Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I Can’t Find the Sinners Prayer in Scripture

October 6, 2017

I assume you mean a prayer asking God for forgiveness and asking Jesus into your life to be your Lord and Savior. No, you won’t find this kind of prayer with exact words in scripture, because there is no “formula” given by Jesus for asking forgiveness and salvation. However, if you read the gospel of John, you will find many occasions where Jesus offers forgiveness and salvation to whomever asks for it. The words are not important. The attitude of the heart is what matters, and Jesus knows our hearts. Anyone who through faith recognizes their sins and separation from God and wants to make that right through Jesus will be granted that salvation. I would encourage you to read chapters 5 and 6 of the gospel of John to see what Jesus is saying about coming to him, and the promises he makes to those who do come to him. Again, he gives no formula for the prayer–only believe and come. Read also John 8:34-36; 10:7-18; 14:6 and there are more, but this will give you the idea of why we come to Jesus to be made right with God.

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I Would Believe in God or Jesus if I Could Meet Them

October 6, 2017

 

Do you believe in electricity? As far as I know you can’t touch, taste or see it. Do you believe in gravity? You can’t touch, taste or see it. I’m not trying to be smart with you, but we do believe in things we can only see because of their effects. We see the effects of God in everything around us that was not made by humans.

But the main reason Christians believe in God is because of Jesus. In this case, there was a real, historic occasion where God did make himself visible to us in human form. We believe what we do about God, because Jesus revealed it to us. Jesus proved his credentials as God by all the miracles He worked, culminating in his rising from the dead, and 40 days later ascending to Heaven.

When the apostle Thomas refused to believe Jesus had risen from the dead, based on what the others told him, but required seeing for himself, Jesus answered: “Blessed are they who have not seen, yet have believed.”

You see, ultimately it is based on trust. We believe what many humans tell us. We believe the weather report, the time of sunrise and sunset, the time the bus will come, the bank statement, what the lab tests say, what the repairman says–especially if we get a second opinion, and so on. Can we believe the reports of the apostles, who had everything to lose and nothing to gain by what they said? Read the gospels again and see if this doesn’t look like a visitation from God. Read the Acts of the Apostles, and see if this didn’t look like men who really believed what they were preaching about Jesus.

Even after all Jesus did, and after the miracles even his apostles did, there were many who would not believe. Do you wonder why? Sometimes this particular type of unbelief says more about the person than it does about the reality of Jesus and God.

I Need Stronger Faith

October 6, 2017

Faith is the gift of God. God will give you all the faith you need for the situation He has placed you into. But you need to nourish and use your faith. Just as God gives the farmer crops and allows them to grow, the farmer must tend them, keep the weeds out, water them, and ultimately harvest them. We can nurture our faith by staying close to Jesus. We can keep reading our bibles–especially the New Testament which is all about Jesus. We can keep talking to Jesus throughout the day, being aware of his presence with us and thankful for all he does. And we can spend time with our “Jesus family”. We need to spend time with other believers. It can be a small group, a bible study or a prayer group. Other believers help us learn, encourage and challenge us, help us and pray for us–and we do the same for them.

I’m Old, and I’ve Just Asked Jesus to Save Me. Is it too Late?

October 3, 2017

You have made the decision to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who became human and died to pay the penalty for your sins. You believe that He rose to life again on the third day. You have repented to God for your sins, and received His forgiveness and promise of spending eternity in heaven with Him. That is so wonderful. Do you know that Jesus told us in Luke 15:10 that heaven rejoices whenever a sinner repents? That means that heaven is rejoicing over you! Another wonderful thing happened too. Jesus came into your life forever. He is close as your breath. The Holy Spirit lives in you.

Have you noticed yet that this doesn’t say anything about how old you are?  Jesus told a story about a man who had a vineyard and needed some people to work. Some came at daybreak, a little later, more came. Some came at noon, and some came an hour before day’s end. When the sun was going down, the man came out to pay the workers. He paid the last ones in first–a full days’ wage. He paid the same to each group. When the ones who had worked all day saw they were all paid the same, they asked why those who had worked only an hour were paid as much as they. The man said–you agreed to work for a wage. If I want to be kind to those who came late, don’t I have the right to do what I want with my money? Jesus was making the point that it is coming to Him that saves us–not how long we worked for him in life. It is faith in coming for forgiveness that saves.

 

How Can I Do What God Wants?

October 3, 2017

I would love to help you understand some things I learned, about doing what God wants. But first I want to tell you a story.  I once knew an elderly woman very well. Every Saturday her son came by to mow her lawn and do any heavy chores she could no longer do. Then he would give her a big kiss and he was off again. One day I was there and when her son left, she said: “I wish sometimes he would just forget the chores and just sit with me and visit awhile.”

That little scene made such a big impression on me because at the time I wanted badly to do great things for God. And then I realized God might want my company even more. So, I believe our relationship with God starts with prayer. Prayer doesn’t have to be formal. If we address our prayers to Jesus, we can just talk to him like we’d talk to our best friend–about whatever is on our mind. And if we address our prayers to the Father, I like to just picture myself on his lap as his child, and talk to him like a child talks to its daddy. In the bible it says we may call our Father “Abba” which is Aramaic for “Daddy”. Even if we didn’t have a father in our lives, we can imagine “Abba” as the daddy we always dreamed of–for he made us with that desire and those needs for a strong, protective daddy who can protect and care for us.

I have learned it isn’t so much about doing what God expects. Its doing what God has planned for the two of us to do together. The work begins with prayer. He puts wonderful ideas in our minds of how we can do good. Sometimes its an idea we never imagined we’d do, but with God’s help we accomplish something new. Sometimes its about helping a person, and the idea is exciting. God’s plans for us are always good and always lead us higher.

 

How to Pray

October 3, 2017

You can just talk to Jesus like you would talk to a best friend.  If you have asked Him to be your Savior, He is in your life forever.  He is close as your breath.  Tell him whatever is on your mind. Ask him for help for yourself and others, ask his forgiveness when you mess up, and remember to thank him for answered prayer and for all he does. As you go along, you can begin to pray about the bible passages you read. Whatever comes to mind, you can talk it over with Jesus. Another practice is to write out your prayers. I fold my binder paper pages in half lengthwise. I write down whatever I ask Jesus, I write things I feel he is nudging me to do (so I won’t forget) and also write down insights I feel he is giving me into certain situations. Later I go back to thank him for the prayers he has answered, to record things I have finished and so on. Writing down prayers helps people like me whose minds flit like butterflies from one thing to another–it helps me focus and concentrate. However, going back and seeing how God has answered past prayers is a great source of joy and thanksgiving.  The important thing is just to start.  When you are moving, God will steer.

 

How Can I Serve God Best?

October 3, 2017

 

So many people feel we aren’t really serving God unless we are doing something boring, unpleasant or anything we would rather not be doing.  What a false picture of God.

There are so many ways to serve. And God is generous in letting us serve in those places that give us joy.  Do you have a heart for widows? Does it give you joy to help them–especially those who are lonely? Does it give you joy to work with the elderly, the homeless, or children? Does it give you joy to be outdoors, or to do crafts? Do you like to work with groups, or quietly alone? Well, you get the idea. God doesn’t mind that we work with the particular age group or situation we feel drawn towards. And He doesn’t mind that we use skills we enjoy using. These are the ways we can give the best of ourselves–just as he made us.

 

How Can I Feel Close to Jesus?

September 30, 2017

“When I was little, I used to have sweet dreams about Jesus.  I don’t have those now that I am grown, and I want them back.”

I’m so glad you have always had a close relationship with Jesus. Little children often have very vivid dreams and insight into spiritual things. It is a blessing, and I’m sure you are very thankful you had such a sweet childhood experience. However, just as the apostles were greatly blessed to have Jesus in their midst for three years, He eventually went back to the Father, and they had to rely on what Jesus had taught them, on faith, on prayer, and on the Holy Spirit.

You have grown, and it seems Jesus wants to deepen His relationship with you. When you dream you only see the outlines of things, and you feel emotions. You don’t get the depth you get from study. Also, you usually observe in dreams, and aren’t usually saying a lot of things or asking a lot of questions. I think Jesus calls us all into a closer walk with him as we get older. We are so blessed to have the gospels and epistles to read and pray over. We can know so much more of what Jesus did, cared about, taught and promised. We can also talk to him about all these things and about our own lives. We can ask him to show us what he wants us to do. And, we also have to learn to go through the feelings of spiritual drought. There will be times when Jesus doesn’t feel so close. That is when our faith can grow. If we love Jesus because He gives us the sweet spiritual experiences, that is nice, but if we can trust him and love him in hard times when he doesn’t seem so near and when we don’t understand our suffering, that is a greater love. I think he calls us through all sorts of things–sweet times, and hard times. In the walk with Jesus we get the mountain top times and the sunless valley times. He is always near, but sometimes we aren’t given the vision we are given at other times. Hold on. Read his words and treasure them. Pray and talk to him always. Learn to love the family of believers He leads you to. They can often be the love and comfort you need, and you will learn from them, give to them, help them and pray for them as well as accept all of those things from them too. I am sure you will once again have times of sweet refreshment when Jesus will seem very close.

I Believe, But Sometimes I Doubt My Salvation

September 24, 2017

The New Testament tells us over and over that we are saved by grace, by believing in the promises of Jesus. You have said you believe Jesus died for your sins, and I trust you have repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your Savior. In the end, it is not about what we do, not even about the prayer we prayed, but about a relationship. Relationships need to grow. It is very hard to trust someone you don’t know.

When you ask Jesus to be your Savior, he comes into your life forever. He is close as your breath. The Holy Spirit lives within you. God is working in you to make you more like Jesus. Your part in the process is to learn more about Jesus, talk with him all the time, and do what you know he is asking you to do.

You can start reading the bible with the New Testament, especially the Gospel of John. As you learn more about Jesus character, his love for you and his promises for you, you will naturally trust him more. Then, talk to Jesus, all the time, about everything. Ask his help, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers when they come. A lot of believers keep a journal. They write down their prayers and date them. As they see answers to their prayers, they can write a thank you by the prayer. These answers they see help them to trust Jesus more and more. Then, do what Jesus is asking you to do. Is there something you are putting off? Is there something you need to get rid of in your life, and you are hanging on? Do that–it will clear your conscience and give you peace in that area.

Ultimately, doubt comes from the devil. He will put ideas into your mind like “Did you really say the right words when you prayed the prayer?” “Did you mean what you said?” “Did Jesus really say…..?” Just tell him to get lost. You have a relationship with Jesus, you are trusting Him (not yourself), and our relationship depends on the faithfulness of Jesus more than ours. Then whenever you realize you’ve sinned, confess it “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9) and move on. Jesus is holding onto you!

 

Why Don’t I Feel Close to Jesus?

September 16, 2017

 

Closeness to Jesus is more than praying a prayer. It is beginning a relationship. As in any relationship, you want to get to know who it is in the boat with you. You can read about Jesus in the gospels and epistles of the bible. He was really here on this earth, and he had real teachings, thoughts, emotions, promises. Read what he did and see that he backed up everything he claimed to be. Do you believe him? Are you willing to get in the boat with him and trust where he takes you? Will you stay with him?

When you are ready to commit to Jesus, you have to repent of going your own way instead of his way. Just like in marriage, you have to give up the old loves. You have to give up everyone and everything that is offensive to Jesus. That is what repentance means. Many people wonder why they don’t feel close to Jesus, and it is because too much is sitting in the room between them. I have no way of knowing what he is asking you to leave behind, but everyone is asked to leave something. You can’t have one foot in the relationship, and one foot carrying on another life outside the relationship. You can’t feel close to a spouse that way, and you can’t feel close to Jesus that way.

You have to communicate. It is an amazing thing, but when you start talking to Jesus with real honest communication, things happen. Things happen in your life that changes things for the better, you have thoughts you never had, people come into your life you didn’t know before, and you begin to know the power of this new relationship. So talk to Jesus all the time. If you’ve asked him into your life as Savior, he comes in forever. His Holy Spirit dwells within. Jesus accepts you just as you are, but he loves you too much to leave your life with the dull, colorless spirit it had before.

Yes, it’s so much more than a prayer. Its a lifelong relationship of commitment, love, and working together with an invisible but very present and powerful partner.