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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to Have Overcoming Faith by Mediating on God's Word

By Philip C Jones

How to have overcoming faith by meditating on God's Word? Let's begin. "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith" (Mark 11:23 KJV).

This is an awesome promise. Jesus Christ is saying you can say things and they will come to pass if you believe it in your heart and not doubt. But to act on this scripture with great faith you would want to meditate on this scripture for your faith in it to grow. So, if you meditated on this scripture properly, then eventually faith would come to your heart and you would believe that what you would say would come to pass. Let's use this scripture verse as an example of how to meditate God's Word properly to receive revelation knowledge to have great faith in a scripture. You would read not just this scripture, but you would read the entire chapter 11 over and over again. You would ask God the Father in Jesus' name to give you revelation knowledge of this chapter as well as the promise scripture Mark 11:23. You would also pray in tongues over this chapter. Let's continue learning how to have overcoming faith by meditating on God's Word.

So, this is how you meditate scriptures in the Bible to receive revelation knowledge for your faith to develop in God's Word, especially His promises. Also, as you meditate in a chapter, psalm or proverb, God can reveal to you the subject(s) and objective(s) of each chapter,psalm or proverb. This greatly enhances your knowledge of the Bible and your faith in God's Word.

Don't believe in praying in tongues? You need to read Acts 2:4;10:44-47, Romans 8:26-27, 1 Corinthians 14:18 and Jude 20-21.

By taking an entire chapter and meditating it you allow the Holy Spirit to give you the overall revelation picture of of the passage. Then you can single out one scripture and have a better understanding of it as it relates to the other scriptures in the chapter, psalm or proverb. And of course your faith will grow in the scripture promise you have selected.

Use this successful meditation process throughout the Bible, taking a chapter, psalm (psalm 119 is very long, so break it down into passage segments) or proverb and meditate on them so revelation and faith will manifest. Then act on God's Word and speak God's Word with bold faith and see your faith bring substance to what you hoped to come to pass. What happens when you speak God's Word in faith? God's Word is like a fire and will burn up the destructive thorns in your heart that would strangle the success productivity of God's Word in your life. God's Word is like a hammer and when spoken in faith will crack and demolish any rock of defeat or lack in your heart. God's Word spoken in faith will paint and create a victorious fruit bearing Christ-like image in you that is well pleasing to God.

"Is not my word like a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces" (Jeremiah 23:29 KJV)?

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Philip C Jones writes online Christian articles to teach Christians how to live by faith and live holy fruit bearing lives.

This article may be reprinted or used freely, but it must be in its entirety including the resource box.

New bishop of Austin appointed

Austin's Catholic Diocese has a new bishop.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Christian Prayer - How is Your Prayer Life?

By Robert Baines

Christian prayer is a reference to a believer communicating with God, often by speaking or thinking. It is essential to Christian growth. The following are my suggestions regarding Christian prayer:

1. Understand times and types of prayer

- Morning. In the morning is a good time to thank the Lord for letting you make it through the night. It is my longest and devotional prayer. I use the ACTS formula that we will discuss below.

- Meals. Before every meal you ought to tell the Lord "thank You" and ask Him to bless the food that you are about to eat. A long, head bowed, and eye closed prayer is not necessary, especially, if I am hungry (smile).

- Bed. Before you retire for the evening, you ought to tell the Lord "thank You" for another day. I often pray a shorter version of the ACTS formula that we will discuss below. I like to get on my knees, bow my head, and close my eyes, in total submission to God.

- Worship. In the worship service, you should pray silently, while others are leading you in prayer. In some churches, people are asked to pray out loud and all together. And sometimes they read a prayer together.

- Trouble. In the times of trouble, we tend to move past "saying prayers" to actually "praying." Thank God, God is able to hear us all at the same time and work things out for our good.

- Special. When special decisions need to be made or you simply feel like praying, pray. When someone asks you to pray for them, pray.

2. Use A.C.T.S.

- Adoration. Christian prayer should express to God that you are aware that He is the creator and sustainer of the whole universe. Acknowledge that it has been the Lord who has brought you this far and not yourself.

- Confession. Tell God that you have sinned. Name some of those that come to mind. Tell Him that you are sorry. Ask Him to forgive you because of Jesus' suffering for your pardon.

- Thanksgiving. Tell God "thank You" for the many blessings that He has showered in your life. Thank Him for food, clothing, and shelter. Thank Him for life, health, and strength. Tell Him "thank You" for keeping mean people from snuffing your life away.

- Supplication. Ask God to supply the needs of others. This is intercessory prayer. Make sure you ask God to bless your Pastor and church. Ask God to bless your family and loved ones. Even ask God to bless and have His way with those who cause stress in your life.

And then ask God to meet your needs. Ask Him to fix what is broke and smooth out the rough places. But most of all, ask God to have His way in your life. When God has His way, He will always do what is best for His people.

I often pray using the ATCS model. I put adoration and thanksgiving close and then follow with confession and supplication. There are times when after I finish adoring God, thanking Him, and confessing to Him that I am almost ashamed to ask Him for anything else.

In summary, understand that there are times and types of prayers. The acronym ACTS is a nice guide in praying.

Dr. Robert E. Baines, Jr. uses his doctorate of ministry degree and twenty years of pastoral experience to provide quality and helpful Christian living information to 1,000's of visitors a month. Make sure you secure your free copy of his ebooklet, "How to Encourage Yourself: 21 Practical Tips," and sign up for his newsletter that features great articles, helpful devotionals, and Bible based teaching notes at http://www.RobertBaines.com.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How To Pray Article Series: Frequently Asked Questions About The Rosary, Novenas, And Fasting

In learning how to pray, we come across popular topics such as the rosary, novenas, and fasting. There are numerous questions about these three topics, and below are some of the frequently asked questions and their answers.

• In praying the rosary, when going to the next set of mysteries, do you have to repeat the 3 Hail Marys and 1 Our Father?

No, you don’t have to repeat the 3 Hail Marys and 1 Our Father. Just go back to the first decade, the first set of 10 beads, and start the new set of mysteries.

• In praying the novena, do I always have to pray in the same time or place?

No, you don’t have to pray in the same time or place. You can pray the novena anytime and anywhere. However, there are some novenas that are usually prayed in the church, an example is the novena to the Mother of Perpetual Help, which is prayed every Wednesday, before or after mass
Always read the instructions on how to pray a specific novena. Some novenas have a specified time while some are at a specific day.

• Does the length of time in fasting matter?

For me, I don’t think the length of time for fasting matters. Fasting is about the condition of the heart and your motive on why you are fasting.

You should start slow if it is your first time to fast. Start with a meal a day then gradually progress to a day in a week to a week in a month. Let your body be used to the condition first. You can compare it to physical exercise where in you cannot immediately use the treadmill for an hour if it’s your first time. With fasting, you have to build up your spiritual muscles first so that you will be prepared to fast for longer periods of time later.

• Is it ok to drink water while fasting?

You can take water, you can even take juice especially when you plan on fasting for several days since this will be your source of energy. If you plan to fast for several days, it is best to consult your doctor first.

According to Dr. Bill Bright, “water-only fasts that last for more than several days need to be undertaken with complete rest and under medical supervision because of the extreme danger of over-toxification, breakdown of vital body tissues, and loss of electrolytes”.

• Do I have to spend my whole time of fasting in prayer?

Fasting is a time to communicate intimately with God so the more time you spend with Him in fellowship, worship, and adoration, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the more effective and meaningful your fast will be. It’s up to you to arrange your schedule according to where you plan to spend your fasting.

By: Babes TanMagkalas

Have you been praying for something for a very long time and still your prayer hasn't been granted? Go to www.how-to-pray-effectively.com and learn how to pray & develop a close relationship with God. Please also visit my blog for the answers to your biggest questions about prayer.

God Listens to Unworthy People!

By Timothy O. Smith

As Christians we want to be perfect, make no mistakes, and certainly not sin. It breaks our heart even the idea of such failure. There are those times unfortunately when we do fall, we sin. Thank God scripture says we have an advocate with the Father. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness." If we love Jesus we are not trying to get away with sin, rather we want to get away from sin. It is precisely because of that love we beat ourselves up so much over our failures. Sometimes it is just hard to forgive myself, to cut myself some slack. I am not in anyway trying to excuse the failure but at the same time I can not continue to remind myself of past failures, live in the pain of that past failure when God has already forgotten it. If I confessed it God has forgotten it and I should do the same.

I went for a walk one morning to pray. I often walk when I pray. The day before I had sinned, I failed my King, but as I went to pray little did I know the lesson and the victory that was about to be mine. As I walked, I had not gotten very far before this thought came to me. God is not going to hear you because you are unworthy. You know what you did yesterday. I then did something that I did not normally do in response to those kind of thoughts. I actually said this out loud, You are right I am unworthy to be heard but you are not telling me the whole story. He is not listening to me because I am worthy to be heard, He is listening to me because He wants to! If God wants to listen to unworthy people that is His business! You know what? That little voice has left and has never returned and it has been years now since this happened. PRAISE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST!

My response to those kind of thoughts in the past would have been much different. I probably would have agreed that I was unworthy and lived in the pain of that thought for days, and weeks, months even. Enough time would have had to pass so the memory of the failure began to be forgotten by me. That is a recipe for a long, fruitless, painful life. My response that particular morning was different. That is all it took. A different response based on the word of God and not based on my own assessment of myself.

My encouragement to you is this. If there is sin in your life confess it, deal with it now. Then determine as an act of your will that you are simply not going to keep rehearsing the memory of it against yourself anymore. Righteousness is ours as a gift because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. God is the One who establishes my status before Him, not me! We need to just enter into what He has declared is already ours.

Bottom line is this; God listens to me because He loves me and that love was not initiated by my worth. It is initiated from somewhere deep in His own heart and His love for me was there even before I was born. So the next time a little voice whispers to you that you are unworthy to be heard. Say it out loud. God listens to me because He wants to, and if He wants to listen to unworthy people that is His business. Amen!

Article written by Timothy O. Smith at www.limitlessreality.blogspot.com
If you long for a deeper Christian life and greater spiritual maturity, click on the link to discover unique insights gained from a personal journey that will help you on your journey into the grace God.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sadness, Anger, and the Almighty God

By Steve Wickham

Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
~Psalm 126:5 (NIV).

Some people search high and low for the purist knowledge of the heart of God--to experience it personally. They're the most fervent seekers. And every true believer wants this, surely. They want the outcome. So, why do we miss out?

God wants us to feel as he feels. Yet, we struggle with that on all sorts of levels. One of the most obvious levels we struggle with it is in our sinful pride. (It's enough to illustrate.) We can't even get off the batter's plate and on our way to first base because we can't genuinely feel how God feels for his world and his people--his perfect holiness excludes us from entering in; in that state.

Getting further down into the problem there's a more acute issue we all must face. That is our own primary emotions. These are the very things we've skilfully learned to repress. We'd swap sadness for anger any day of the week, unless that is, if sadness was forced upon us. Yet, the pure primary emotion i.e. sadness is a necessary pre-requisite to truly entering God's Presence.

Enter the miracle. Anyone who's experienced genuinely raw sadness--with the Presence of God--has already experienced the wonderfully calming emotion necessary for healing. The lesson we learn is such transparency before God finds his all-encompassing embrace; even in repudiating sadness God's Presence is a majestically captivating thing. This is the first and most important hint in feeling as God feels--to connect with him.

This sadness is not self-pity. This sadness is a one hundred percent "accepting" sorrow poured out as a sacrifice to God. This is surely the experience of the psalmist, sowing in tears, yet reaping joy!

The trouble is we reject sadness because it pains us. The prize that we get, however, is an angry heart--the caustic secondary emotion. We swap something holy for something evil because it requires a lot of courage from us to handle the holy thing. We flinch at it by default.

Sadness is holy. It goes with God. It's real to life as God is real to life.

Anger interrupts the sadness; it forces and cajoles the sadness, abusing it, pushing it ever away. Anger is sickened to the back teeth by sadness. Anger gives us the feeling we're in control--able to take charge--when in fact it's a base weakness because anger's actually a very difficult thing to control. Who amongst us has ever harnessed their anger on a consistent basis?

Yet, sadness--true pure sadness that's experienced with God--is healing. To feel sadness at will (and when it's with God it's suddenly a highly desirable thing) is a self-mastery at the highest emotional and spiritual percentile; Mensa-level spiritual intelligence quotient.

Tears sown in pure sadness have a holy and necessary surrender about them. Surrender is crucial. It's another pre-requisite in experiencing God's Presence.

And yet, we have another challenge. This time it's one that the world casts at us. To feel this pure sadness in the face of a macho, mocking world requires a moral courage of the finest order; a true faith where God truly resides on the pedestal of the heart.

Strangely these days we don't just find machoism in men; it is women too who'll bark, 'Toughen up, Princess!' No wonder these so-called 'tough people' have anger management problems. What toughen-up-princess-person would have the strength to face such opposition? No, they'll be much happier found safely tucked away in their "tough" click groups thank you very much!

The trouble for "tough" people, in the midst of people experiencing pure sadness, is they're all of a sudden forced to face up to their own emotions--their own indelible sadness's that haunt--the truths that are always being denied. With that discomfort comes the easier, safer option to scowl-down the person having the pure sadness and call them a "princess." But who's the real princess? Their anger has the better of them and this creates a world of serious problems that I shan't go into here.

So, what's all this got to do with feeling the heart of God? Now we get to the point.

If we can feel our own genuine sadness's with God, then perhaps we'll also feel the gentle tug of the Almighty regarding the plight of other people and their genuine sadness's; individuals, situations and the world at large. When the penny drops--even for a moment--God's light blinds us and the outcome is the rampant mobbing of tears and a blubbering empathy unfolds. That's got to be the heart of God; feeling as he does; an antecedent for motivated action; faith producing good works. And this place doesn't have limits. There are unlimited sadness's that God seeks to share with us. We are, after all, his only instruments for the time being. And to this we add, the heart of God is infinite.

We intercede for our family, friends and neighbours, co-workers, and people in war-torn and natural disaster areas. We have authentic tears of sadness for the plight they're in. It's an overwhelming and true burden for others we need.

(I have to admit that it is a struggle to genuinely and authentically intercede like this, continually. The heart of God is a sacred place only those with holy hearts--in the moment--can enter. All too often, I say sadly, my heart's not holy enough--not urgent enough for the needs of others. But now I have a model that he's given me!)

It's a gross world we live in, ripping itself apart in fits of anger. But, there's also an opposite reality of the people of God; the peacemakers, the empathisers, champions and advocates--assisting those poor of spirit. These too are saddened to their own spiritual deaths at the prideful fear of those wilfully out-of-control, wreaking havoc, and destroying lives--including their own.

Sadness, anger and the Almighty: anger, the erroneous default; sadness, the key that unlocks the door. But sadness is only the start; but a healing start at that! Once there we go on to intercede from the very heart of the Almighty.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Steve Wickham is a Registered Safety Practitioner (BSc, MSIA, RSP) and a qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min). His blogs are at: http://tribework.blogspot.com and http://inspiringbetterlife.blogspot.com.

How Do You "Light Up Your World?"

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about the eye being the lamp of the body. A strict reading of this scripture shows that he's talking about generosity, selfishness, and what we truly hold dear...material possessions and money, or God.

But what if we put this in the context of our outlook on life, on what we allow to shine through us, in what we show the world we regard as important through our attitudes and thoughts?

A friend on Facebook posted this as a status update: "If your "Eye" (your outlook on life, your whole way of looking at things) is generous, then your whole personality will be illuminated or lit up."

If we could just internalize this one thought, the influence we could have on our world would be tremendous!

  • Long line in the grocery store? No worries. Our spirits are generous and we shine a light of peace to those around us. No more huffing and snarling as we wait our turn.
  • The customer service representative is snarky and a little rude? We don't immediately jump on him in like response. We engage him in a little conversation as he works on our problem and find out he's been manning the phones on a double shift and is tired. We bless him with our encouragement and thank him for his time.
  • The driver up ahead is poking along at 20 miles per hour and you can't get around the car. You breathe in the peace of God and realize, once you do have the opportunity to pass, that it's an elderly woman doing the best she can. You breathe a prayer for her because soon, that's going to be you.
  • You feel the compulsion to correct your husband or wife yet again on a behavior that drives you nuts. Step back and look at it...is it really that important? I look at my husband's socks on the floor as a blessing. He is still with me. One day, I'm going to miss those socks.

Let me encourage each of you to let your "eye" reflect an inner peace and love of God to everyone you come into contact with. It was this very love that changed a world 2,000 years ago.

It is a love that can change our world today.

"I am giving you a new command: that you keep on loving each other. In the same way that I have loved you, you are also to keep on loving each other. Everyone will know that you are my talmidim (disciples) by the fact that you have love for each other." (John 13:34-35 The Complete Jewish Bible)

Hanne Moon is the owner of Thru His Grace Writing & Editing Services, LLC. She provides proofreading and editing services, ebook creation, layout and design, and ghostwriting. You can see other examples of her writing at Faithwriters at http://faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=32128