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God’s Will and Prayer

Certain aspects of God are beyond our full understanding, and one of them is how He uses our prayers to work out His will. Although He is the sovereign, omnipotent, all-knowing God who needs no one’s help, He has chosen to allow us to participate in the achievement of His divine plans through our prayers.

Nehemiah was moved to pray after hearing about the hardships of the Jews who’d returned to Jerusalem following Babylonian captivity. At the time, he was doing his job as the cupbearer to the King of Persia. But the Lord quickly answered Nehemiah’s prayer by paving the way and providing the resources that would allow him to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem.

Although we may not see answers as dramatic and obvious when we pray, the Lord still wants us to present our needs and believe that He’ll respond in a way that furthers His will for our life. There will be times when we can’t perceive any change, but that doesn’t mean God is not working everything for our good. And remember, even when we don’t pray as we should, the Holy Spirit helps our weakness by interceding for us according to God’s will (Rom. 8:26-28).

How can you know God?

It all starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ provides a relationship with the Father and eternal life through His death on the cross and resurrection, see Romans. 5:10.

Romans. 10:9 promises, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." If you have not yet begun your personal relationship with God, understand that the One who created you loves you no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He wants you to experience the profound depth of His care.

Therefore, tell God that you are willing to trust Him for salvation. You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you have just prayed this prayer, congratulations!

You have received Christ as your Savior and have made the best decision you will ever make—one that will change your life forever!

Tell please, oh great.dupe of the great.Jewish conspiracy, whatever.happened to the souls of Adam.and Eve, IF.they.indeed had.any? Or.if.they.ever existed? You refuse to think because.it.would.make the time you.invested worthless! So, go on wasting! There is no greater fool than he who refuses to THINK!

Last edited by shallyv
@shallyv posted:

Tell please, oh great.dupe of the great.Jewish conspiracy, whatever.happened to the souls of Adam.and Eve, IF.they.indeed had.any? Or.if.they.ever existed? You refuse to think because.it.would.make the time you.invested worthless! So, go on wasting! There is no greater fool than he who refuses to THINK!

According to the Book of Enoch, Enoch saw them when he was taken up to the Heavens. They were sitting by a stream. According to Enoch, he saw others as well under an aromatic air.

Building to Last Forever

When a high-rise building goes up in my city of Atlanta, Georgia, I think about all the construction involved. Underneath is a grid of steel and concrete giving strength to all the floors stacked overhead. In a similar way, we need a firm foundation to build a life with purpose. Jesus lays that groundwork for believers when they receive His salvation.

Christ’s saving grace gives His followers a new life. Sins are wiped away so that we have a clean “work site,” so to speak. Empowered by Jesus’ strength and wisdom, we can build on His foundation. The decision that needs to be made is whether to shape our eternal legacy with God-serving activities and habits or selfish ones.

Paul separates spiritual construction material into two categories: durable metal and dry kindling (1 Corinthians 3:12). A grass hut is easily destroyed by fire, but at the judgment, we want to greet the Lord from a sturdy structure, built with gleaming bricks of godly service and a diligent application of Scripture.

The life we create is useful to God only if it is consistent with Jesus Christ’s foundation. You might say that He is the architect and the Bible is the blueprint for successful living—and it’s in our best interest to follow those plans.

The Bible does not specifically tell us whether Adam and Eve were saved. Adam and Eve were the only two human beings who knew about God before they became tainted with sin. As a result, they likely still knew God better after their fall than any of us do today. Adam and Eve most definitely believed in and depended on God. God continued to talk with Adam and Eve and provide for them after the fall. Adam and Eve knew of God’s promise that He would provide a Savior, read Genesis 3:15. God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve after the fall, Genesis 3:21.

Many scholars understand this as the first animal sacrifice, foreshadowing the eventual death of Christ on the cross for the sins of the world. Putting these facts together, it would seem that Adam and Eve were saved and did indeed go to heaven / paradise when they died.

How God Reveals Himself

Many people today deny the existence of God. But the reason is suppression of the truth, not a lack of evidence. Because the Lord loves mankind, He has revealed Himself in several ways. We know God through ...

His creation (Rom. 1:20). By observing the celestial bodies, the earth with its plants and creatures, and the laws of the universe, we must conclude that there is a Creator—such intricate design doesn’t happen accidentally. The order, balance, and beauty speak loudly of a wise God who is powerful and generous.

Our conscience (Rom. 1:19). Because we’re created in His image, He’s designed the human being with an inner alarm system to provide a general sense of good and evil. That’s an excellent start, but God expects us to continually “upgrade” the conscience as we learn more about His ways. Otherwise, worldly thinking can override its original guidelines.

His Word (Rom. 1:16-17). While conscience and creation point to the Lord, it usually takes more to bring us to a saving knowledge of Him. That is why God has given us His written Word—and ultimately His Son (Heb. 1:2-3).

With ample evidence of God’s power, character, and salvation, there is no excuse for doubting His existence and love for us.

Where God’s Wrath and Love Meet

Until we learn to see sin as God does, it’s difficult to understand what happened at Christ’s crucifixion. God is holy and just, and Scripture tells us that His response to sin is wrath and punishment (Rom. 1:18; Rom. 6:23). Yet He also loves sinners and wants to be reconciled with them. The cross was the perfect answer to this terrible dilemma. It was the place where God’s wrath and love met.

The only way to rescue fallen mankind from eternal punishment was to devise a plan whereby the Lord could forgive sins without compromising His holiness. His wrath had to be poured out on a suitable substitute, the perfect Son of God.

So Jesus suffered His Father’s wrath for us as He hung on the cross. Sin was punished, divine justice was satisfied, and God could forgive sinners—all in accordance with His character. His wrath was poured out on His Son so His love and forgiveness could be lavished upon us.

We’ll never be able to understand all that happened while Jesus hung on the cross. Although we can to a certain degree comprehend the physical suffering He endured, Christ bore so much more: the very wrath of God. This costly redemption plan proves the Father’s great love for us.

Walking With God

Walking with someone when you cannot agree on the direction or goal is frustrating, yet that’s exactly what we sometimes try to do with God. In the Scriptures, He gives us guidance for life. But then, when we don’t follow it, we’re surprised to see that He’s walking in a different direction than we are.

Scripture uses the term “walk” to describe the course of a person’s life. For instance, Noah walked with God by having a relationship with Him through faith (Gen. 6:9). And John’s gospel uses the phrase “walk in the Light” (1 John 1:7) to explain what is required of those who want to follow Jesus.

To walk with the Lord in His Light, we must confess and forsake sin, pursue righteousness, and obey His commands. We can’t claim to walk in the Light if our life is characterized by the darkness of a sinful lifestyle or we’re holding onto anger, bitterness, or resentment toward others.

Are you trying to carry old baggage into your walk with the Lord? The attitudes, habits, and conduct that were yours before Christ must be abandoned in order for you to walk with God.

@Keith posted:

Walking With God

Walking with someone when you cannot agree on the direction or goal is frustrating, yet that’s exactly what we sometimes try to do with God. In the Scriptures, He gives us guidance for life. But then, when we don’t follow it, we’re surprised to see that He’s walking in a different direction than we are.

Scripture uses the term “walk” to describe the course of a person’s life. For instance, Noah walked with God by having a relationship with Him through faith (Gen. 6:9). And John’s gospel uses the phrase “walk in the Light” (1 John 1:7) to explain what is required of those who want to follow Jesus.

To walk with the Lord in His Light, we must confess and forsake sin, pursue righteousness, and obey His commands. We can’t claim to walk in the Light if our life is characterized by the darkness of a sinful lifestyle or we’re holding onto anger, bitterness, or resentment toward others.

Are you trying to carry old baggage into your walk with the Lord? The attitudes, habits, and conduct that were yours before Christ must be abandoned in order for you to walk with God.

GFY, stupid!

Wholehearted Devotion

King Hezekiah of Judah faithfully served the Lord with his whole heart (2 Chronicles 29:2). After the nation had fallen into idolatry, he reestablished proper worship of God. But his devotion to the Lord also extended into his personal life, and that’s exactly how we should live as well.  Our seeking after God should be characterized by:

Wholeheartedness. A united heart has one preeminent desire—to please the Lord. But a divided heart tries to live both for self and for God. Warning that we cannot serve two masters, Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him (Matt. 6:24; Luke 9:23).

Diligence. Devotion to God includes careful attention to His Word and unwavering effort to obey Him. Faith is the foundation upon which we diligently build qualities of Christian maturity (2 Peter 1:5-8).

Persistence. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. We need endurance to overcome obstacles that hinder us from finishing the course God has set for us (Heb. 12:1).

Living wholeheartedly for the Lord is impossible in our own strength. But if we’ll humble ourselves and ask, He will give us the grace to diligently and persistently live for Him.

Pursuing God

If I were to ask whether you’d like a deeper relationship with God, you would probably say yes. But are you willing to do what is necessary to achieve it? Many Christians today are trying to find a shortcut to a closer relationship with the Father. But intimacy takes times and effort; knowing God better is a lifelong pursuit. Here’s how we discover the depths of His character through His Word:

Meditation involves reading a Bible passage several times and thoughtfully considering what it says about God. Today’s psalm, for example, encourages us to ponder the Lord’s power, glory, and lovingkindness. 

Study allows us to draw from several Bible passages to gain a greater understanding of the Lord. We benefit by considering the context and writing style of the verses and then asking ourselves what they reveal about God.

Prayer is our response to meditation and study of the Word. What we discover about God overflows into praise, gratitude, and petitions that align with His will.

We can’t cut corners if we want to walk closely with the Lord. But the rewards of a deep relationship with Him are worth the wait and effort—only through intimacy with Him will we know true satisfaction and joy.

How to Listen to God’s Word

It’s amazing how two people can hear the same sermon about the same portion of Scripture and yet walk away with completely different reactions—one could be deeply affected and the other indifferent to the message. Why does this happen? The main reason is the condition of a person’s heart. 

Nehemiah 8 is an amazing scene of God’s people coming together to hear His Word. They had been in captivity for many years and were hungry for His Word. For most of them, this was the first time they heard the Scriptures.

Are you hungry for God’s Word? Do you listen eagerly with an expectant mind and heart? When we genuinely long to know more of the Lord, it’s easier for our mind to focus on what He’s saying—and this is the case whether we’re listening to a pastor or teacher, reading our Bible, or following a book study.

So many things clamor for our focus, but nothing is as important as what the Lord has to say. He is worthy of our undivided attention. Remember, Jesus promised that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness would be satisfied (Matt. 5:6). Rest assured that whoever listens to God’s Word with an open heart and alert mind will receive from Him.

Ignoring God

Most of us dislike being ignored. We feel frustrated and overlooked when our concerns are disregarded, especially by loved ones. Yet this is often how we treat the One who loves us the most—the Lord.  He is always attentive to every detail of our life, but we’re often too distracted by our own interests to think about Him.

Our God—who formed each of us in the womb and gives us life, breath, and all we have—deserves our full attention. Sadly, a majority of the world ignores Him, but those of us who have received His divine mercy, forgiveness, and grace should make Him our top priority.

Distractions come in many forms. Usually it’s the pleasures and cares of this world that cause us to forget about God. We’re so busy pursuing our own desires and agendas that we fail to stop and consider what pleases Him.

To change this trend, we must learn what the Lord desires for us, as revealed in His Word. When we begin to think the way He does, we’ll see our life through a filter of Scripture and have a desire to please Him.

Consequences of Ignoring God

People all around us are disregarding God’s offer of salvation through faith in His Son. If we look at their lives, it may not seem that they’re facing any divine judgment, but we must remember that repercussions don’t always follow immediately. Ignoring the Lord is rebellion and idolatry in His eyes, and unless the offender turns to Him in humble repentance and faith, consequences will come.

King Manasseh of Judah stands as an example of what can happen when someone ignores God. Despite the example of his godly father Hezekiah, Manasseh abandoned the Lord and led his people into idolatry. He was deaf to God’s voice and carried on with this evil for quite a while. But in time God finally got his attention through a painful situation involving the Assyrian military. Humbled, Manasseh repented and began obeying the Lord instead of ignoring Him. 

Are you sensitive to God’s voice, or does He have to bring hardship and suffering into your life to get your attention? Disregarding Him is a serious matter, but God is merciful and responds to the cries of a truly repentant heart.

The Reach of God’s Love

Do you know someone with a hostile attitude toward God? It can be hard to imagine such a person accepting the Lord’s salvation, but no one is beyond the reach of our loving heavenly Father.

Saul of Tarsus is a perfect example. This self-righteous Pharisee was so confident of his obedience to God’s Law that he couldn’t see his need for a Savior. His goal was to get rid of Christians, but God had other plans for his life. Jesus appeared to him in a blinding light and confronted him about his persecution of the church. Saul repented, placed his trust in the Savior, and spent the rest of his life spreading the good news that salvation comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conviction of sin is an uncomfortable but important step for a life of faith. Before we can understand our need for a Savior, we must recognize the hopelessness of our sinful condition. Then we can repent and receive the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ.

Like Paul, we are saved only because God reached down to rescue us. And He will never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5) but is always present to mold us into Christlikeness.

Rekindling the Flame

Burnout is a term heard frequently today—it describes a lack of motivation that results when something produces frustration or exhaustion instead of inspiration. This often happens in high-stress jobs, long-term relationships like marriage, and even in the church. Every year there are pastors who walk away from their work because the joys of ministry are overshadowed by the difficulties. This type of weariness is something most Christians struggle with at some point in life.

Timothy was experiencing burnout—as the pastor of the church in Ephesus, he was being worn down by the constant battle for the truth that was under attack by false teachers. For this reason, Paul wrote to him with encouragement to “kindle afresh” his spiritual gift (2 Timothy 1:6).

In the same way, sometimes the pressures of daily life, hardships, physical ailments, or relational conflicts can make us feel spiritually dry and empty of zeal. Although an ebb and flow of emotions is normal, a persistently dry spiritual life is a reason for concern. To rekindle the fire, we need the fuel of God’s Word and His Spirit. Pray with the psalmist, “Revive me according to Your word” (Psalm 119:25).