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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence [face] of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” [Gen3:8 AMP]

What Does God Sound Like?

I often wonder what would it sound like to hear God walking in the garden…would there be a mighty roar of wind?…would there be a gentle rustling of leaves?…would there be the sound of God’s footsteps?…or perhaps ‘the sound of the Lord’ relates to a sixth sense, a ‘spirit to Spirit’ sense that Adam and Eve were aware that the Lord was in the garden. Indeed, God did create them in His image [Gen 1:26-27] – which would include a spirit, as well as the soul and body.

God Confronts Adam and Eve

And the mystery of God’s presence being in the garden (more than in any other place) really points to God having a form which, for me, points to Jesus. So my long bow with this verse is that from time to time, or probably daily (knowing the love and character of God), Jesus would walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening (as He also did with His disciples when He was here on earth). You know, I believe sometimes we can get caught up in the harshness of the Old Testament and we can really miss this altogether – How great is the Father’s love is for His creation and how He longs and loves to fellowship with it (and how disappointed He must have been that Adam and Eve were attempting to hide from Him).

In any case (even if you do not agree with the above), Adam and Eve were familiar with the ‘sound of Lord’ and they knew He was in the garden and yet they did not go to Him as I suspect they usually would have, because of their sin. Fellowship and relationship with God was broken that day and instead of perhaps running to Him they hid from His face. This was a very sad day for humanity and for God!

But here is the Good News :-)…

Jesus came to restore everything that was lost through Adam at ‘the fall’!

(‘the fall’ = the fall of humanity through the sin of Adam and Eve)

To understand what has been restored through Jesus let us have a look at what has been lost through Adam.

Through Adam relationship and intimacy with our Heavenly Father have been lost. Our inherited sinful nature rebels against God and His Word. The penalty for our sin and rebellion is death and Hell. We are lost, we are condemned, we are without hope, we are without a purpose, we are without a future, and we are completely powerless and helpless to do anything about where we are heading. There is no way of escape and, because of God’s perfect judgement, nor do we deserve a way of escape.

Now putting the bad news aside here is the Good News :-)…

Jesus came to restore everything that was lost!

Through Jesus and His death and resurrection, our judgement and condemnation has been fully paid for through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We are no longer lost but we are saved by God. We are no longer hopeless but now have great hope in our Saviour and we live in the purposes and calling of our Heavenly Father which He has planned for us before the beginning of time. We are no longer powerless and helpless against the schemes of the enemy but we have given given authority in the name of Jesus through his great victory over the devil at the cross. The authority that had been forfeited by Adam has been restored by Christ. The devil doesn’t even have the keys to His own jails anymore. He is rendered powerless! All he has is lies and tricks. All authority has been given to Christ and to all who are in Christ, Jesus has given His authority. So if we don’t fall into a rebellious life or we are not tricked by the devil schemes we are truly free, free indeed [John 8:36] by the finished work of Jesus on the cross!

Additional reading here Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

A Life of Abundance!

Even further, as if this was not enough, Jesus came to give us far more than we could ever hope for or imagine[Eph 3:20]! Jesus calls us not to a life of mediocrity but a life of abundance!

In John 10:10 Jesus says “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”

When I mention abundant life I am not overlooking troubles that can come our way from time to time that can place great demands on our faith and our character. In John 16:33 Jesus was aware of these and said there will be “tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]  and He said this so that in Him “we may have [perfect]peace.”

This abundant life that Jesus speaks of in John 10:10 is created by the Author and Creator of life himself. The One who gave us life is the One who can give us our best life. God knows all about us and He has made each one of us a perfect and abundant life plan for our lives – imagine a life to the max – a life overflowing in abundance! A life of perfect peace! How can this be possible?

Getting Back to the Garden

What was life like in the Garden of Eden before the Fall and how do we get back there?

Here are a few observations about the Garden of Eden before the fall. The Garden was:

  • a place created by God for Adam and Eve to live and enjoy.
  • a place where God could enjoy and commune with His creation.
  • a place for Adam and Eve to fellowship with one another and to fellowship and commune with God.
  • a place for Adam and Eve to rule and to have dominion over all of creation.
  • a place that displayed the magnificence, creativity and glory of God.

I’ve had a revelation (which I don’t mind if you accept or reject) the Garden of Eden is no longer a physical place but a Spiritual place.

If the Garden of Eden is no longer a physical place but a Spiritual place how do we get back there?

Just before Jesus ascended He said to His disciples “don’t leave Jerusalem until you are baptized, empowered and united with the Holy Spirit” [Acts 1:4-5].

The key here is a life empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit comforts us, gives us peace, teaches us, counsels us, encourages us, exhorts us, gives us wisdom, gives us Spiritual gifts to help others, helps us to worship God, convicts us of sin, gives us strength, shows us the truth, guides us, helps us to pray, produces fruit in our lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and is always with us everywhere we go.

The Garden of Eden or Utopia or Shangri-La or Paradise or any other place of contentment or peace or rest are not found in a physical place but found in a place in our heart where Jesus comes to live with us by His Spirit.

Jesus says:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” [Matt 11:28-30]

True contentment or true peace or true rest for our souls is found in Christ alone. This is not a physical place (like the Garden of Eden) but it is a Spiritual place. It is a position or posture of our heart to receive the Good News about Christ, and to receive the infilling of His Holy Spirit. Then, as God’s Word says, “our new, real life is hidden with Christ in God” [Col 3:2-3] – the safest, most peaceful, most restful and most contented place we can find!

This life is available to everyone but not everyone finds this life:

See why in Matthew 13:1-23.

Chapter 1: Life in the Garden or Getting Back to the Garden
Communication and fellowship as it should be – life in the garden.

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I’m just really loving this passage this morning.

Acts 17:26-28
26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28’For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Why did God create us?

So that we would seek Him and find Him.  It’s as simple as that.  There are two things I am sure of at the moment, one is never stop seeking God, the other is never stop praying.  If you loose sight of either of these you will become stale and disallussioned with the Christian faith.  If you give up on these things your relationship with the Lord won’t mean much to you so it won’t be hard for you to give it up.

SEEK HIM!

If I told you you had $1 millions dollars buried in your backyard and it is yours to keep if you find it how hard would you look for it?  God’s reward (of knowing Him) is so much greater than this!

In Him we live and move and have our being!

Kind of reminds me of this verse(s)…

Col 3:3-4
3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your  life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

and this verse…

Phil 3:8
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

and this verse…

John 17:3
3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Christ should be nothing short of everything in our lives.  Start praying and start seeking Him with your whole heart, Amen.

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An Interview with Leonard Ravenhill

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A small ‘word’ on prayer…

Pray and Don’t Give Up!

Have you ever prayed for something or someone and it appeared that nothing happened? (Haven’t we all) Perhaps it was a desperate cry for help from the Lord and it looked as though God was out to lunch. Are you praying for something right now and God seems quite silent? I want to encourage you… KEEP PRAYING AND DON’T GIVE UP!

In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus says:
18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
NIV

Notice the last verse, ‘when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’ Prayer and faith are intimately inter-twined! We live in an ‘instant’ culture with instant solutions and instant gratifications. ‘God time’ can be very different to our time and the world’s time.

CONTINUE TO PRAY IN FAITH!

In James 5:15 the Word says:
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. NIV

Has a (perceived) lack of a response from God had a negative effect on your prayer life and on your faith?

Do you pray less because of the lack of answers to prayer? Have you given up on prayer? I heard a wise saying last year at the Hillsong Conference

“If you want to see more people healed PRAY FOR MORE PEOPLE”

God is calling us to pray!

The results of prayer are up to God and not to us. God is ‘just’ calling us to pray.

Has the results of prayer (somehow) wrapped themselves into our egos?

If someone is healed because of your prayer do you take the accolades? No way! Conversely, do you take the ‘blame’ if someone is not healed through your prayers? No way! God is ‘just’ calling us to pray. Forget about past results! JUST PRAY!

Prayer makes a difference even when we physically can’t see the results. Genuine (God’s heart) prayer’ at the very least, changes our hearts into line with God’s heart but (I believe and I am sure many others believe) it does a whole lot more than that. It ushers in the Kingdom of God here on earth. The Kingdom of God is established here on earth through the prayers of His people.

KEEP PRAYING!

.

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The Wisest Person in the World

Humanly speaking, if you were able to meet with the wisest person in the world, there are two questions that come to mind:

1) Would you do more talking or more listening?

2) How much time would you put aside for the meeting?

I think the answers are pretty obvious. You would listen more than you would speak and you would put aside as much time as you could. Perhaps you would even make time in your day that you never thought you had!

OK, now heavenly speaking. In prayer, we are able to meet with our Heavenly Father who is infinitely wise, who infinitely loves us, who is infinitely creative and made you and me and who has a Heavenly plan for each one of our lives. So, considering the above, when we pray, should we do more talking or more listening? Again, considering the above, how much time should we put aside for the meeting?

Are you getting my point? How much time do we pull away from this world to spend time communing and listening to our Heavenly Father? Now, don’t give me the answer, “I am in constant communication with my Heavenly Father 24-7”. Jesus was in constant communication with His Heavenly Father 24-7 and He still very, very often pulled away, to a quite place, and prayed with His Heavenly Father. It was His source of strength!

To Know Him

I have another question. What would be the point of spending eternity with someone we don’t know? This verse has come up before, Jesus prayed for us…
John 17:3
3 Now this is eternal life : that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. NIV
This is a really important verse. It defines what ‘eternal life’ is. It is pretty clear. It’s not ambiguous or complicated. Eternal life is knowing the Father and Jesus Christ His Son (and they are revealed through His Holy Spirit).

So what is our aim in our Christian life? To live a ‘good’ life. Trying our best to be a nice Christian or is our aim to know Him intimately (and to do what He is telling us to do)?

For Him to Know Us

Here are a couple of scary verses (notice the word MANY):

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord , Lord , did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ NIV

Looking at these verses, we can even be ‘doing the stuff’ that we think Jesus wants us to do but still have no relationship with Him. Hear what these verses are saying, “Lord, didn’t we do ‘this stuff’ (in your name)”. And Jesus still has honoured His Name through them in spite of their lack of relationship with Him!

You know, we even have arm bands that remind us “What would Jesus do?” But is that really what it is all about? Isn’t it rather “What is Jesus telling me to do?” and then our response is we go and do it. The former is a (knowledgeable) guess and the latter is …… FAITH! (Ah! faith, that’s another blog)

Spend time with Him today! I mean more than 5 minutes of babbling on. Wait on Him and enjoy Him, in Jesus Name, AMEN

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White Noise

In electronics, there is an instrument called a ‘White Noise Generator‘. It’s function is to put out a whole lot of different frequencies at once for the testing of audio equipment. It puts out sound just like you get on a TV when you are not tuned in to any station correctly – kind of a SSSHHHH sound.

When we pray, we can have a kind of ‘White Noise‘ going on in our heads. I don’t mean a whole lot of different frequencies but I mean a whole lot of different voices going on at once. Voices from our past, voices of our mother and father, voices from our work, voices from our friends, voices from people who have hurt us, voices from last week, voices from yesterday, voices from TV, radio and advertisements, voices of the evil one. I guess you would call these voices, ‘voices of influence‘. They have shaped who we are. Not all of them are helpful. Some shape us positively, some negatively.

In prayer, there is only one voice that we need to hear, and that is the voice of the Lord. I guess, what I am trying to say is, are these voices or is this ‘white noise’ drowning out the voice of the Lord?

The Word of the Lord brings life!

John 6:63
63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. NIV

John 6:68-69
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” NIV

Indeed, who else has the Words of Eternal Life!

In prayer, we need to come to a place of stillness in Him. A time when all the other voices are silent and we begin to commune with Him and we begin to hear the Word of the Lord and He begins to ‘restore our souls‘ (Psalm 23).

Psalms 46:10
10 “Be still , and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
NIV

Psalms 37:1-7
1 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. NIV

Psalms 23:1-4
23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want,
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake
.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me
.
NIV

Father, still those voices inside me. I want to hear your voice and your voice only. You are the only one that can give me Words of Life. You are the only one who can restore my soul. Help me to be still and know you are God, in Jesus Name, AMEN

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Intimacy with Our Heavenly Father!

One of the most amazing gifts that a true, born again Christian has is prayer! Prayer is the lifeblood of the Christian life! Prayer is the air that we breathe to sustain and grow our Christian walk. Without prayer, without developing our relationship with our Heavenly Father (or rather, God developing us) through prayer we literally ‘die‘, we literally ‘crash and burn‘.

Now why did I call it a gift? It is a gift from God because He desires it. He initiated it, He instigated it, He designed it for His intimacy with us and for His purposes and plans for His Kingdom through us. And in our arrogance we believe we are initiating things, that we are reaching out to Him, that we are finding God (such is the proud way that we think!). No, God first reaches out to us! God has His ear pressed so hard against the Heavenlies waiting for you and me to pray to Him! He even tells us what to pray, by His Spirit. Have you thought about that? Even prayer is all about Him! He transforms our lives and our hearts so that we are praying ‘God prayers‘.

Adam and Eve and the Fall of man(and woman) – this is important

Read Genesis 2:16 to the end of chapter 3. Basically, sin(disobedience to God) enters the world through Adam and Eve. In summary, they ‘bought’ a lie that God was ‘holding out’ on them. That He didn’t have their best interests in mind. Satan slandered God’s character and they believed it! (By the way, this is the same lie and deception that Satan tries to feed us today) Anyways, sin enters the world and we inherit ‘this sinful nature’ from Adam and there is a barrier of sin between us and God for true relationship with Him.

Romans 5:12-19 says:
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man , and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man , how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man , Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man , death reigned through that one man , how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man , Jesus Christ. 18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. NIV

OK, that was a little meaty and there was a bit of religious jargon but the truth of these verses needs to be understood. Sin came through one man – Adam. Salvation came through one man – Jesus Christ. Therefore through Jesus Christ we are righteous again before God. In other words, God restores our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ and our relationship is just like Adam and Eves before the fall! There is no longer any barrier between us and God! If you are not a Christian and you are reading this, do you realise what you are missing out on?

Anyways, why I brought this up, is for all of us to see, that relationship and communication through prayer has been restored through Jesus and we can have true intimacy with Him through prayer.

Jesus prayed for us…
John 17:3
3 Now this is eternal life : that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. NIV

Know Jesus today! Invite Him into your heart! Know the Father through the Son revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Blessings

Steve

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