Friday, December 28, 2012

Praying with Confidence

I John 3.21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

Too often we come before God with reasons why he shouldn't answer our prayers ringing in our ears. Often this is Satan's work of condemnation even as we approach the very throne of God. he knows that if he can errode our confidence and boldness we will be hesitant to ask for what we do not deserve. And of course, we do not deserve anything good- hence the concept of grace.

But there is another aspect to this lack of confidence in our approach to God. It is the voice of our own conscience condemning us for half hearted obediences and lazy pursuit of the holiness of God. The context of the verse above is the role of sin in the life of the believer. We are too often lazy in walking out God's holiness. Don't get me wrong, God is not demanding perfection. We will always need to lean upon his grace in our approach to God. But when we come before the Lord we must remember these things...

1) Jesus is our advocate. The finished work of Christ alone makes us worthy of approach to the throne of God. And we should approach with a holy boldness.

2) We are living for Jesus! This promise of "whatever we ask" is not for the half hearted , fairweather beleivers. It is for those whose heart does not condemn them. This is the definition of praying in faith!

3) Our obedience is never perfect but it is growing into a habitual pleasing of God.

Knowing the grace of God, knowing our lifestyle of faith, knowing the willingness of the Lord to hear our petitions... Let us approach with faith.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Knowing the Season

Prov 24:27 Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that build your house.

Wen my kids were little I determined that we would not sit inside all winter and hope for spring. So we went sledding in the winter, and skating and eventually the kids took up figure skating and hockey. Winters became a season of fun rather than staring out the window and wishing for warm weather.

The point of the proverb above is that certain seasons in life have specific priorities. When you don't know what to do, or you don't know what should take priority in your life it's likely that you have failed to discern the season. Too many Christ-followers find themselves in this place! Diligence and duty are misplaced or worse -disobedient- if you don't know the season that you are in.

And each season has, along with its priorities, stumbling blocks and hardships. For instance, the season of singleness  has the hardship of loneliness, yet Paul spoke of the opportunities for growth and ministry that happen when you are single. The season of child rearing is exhausting. Homework with the kids, shopping for school supplies, up all night with a sick child, etc. Yet some of our greatest impact happens in the shaping of young lives. The season of the empty nest has a seasonal priority of reconnecting with the spouse you live with but have grow apart from. But it can be trying snd frustrating too.

There are other seasons beside those of chronology. There are seasons of growing in bible knowledge, or developing in faith, or learning to love like Jesus, or developing ministry skills. Each season has its advantages and disadvantages . Don't grow weary chasing the wrong priorities. The season defines the priorities. And when it becomes arduous in that season remember that each season has its benefits too!

We can become weary of a season...we all do. But remember this...seasons DO change!