Tag Archives: Scriptures

DOES GOD SEEM ABSENT?

Divine Rehabilitation

by Violet Nesdoly (reprinted with permission)

Revive and Restore Us

“…Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts,
Cause Your face to shine
And we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:18b,19, NIV).

In Psalm 80 the writer Asaph Israel’s expresses misery away from God.

  • They feel that God has abandoned them (Psalm 80:2).
  • He seems angry and indifferent (Psalm 80:4).
  • There is lots of crying (Psalm 80:5).
  • They are the butt of their neighbours’ and enemies’ jokes (Psalm 80:6).

Then Asaph uses the vine imagery we see in other places (e.g. Isaiah 5:1-7). He describes how the hedges protecting the vine (Israel) are broken down so that passersby can help themselves to her. Wild animals trample, root out and devour her. She is eventually cut down and burned (Psalm 80: 12-13,16).

Does your heart resonate with Asaph’s description of Israel’s misery?

  • Does God seem absent (“Come and save us…“)?
  • Angry (“How long will You be angry / against the prayer of Your people?“)?
  • Are you grief-filled (“You have fed them with the bread of tears, / And given them tears to drink in great measure“)?
  • Do you feel vulnerable (“You have broken down her hedges…“)?

Such low times come to us for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we’re in a Job-like spot—suffering for reasons only God knows. At others we’re to blame. Like the prodigal son, we’re experiencing the consequences of our own folly.

Whatever the reason we’re in this spot, we can continue to pray along with Asaph to the climax of his prayer. We can present ourselves to God in repentance and submission as we petition Him to do His part in our rehabilitation, in whatever way we need it: physically, mentally, emotionally and especially spiritually: “Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand …. Revive us …. Restore us…” 

 Prayer:

Dear God, when I am in distress because of something I have done, help me to find my way back to you. When I am in distress for reasons I don’t understand, help me to trust Your wisdom. I can come back to You but I can’t revive myself. I need You to revive and restore me. Amen

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Violet Nesdoly

Violet freelances in several genres and has been published in a variety of print and online publications. Her articles, stories, and activities have appeared in Keys for Kids, Devotions for Girls, Devotions for Boys, Clubhouse, Guide, Primary Treasure, Partners, Pockets and others. She has also published two books of poetry and is an avid blogger. She is a member of Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and a professional member of The Word Guild.

HOW CAN APOSTLE PAUL PRAY FOR US?

Let the Apostle Paul Pray for You   

by Violet Nesdoly  (reprinted with permission)

How Can Apostle Paul Help Us Pray?

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV).

Don’t you just love it when someone prays over you, and for you, the kind of prayer quoted Philippians 1:9-11? This kind of prayer lifts our sights from our concerns to how we fit into God’s big picture. It casts a vision of what we strive toward. It reminds us that we’re part of something big, glorious, and eternal.

Wes Campbell in the Introduction to the “Apostolic Prayers” chapter of Praying the Bible: The Book of Prayers says:

“Have you ever listened to a father earnestly pray for his child? In the Apostolic Prayers you find the apostles—the early fathers of the church—praying for their spiritual children. Most of the Apostolic Prayers in the Bible were written by the Apostle Paul” – p. 187.

Philippians 1:9-11 make up one of those prayers prayed by Paul over the Christians in Philippi. Campbell notes the characteristics commonly found in such prayers. He observes that Apostolic prayers are:

  • Fatherly prayers. They express what a father wants for those he has birthed and is raising in the Lord.
  • Foundational prayers. As founders of the church, the apostles were setting things in order.
  • God-focused prayers. They are, in fact, so God-focused that they virtually ignore the demonic host.
  • Positive prayers…. Apostolic Prayers are not focused on fixing what we aren’t, but rather on fulfilling what we can be.
  • Prayers for the church. They bring before God the concern of the saved whether individuals, churches or regions”

How can we make the most of these rich prayers?

Campbell again:

“When praying these prayers for yourself, personalize them by changing the pronouns and ask that God would do these things in your own life. Then pray the exact same words over your friends and family, putting their names into the text. Do the same for your church and the other churches throughout your city or region. When you do this, you will be praying like the apostles prayed. You can even expect the same results!” – all quotes above from Wes Campbell, Praying the Bible: The Book of Prayers, pp. 187-191.

PRAYER:

Dear God, may my love overflow more and more and may I keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want to understand what really matters, so that I may live a pure and blameless life until the day of Christ’s return. May I always be filled with the fruit of my salvation—the righteous character produced in my life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Amen. (Philippians 1:9-11 personalized from the NLT version.)

Related articles

Violet Nesdoly

Violet freelances in several genres and has been published in a variety of print and online publications. Her articles, stories, and activities have appeared in Keys for Kids, Devotions for Girls, Devotions for Boys, Clubhouse, Guide, Primary Treasure, Partners, Pockets and others. She has also published two books of poetry and is an avid blogger. She is a member of Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and a professional member of The Word Guild.

ARE YOU PRAYING THE RIGHT WAY?

Are You Praying the Right Way?

by Laura Davis

“What is causing all the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it your desires battling inside you? You desire things and don’t have them. You kill, and you are jealous, and you still can’t get them. So you fight and quarrel. The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray!  Or you pray and don’t receive, because you pray with the wrong motive, that of wanting to indulge your own desires” (James 4:1-3)

 In my last post it was clear that James was dealing with many problems in the early church. Everyone wanted to be in charge. In chapter four he continues to address his concerns over all the quarrels and fights. He gets right to the point too.

These early Christians were far too worldly and far too childish! They sounded like they wanted to have one foot in the world and one foot out. Everyone seemed to be complaining about something and no one was satisfied.

So they got jealous and fought and quarrelled with each other. Hmm…sounds familiar doesn’t it?

People want something, perhaps a change in how things are run and who it is run by and before you know it there is division in the church.

How many of you today are having problems within your own church community?

What about the emergent church and the division it has caused?

It started innocently enough, but now they are so far away from teaching the Word of God that they are leading thousands astray. And all because of people who wanted their way and not God’s. It all seems to start the same way too.

The older folk can’t stand the loud rock ‘n roll music in the church and the younger folk can’t stand the old boring hymns. The old folk insist the hymns aren’t boring and have more substance to them than the repeated refrains that they hear in the newer songs. The younger ones disagree. So what happens? The leaders of the church decide it is time to step into the future and they cater to the young folk.

Unfortunately, by catering to one group, the other group is neglected and what happens then? They leave – by the droves. Unfortunately, now many churches are suffering horribly. Why? Because it is the elderly who were faithfully supporting the church financially. In the end everybody loses.

But what does James say?

 The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray! 

And the reason they don’t get what they ask for when they pray, is because they ask with wrong motives.

If you are praying for a revival in your church what are your motives? To change the hearts of the young or the old toward your way of thinking?

If you are praying for the right leadership in your church, what are your motives? To get your own way, or to glorify God?

If  you are wondering why your prayers aren’t being answered, examine your motives.

What do you really want? Is it in line with God’s Word and His will? If you are causing division within your church then you know you are not at the centre of God’s will. This is not the way of the Lord or His people.

Why are you praying and what are you praying for?

WHAT DO I DO WHEN I SEE A SNAKE?

Encounter with a Snake

by T. L Wiens

Encounter with a Snake

I stepped out my front door and found myself face to face with a rattle snake. The only reason I didn’t step on him was a quick last second action to step to the side so that I had to jump off the front steps to my house. We live in an area where rattle snakes aren’t supposed to be but here I was facing a coiled up snake with a very distinct tail. I started to pray for protection and help as to how to not disturb him anymore so we could both retreat to our safe corners.

This encounter reminded me of something—even home can sometimes not be a safe place. We need to be prepared for the enemy at all times and yet not filled with fear every time we move. The church is supposed to be a safe place, a second home amongst brothers and sisters but sometimes an enemy sneaks in. How do we face these types of encounters? The Bible has the answer. I Thessalonians 5:8-22 has some good advice for believers to help them when the enemy is staring them in the eye.

VS 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

VS 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

VS 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

VS 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

VS 12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

VS 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

VS 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

VS 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

VS 16 Rejoice evermore.

VS 17 Pray without ceasing.

VS 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

VS 19 Quench not the Spirit.

VS 20 Despise not prophesyings.

VS 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

VS 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

VS 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

VS 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

VS 25 Brethren, pray for us.

VS 26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.

VS 27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

VS 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

We need to study our Bibles, be obedient and as I look over this list, we need to communicate with God in prayer, praise, giving thanks for ourselves and our brothers and sister in Christ. When our hearts are in the right place, we will have the protection we need to avoid getting bitten by the enemy even when we encounter one.

Tammy Wiens

Tammy lives in Saskatchewan with her husband. They have four children. She enjoys gardening, walks along the beach and being on the farm. She has a passion for her faith, studying the Bible and prayer.

She has published two books; Where a Little Rain Comes Down and Making the Bitter Sweet. A short story, “May’s First Christmas” appeared in Christmas Chaos, a collection of stories about Christmas experiences that don’t make the fronts of Christmas cards. “Careful What You Whisper” is another short story about Tammy’s experiences after breaking her back. It can be found in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Visit T. L. Wiens for more information about Tammy’s books and workshops.

 

 

WHEN GOD SAYS DON’T PRAY

When God Says Don’t Pray

by T. L. Wiens

There are times when the Bible leaves me with more questions than answers. That is the case when I read  1 John 5:16 in the KJ which says:

“If any man sees his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.”

 There are times when we are not to pray and that time according to this verse is when someone commits a sin that leads to death. What is that?

God tells Jeremiah not to pray for the people.  It’s like He doesn’t want to hear petitions to plead their case and become compassionate. Jeremiah is true to God and He will hear His prophet’s prayer. But the people waste their time with their cries to God. Are there times when we also need to silence our prayers and let God judge?

Romans 1:24-25 tells us:

 “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

Are these the people that have committed a sin leading to death?

I don’t have many answers but there have been times when I’ve been led by the Spirit not to pray for a person. Even though I don’t understand the whole process God applies, I do know He is love. If He tells me not to pray, there is a reason and I accept He sees parts of the picture that I don’t.

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Tammy Wiens

Tammy lives in Saskatchewan with her husband. They have four children. She enjoys gardening, walks along the beach and being on the farm. She has a passion for her faith, studying the Bible and prayer.

She has published two books; Where a Little Rain Comes Down and Making the Bitter Sweet. A short story, “Vi’s First Christmas” will appear in Christmas Chaos coming out in October of 2010. Visit her website.

BLOG AT INSCRIBE

Stretching

I took a step again out of my comfort zone. I have written my first blog post for Inscribe. It is different blogging for your own blog than it is writing for someone else’s blog. More tension. But God gave me wonderful inspiration and I thank Him.

Please check out my post at Inscribe. I talk about stretching – my mind. Visit Stretching by Jan Cox.

Visit Inscribe Writers’ Fellowship.

Blessings,

Jan