Thursday, February 28, 2019

Pray - Delay - Hooray

Everyone wants to know how things work...
And when it comes to prayer, they certainly do!

There are a couple of things that are important I think to remember and then I want to encourage you with a story and thought to wrap this up...

God designed prayer as part of our relationship.
God is in heaven, and you are on earth - not really a startling revelation I know!
But we need a way of communicating until get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
God created prayer kind of like Alexander Bell invented the telephone. So we can talk.
Yes I know it takes some time to get used to and build some confidence in, but it is worth connecting with Him this way!

God is always listening.
Scripture reminds us from beginning to end, that while God is in heaven, He is not unaware of your place in the world, what is happening to you and the things you want to say to Him.
He cares about the words you speak to Him so much that He collects them...

God is always responding.
Someone famously said many years ago that God always responds to our prayer with yes, no or wait.
While that is very simplistic, it is certainly true I believe.
God doesn't expect you to pray just for some religious observance.
Prayer is the key to seeing God move miraculously in any and every life.

Here is my story...
A man called Daniel prays one day. Felt moved too in some way.
21 days later an angel appears to him and says these words...
12...“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” Daniel 10:12-14 niv

This is this whole pray - delay - hooray I titled this with.
When you pray, God hears and He responds in the very best way for you.
Sometimes there is a perceived delay here on earth, but God has not delayed!
The moment you pray God responds!

So do not give up my friend!
Please be encouraged!
Pray, believe and expect.
Your answer is already on its way!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Power of 'Specific Prayer'

I have just recently realised I had done something in regards to prayer that works and had forgotten its power.

Late last year I prayed for financial help from God to help pay for something. Something that was not within my ability to do even if I tried and scrimped and saved.
Out of what seemed like nowhere someone offered to give me money towards this thing, and for some reason I have only just remembered that it was a prayer answered.

A very specific prayer.

In my first year if Bible College I needed an acoustic guitar.
Back then Churches didn't seem to like me leading from an electric, but I was a poor student and had no idea how I could buy one.
At a lecture on prayer one day the lecturer pulled me aside and asked me what I wanted from God right now. Very quickly I responded that I needed an acoustic.
To my surprise she didn't just dive in and pray with me, she asked me to be more specific.
What would it look like? Any special features?
On the spot I remember rattling off things from the top of my head under pressure. Cut away shape, something different looking to standard acoustics, gold hardware.
It was only a few weeks later that I was given cash from various sources and able to visit a local music shop, where I found a guitar like I pictured and prayed for.

A very specific prayer.

When a man by the name of Bartimaeus encountered this Jesus he has heard of before, his cry for help was very general.
He asked for mercy.
And that cry for mercy got the mercy givers attention.
But Jesus asks him to be more specific with his request.
Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"
The blind man said to him, "Rabbi, that I may see again."

All along Bartimaeus wanted to see and yet all he thought he could do was ask for mercy...
There is nothing wrong with asking God to help!
But maybe there is something more powerful in asking specifically?

So what would you like God to do specifically for you right now?
Beyond the basics of life and living, what do you need from heaven that is impossible in the natural and only possible in the supernatural.
Can I encourage you to try being very specific in your prayer, because there is real power in that!

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I have another confession to make...

No I am not going to sing you a Foo Fighters song, and yes I have a confession to make...
Sometimes I have struggled to believe.

That's right this Pastor has struggled to believe that God will do what He promised.
That what He does for others, that He would do for me.
Not that He couldn't do it, just whether He would.

Now don't panic, I have not had a "crisis of faith" as they say in regards to God, my relationship with Jesus and/or my salvation.
Graciously ever since I gave my entire life to God in 1991 that has never been as issue. 
But I have had some struggles over the years. 
Maybe some of my journey might help you today?

We have heard God speak to us clearly and then faced many many years of waiting. While we have waited we have continued to serve and sacrifice with every last fibre of our being.
Maybe that is something you can relate to?

Many as well have the same experience as time goes by.
If you are not careful you can become jaded and cynical.
Your present struggle blinds you to the memory of what amazing things God has done in the past and most certainly can and wants to do again in the future.
I write this for you and for me!

To help here is a great illustration from scripture...

Jesus encounters a moment where a man with a seriously troubled son is seeking help.
He for whatever reason, convenience, opportunity or nervousness goes to the followers close to Jesus instead of going to Him directly. There is a ministry moment and it hasn't gone as hoped, the kid still has issues.

Jesus does his Jesus thing, He moves into the situation ready and willing.
The father says "...if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
Jesus response is this “‘If you can’?”
“Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Next there is a phrase that is super intriguing and telling, that was uttered by a desperate parent as he encountered this Jesus.
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 niv
Like what? You believe but don't believe? Which one is it?

Does Jesus rebuke the Dad who is struggling? No.
He meets and exceeds his expectations in one move, by healing his son of his afflictions.

If you and I are honest, this is us as well.
We believe and also have some space to believe some more.
There is capacity in each one of our spiritual lives for more honesty and more belief.

God is bigger than any box we can put Him in and larger than any revelation we have had so far.
I want to honestly come to Him and ask for help to believe for more.
I also want to see God move. To fulfil His promises.
I want to see God do what I read and quote....
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20 niv

When this Dad asked Jesus how things are supposed to work, how do we after this day see this happen again and again, Jesus response is simple and important.
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer." Mark 9:29 niv

Pray for yourself and get prayer from others
It is hard to pray for us when we are struggling to believe. But it also the very best thing to do and source of your help and healing.
Just be honest with God and yet declare your belief in Him and His mercy and power.
Grab a friend or two and ask them to for you and with you.

Something to think about...

*Shameless Plug*
If you want to explore this more with me you are welcome to join us at Taupo Elim this Sunday where I am expanding on this. Or you can visit our Podcast Site once it gets uploaded after Sunday.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Broken Bottom

I have found that the world can sometimes give you a weight you just can't carry. Then when you fail, it seems to take joy in reminding you that you failed.
It is an irony that it came up with the dumb idea, then rubs it in your face when the self fulfilling prophesied failure comes to pass.

Within a few weeks of starting school I had a memorable experience...
Growing up on a farm, we had to take a local school bus to get to school. Our bus driver doubled as the local store owner so sometimes he dropped off groceries to farmers wives while on the route.

As a scrawny little 5 year old I climbed on the bus one morning.
The driver asked me to lift a carrier of milk and place it on the ground where I had just been standing and waiting.
The problem was as I staggered back down the bus steps with this load of milk, I knew it was too heavy and that I was in trouble. As much as I tried not to fail I failed. My placement of said carrier was to uncontrolled and down with a thud the milk went. It happened pretty quickly from memory and the white liquid started to leak out onto the gravel below it.
I had accidentally broken every single bottle.
Couldn't have down it better if I tried.
Even though I had been brought up with the phrase "don't cry over spilled milk", the sentiment was unable to stop my own leaking, thankfully from my eyes not anywhere else...

That ride to school that day was the worst in my memory.
I felt guilty. Felt like I had let the driver down, my family down and especially the poor person who hoped to find fresh milk to conveniently collect that morning.

Maybe you are feeling guilty today?
Maybe feeling like you let yourself down or others or even God?

Can I say to you that maybe the load you have carried wasn't all your fault?
The devil wants to load you up in failure and guilt as a way to drive you from God and cause you not to believe in yourself.
But God has a load you can carry with His divine help.
Jesus even said 20Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 niv

Today trade your load and burdens for something better.
Trade the weight the world wants to give you for His grace.
Be free from unhealthy weights and expectations.
And come away with Jesus.

Something to think about...