If you had to pick three important points out of my last nine blog posts that will be helpful in your daily life, what would they be? I can tell you what mine are, since I am learning things, right alongside you, as I write these posts. Here are my three important points: 1. God wants me to THINK. God wants me to engage my mind as I grow in my faith in Him. Christianity is not a “blind faith”, but a faith that grows my understanding of God, myself and the world around me. My faith is alive and “Never Stops Improving” with Jesus’ help. 2. Faith in Christ involves my whole being – mind, body and spirit. God uses the disciplines of FASTING [from worldly pleasures], PRAYER and READING God’s Word to draw me closer to Himself, to open my eyes to the needs of others and want to serve them, and to desire to discover and do His will for my life. 3. God wants me to “CAST all [my] anxiety on [Jesus] because He cares for [me] (I Peter 5:7). If, after reading all these posts, all you remember is I Peter 5:7 and believe what it says, I will be very encouraged and blessed and so will you.
C= Confession: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13b). Jesus tells me in His example of what a sincere Prayer of Confession sounds like by pointing to the tax collector, rather than the Pharisee, in Luke 18:10-14. The tax collector got IT. “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).
A= Adoration: “I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom…The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made. All You have made will extol You, O LORD; Your saints [believers] will extol You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your might, so that all men may know of Your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom (Psalm 145:1-3, 8-12).
S=Supplication: James 5:13-16 instructs, “Is any one in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the Name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord with raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James is saying that I should pray for those in trouble, those who are sick and those who are not right with God. I do not believe he is saying all sickness is the cause of a person’s sin. However, sin can make us sick. This includes praying for myself in the same way. As Christians, we should confess to our brothers and sisters. We also need to listen to our brother’s or sister’s confession and forgive him/her. This will bring healing to our “authentic Christian community.” The Apostle Paul also prays for the spiritual growth of the Colossians this way: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:9-14).
Many times, when I pray for myself, I pray for my temporal and physical needs and forget about my spiritual needs. However, God does answer my “unspoken” prayers,. Eventually, I realize that He is answering my prayers all along:
“I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn to humbly obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of [people].
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all people, most richly blessed.”
T= Thanksgiving: “SHOUT joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with THANKSGIVING, and His courts with PRAISE. Give THANKS to Him; bless His Name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100 [N.A.S.V]). I believe it is only when we trust God and give over the reigns of our lives to Him, believing He not only knows best, but He knows more than we can ever comprehend. God knows everything. God is all powerful. God loves us beyond all measure. He is our Loving Heavenly Father Who “so loved the world [me] that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). By His stripes we are forever healed! For this I am forever THANKFUL!
“Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His wounds [stripes] we are healed.
We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!” (II Corinthians 9:15).