they at last had irrevocably settled the question for or against God. If their decision was against life, they would eventually return to the earth whence they came. If they chose life and passed successfully their period of instruction and the final examination, they would be invested with life everlasting and be officially installed as the sons of God.

In the beginning, there was open communication between man and his Maker. God was one with man, and the record states that He walked in the garden in the cool of the day. Prayer, such as we now know it, was unknown. Man did not fall to the ground when he talked with God. They communed one with the other as friends do and as Moses did later. "... the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend..." (Exodus 33:11) There was perfect fellowship, as between father and son, God talked with man, and man talked with God. After sin came in, this close fellowship ceased. Says God, "... but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2)

While sin made a separation between man and God, and no direct communication was possible, man was not entirely shut off from God. A way of approach was opened through Christ, and in His name, man could reach the ear of God. Jesus Christ declared, "... no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."( John 14:6). "... whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you." (John 15:16). According to this, the way to the Father, and the only way, is through the Son. Through Him, we may come, and whatever we ask in His name, we shall receive. This is the "new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh." (Hebrews 10:20).

This new way was first prefigured by the sacrifices to God in Old Testament times. These sacrifices were ordained to help man keep in mind that he was a sinner and as such deserved death, but that a way had been found by which he might come back to God and find access through the death of the sacrifice. Thus, we find that Cain and Abel brought their sacrifices to God, "in process of time." Genesis 4:3,4. In thus bringing a lamb from his flock, the sinner acknowledged his guilt and admitted that he was worthy of death. As he slew the animal, he demonstrated that he understood that the wages of sin is death and that he was not worthy of life. The sacrifice also showed his belief that God accepted a substitute in his stead, and that the lamb died that he might live. Thus, the sacrifice signified two things:

    man's acknowledgement of the justice of God in requiring punishment, and
    a demonstration of the mercy of God in providing and accepting a substitute to die in the sinner's place.

On the sinner's part, it was an act of faith for him to accept the provision and follow precisely the rules for the offering of the sacrifice.

The First Recorded Offering
In the first sacrificial scene mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 4:3-15),. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous" (Hebrews 11:4) "Unto Cain and to his offering He [God] had not respect..."(Genesis 4:5). The difference between the offerings of Abel and Cain lay in the nature of their sacrifices. "...Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord;" Abel likewise brought an offering of the fruit of the ground; but in addition "he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof." Verses 3,4. In bringing a lamb from his flock, Abel confessed that he had sinned and was worthy of death. He brought the lamb as a sin offering and asked God to forgive him and accept the lamb in his stead. Thus, he showed his faith in the true Lamb of God. The Bible declares that "the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect." Verses 4,5.

In their simplest form, sacrifices were embodied prayers. It was at the altar that men met God, and here He accepted or rejected their prayers as they were symbolized by the offerings brought. Each offering had in itself the elements of prayer: confession of sin symbolized by the sacrifice; acceptance of the sinner's prayer and repentance; and man's faith in both God's justice and His mercy. Sacrifices accepted meant sins forgiven. In each case where a sacrifice was brought and accepted, the record says, "It shall be forgiven him." Leviticus 4:26,31,35; 5:10,13, 16, 18.

The offering of the sacrifices brought vividly to mind the seriousness of sin and the great cost of transgression; and the slaying of the victim by the sinner was intended to bring him to the decision, "Go, and sin no more." If this was the result of the offering, the aim of the sacrifice and the sacrificial system had been accomplished.

The True Meaning of Sacrifice
To the informed Israelite it must early have become clear that the sacrifice of an animal could not take away sin, but that it was only an object lesson to make more vivid to the mind that sin meant death, and that what counted was the sinner's attitude of repentance and confession. David understood this clearly when he said, "I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me." "Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering." (Psalm 51:3,16). He then states God's real desire: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise."(Psalms 51:17). "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." (Psalm 34:18). To this the prophets agreed. See Micah 6:6-8; Isaiah 1:10-20; Jeremiah 6:20; 7:21-23; Amos 5:21-24.

When Israel came to regard sacrifices in themselves as efficacious and forget that what God demanded was a humble and contrite heart, God abolished the sacrifices as. He still retained, however, the vital elements - prayer, a humbling of the heart before God, a broken spirit, a contrite heart, and an intense desire to go and sin no more.

In the Old Testament times, it appears that prayer was more natural and unaffected than now. Men of old talked with God, and He answered them directly. Their prayers took the form of a conversion rather than of a formal petition. The prophets particularly appear to have been on speaking terms with God, generally getting their orders in dreams and visions, but also at times by word of mouth. While in some respects we may know more about religion than did the men of old, they knew far more about how to approach God. It is high time that we come back to communion with God and learn to "practice His presence."

"The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." (Exodus 33:11). From one such interview with God, Moses came down from the mount and was not aware that "the skin of his face shone" (Exodus 34:29) while he talked with God. This reflection of the glory of God was so strong that Aaron and the people "were afraid to come nigh him." Verse 30. Therefore, Moses "put a veil on his face But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with Him." Verses 33-35.

That God spoke with Moses face to face became so well known that even the Egyptians heard of it. Said Moses, "They have heard that Thou Lord art among this people, that Thou Lord art seen face to face, and that Thy cloud standeth over them, and that Thou goest before them, by daytime in a pillar of cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night." (Numbers 14:14). It would be well if God's people at this time would come so close to God that men and nations would hear of it. The work would then be finished speedily.

Minggu, 04 Juni 2017

All About Tithing (Tax) and Whether Tithing Is Required From Born Again Sons and Daughters of God

Had a request yesterday (today as I write is the 26th January 2011) from a dear reader who wanted clarification on Tithing and whether or not it is binding on Born of God (Born Again) believers who live under Grace. The answer to this is a plain and emphatic NO!!

However, before I expound upon the wrongs of regulated tithing under the New Covenant we need to understand tithing in relation to taxation.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is reported to have said: "The power to tax is the power to destroy", but Winston Shrout, an expert in commercial processes and remedies put this more succinctly when he said: "The power to tax the principal is the power to destroy." This means, that in the Old Covenant days of Ancient Israel at the time of the Judges when the Levites (the Priesthood) (they had no king in Israel at this time) collected the tithe from the people of Israel they only ever required a tithe (a tenth) on the increase of the people's abundance. This can best be described by this example:

A farmer or husband-man has 100 head of cattle and during the season the cows produce 50 calves so the farmer has made an increase of 50 head of cattle. This would mean a tithe of 5 head of cattle being a tenth of the increase of the fifty calves would be due. Notice, though, how his original 100 head of cattle, The Principal, are not tithed upon or not taxed, they remain untouched. Can you see the equity and justice within this system?

Now if we take our modern world with regard to taxation, which is just the tithe by another name, and if we are employed in a job, are our wages an increase in our wealth and/or an increase in our abundance? In other words, should we be paying tax or a tithe on our wages? Not sure? Let's put it another way. What did you get your wages for? Sitting at home whilst watching TV, playing computer games or cards? If you had been, your 'wages' would then have been an increase and a tithe or tax due. Now, if you were paid your wages for a week's work or labour, then this was an exchange, a payment for your hire, not an increase. You laboured for a week and in exchange for that effort you were paid. This, by Biblical Godly standards, is not an increase at all and had you lived at the time of the Judges in Ancient Israel you would not have been tithed or taxed on your wages. Am I therefore saying that income tax is unlawful and extortion? Yes, without a shadow of doubt. Only corporate profits should be taxed where an increase can be shown to have taken place. Taxation on private income is a tax or tithe on The Principal and can only result in one thing - the destruction of The Principal, and who is The Principal, you are? Are you being taxed on your private income? If you can answer yes to this then you are being financially oppressed and destroyed.

Right, let's get back to the subject at hand and the 'churches' that request or even demand a tithe. Look, folks, there are a thousand and one 'churches' out there that will have you on their money grabbing tread mills and quicker than a heart beat, if you let them, so be on your guard. If you are already unfortunate enough to be a member of such a 'church' then challenge the minister or pastor to repent immediately and if they won't hear or listen to you then get away from them as fast as you can and kick off the dust from beneath your shoes as you skedaddle down the road like the Road Runner (I used to enjoy that cartoon) and don't look back. Always remember, regulated tithing is blasphemous Old Covenant law keeping or Judaism at its worst, and that's it. That's all there is to it, nothing else, and this is all you need to know.

In complete contrast to this Yashua Messiah stated quite plainly that The Father loves a cheerful giver and this is the heart of the matter:

2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (KJV) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

"Every man according as he purposeth in his HEART." Purposeth here meaning "to choose for oneself." Look, dear people, this is a heart thing and/or a free will choice thing, not a law thing. Giving should be voluntary i.e. something we want to do, willingly, not something we have to do or are put under pressure to do, and so it is with all things appertaining to willingly following Yashua Messiah under His Glorious Grace, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. The Commandments or The Law were nailed to the cross.

Again, The Father loves a cheerful giver and this works both ways, 'cos if it happens that you are not glad about giving or not feeling cheerful, at any particular time, then it's best that you do not give, and this is OK, for The Father is not going to strike you dead on the spot for having an off day or three. You must wait until you are in a better frame of mind or until your heart is in it and you are sure you want to give and not grudgingly, as Paul states, and that in a nut shell is all you need to know about giving or tithing, if you still want to call it that - I would rather not.

Now before I finish this article we must look at the most famous giver of all time i.e. The Widow with her mites in the Temple and we all know the moving story don't we? If not, then here it is:

Luke 20:46-47 (KJV) Beware of the scribes, (Cain's lawyers and attorneys) which desire to walk in long robes (black robes - Cain's cardinals, bishops, vicars and priests), and love greetings in the markets (back slapping corrupt politicians and banksters), and the highest seats in the (Westminster and the House of Lords) synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; (The Guildhall in The City of London) 47 Which devour widows' houses, (through Admiralty de-facto civil courts, through unlawful usury - money at interest, inflation and taxation) and for a shew make long prayers (the outward display of the self-righteousness of above mentioned criminals - pirates): the same shall receive greater damnation. (All brackets mine)

Luke 21:1-4 (KJV) And he looked up, and saw the rich men (oligarchal global corporate barons) casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a Truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. (In the Kingdom the first shall be last, and the last shall be first) (All brackets mine.)

OK, the main thing to understand here is this, and I am not saying it to diminish what the poor lady gave, but we have to understand that she didn't give ALL that she had, but she did give ALL of what little abundance she had, so we need to get this Truth into the picture here and firmly in our minds or otherwise we're forever fuelling the self-flagellators and the "Poverty is a Christian Virtue" brigades. This means, in other words, that she wasn't going to starve that day, or go without the basic necessities of life. Never-the-less what she did give was still far greater than all the self-important puffed up wealthy so and so's present who no doubt had acquired all their gains by thieving it off the less fortunate - people like the poor widow.

However, the main issue here is still the same and it's the issue of choosing willingly and cheerfully to give and that's exactly what the widow did. No one forced her to give her two mites; she gave them voluntarily and willingly. How do we know that? easy, because Yashua Messiah would have known her thoughts. Had she been doing it just to obey The Law he would have ignored her as being no different to the wealthy ones there, for that's what they were doing i.e. Tithing according to The Law and thereby showing off how righteous they thought they were. Remind you of anyone do they?