Charles Stanley – Hindrances in Prayer

 

James 1:6-8

If we have an inaccurate perspective of God, it could cause us to think that He isn’t interested in our needs and concerns. On the contrary, the Lord invites us to pray, because He delights in providing for us—and He stands ready to do so. However, different types of hindrances can block the effectiveness of our prayers.

Ignorance of God’s will for our life and the specific circumstances we are facing is one such obstacle. His affirmative answers come when our petitions are in agreement with His purposes for us (1 John 5:14-15). Even if Scripture does not specifically address our situation, we can always ask the Lord to fill us with “the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9).

Selfish motives are another hindrance to answered prayer (James 4:3). Sometimes we’re more concerned about getting the Lord to do what we want than we are about submitting to His will in the situation.

Doubts about God and His faithfulness also keep us from experiencing answered prayer. Low expectations and uncertainty are like intruders in our conversations with Him because they short-circuit faith. Doubts may originate from listening to the wrong voices, embracing false beliefs, or focusing on the difficulty instead of the power, wisdom, and faithfulness of the Lord.

Effective prayer begins with trust in God and an awareness of His ways. Otherwise, skepticism may sneak into our thinking if He delays His answer or responds in an unexpected way. But when our prayers are aligned with His will and motivated by a desire to glorify Him, doubts will vanish.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 26-28

 

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Our Daily Bread — An Alternative to Worry

 

Read: Matthew 6:25–34 | Bible in a Year: Genesis 20–22; Matthew 6:19–34

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27

A law-abiding, honest man received a voicemail that said, “This is officer _______ from the police department. Please call me at this number.” Immediately the man began to worry—afraid that somehow he had done something wrong. He was afraid to return the call, and he even spent sleepless nights running through possible scenarios—worried that he was in some kind of trouble. The officer never called back, but it took weeks for the worry to go away.

Jesus asked an interesting question about worry: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27). Perhaps this can help us rethink our tendency to worry, because it suggests that it doesn’t help the situation we’re concerned about.

When problems are on the horizon for us, maybe we can try the following two-step approach: Take action and trust in God. If we can do something to avoid the problem, let’s try that route. We can pray for God to guide us to an action we should take. But if there’s nothing we can do, we can take comfort in knowing that God never finds Himself in such a predicament. He can always act on our behalf. We can always turn our situation over to Him in trust and confidence.

When it feels like time to worry, may we turn to the inspired words of King David, who faced his own share of difficulties and worries, but concluded: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). What a great alternative to worry!

What worries do you need to give to God today?

Father, You know what faces me today. I am turning my cares over to You. Please strengthen me and help me to trust You with the struggles I face.

By Dave Branon

INSIGHT

Matthew 6:19–34 emphasizes that true discipleship requires a lifestyle in which all we do is unified by our love for God. In verse 22, for example, Jesus suggests that, just as an eye defect distorts our whole vision, so our entire being becomes corrupted when our priorities are distorted. It’s impossible, He emphasizes, to be devoted to more than one “master” (v. 24).

This, Jesus suggests, is why worry can be so dangerous. It’s only natural to feel anxiety, but when worry is what drives us, devotion to our own peace of mind may have replaced a single-minded devotion to God and the just ways of His kingdom.

Monica Brands

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Can You Be a Scientist and Believe in God?

John Lennox responds to common misunderstandings about science and Christianity in an excerpt from his new book, “Can Science Explain Everything?”

This is an edited extract from Can Science Explain Everything? by John C Lennox (January 2019). The book is the first of a series in a joint venture with the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, Zacharias Institute, and The Good Book Company.

“Surely you can’t be a scientist and believe in God these days?”

It’s a viewpoint I have heard expressed by many people over the years. But I suspect that it is often the unspoken doubt that stops many from engaging seriously with serious thinkers about both science and God.

In reply, I like to ask a very scientific question: “Why not?”

“Well,” the answer comes back, “science has given us such marvelous explanations of the universe and demonstrates that God is just not necessary. Belief in God is old fashioned. It belongs to the days when people didn’t really understand the universe, and just took the lazy way out and said that ‘God did it.’ That sort of ‘God of the gaps thinking’ simply won’t do any more. Indeed, the sooner we get rid of God and religion, the better.”

I sigh inwardly, and prepare myself for a long conversation in which I try to untangle the many assumptions, misunderstandings and half-truths that have been absorbed uncritically from the cultural soup we swim in.

A COMMON VIEWPOINT

It’s not surprising that this viewpoint is so common that it has become the default position for many, if not most; it’s a viewpoint supported by some powerful voices. Stephen Weinberg, for example, a Physics Nobel Prize winner said,

The world needs to wake up from the long nightmare of religion. Anything we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilisation.1

I hope you didn’t miss the rather sinister-sounding totalitarian element in this statement: “anything we scientists can do…”

This attitude is not new. I first met it fifty years ago while studying at Cambridge University. I found myself at a formal college dinner sitting beside another Nobel Prize winner. I had never met a scientist of such distinction before and, in order to gain the most from the conversation, I tried to ask him some questions. For instance, how did his science shape his worldview—his big picture of the status and meaning of the universe? In particular, I was interested in whether his wide-ranging studies had led him to reflect on the existence of God.

It was clear that he was not comfortable with that question, and I immediately backed off. However, at the end of the meal, he invited me to come to his study. He had also invited two or three other senior academics but no other students. I was invited to sit, and, so far as I recall, they remained standing.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Can You Be a Scientist and Believe in God?

Joyce Meyer – Making a Trust Confession

 

The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him. — Nahum 1:7 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The power of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

When you choose to confess and meditate on the thought, I trust God completely; there is no need to worry, you will eventually form a new mindset that will enable you to put your trust in God with ease.

You will habitually look for what is good and magnify it, thanking God for each victory along the way. Life is very enjoyable when we decide to pray about everything and worry about nothing.

Don’t be discouraged if forming mindsets seems difficult in the beginning. You may have to say that you will trust God and not worry 1,000 times before you start to feel the effects of doing it.

Just remember that each time you think and say the thing that agrees with God, you are making progress. Satan will relentlessly try to get you to give up, but if you will relentlessly decide to trust God, I guarantee that you will see the result in due time.

Prayer Starter: I thank You, Father, that You are trustworthy and I can depend on You in every area of my life. I trust that You can handle any and every problem I’m facing. I won’t worry; I will trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Your Plans and Paths

 

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at things of God: But They delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on His laws and thinking about ways to follow Him more closely. They are like trees along a river bank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1-3).

Of all the great promises from God’s Word, I claim none more frequently than these. As I focus on the attributes of God, I truly “delight myself in the Lord” and experience the full, adventuresome life which our Lord promised.

The psalmist expands on what it means to delight ourselves in the Lord. Note these three things: First, we should delight in doing everything God wants us to do; second, day and night we should meditate on His laws; and third, we should always be thinking about ways to follow Him more closely.

Sam had been a loser all of his life, a failure in everything that he attempted. As a result he had developed a very poor self-image and a defeatist attitude.

“Can you help me?” he pleaded. “I really don’t know what to do – I am about ready to give up.”

Together we read and discussed Psalm 1. He agreed to delight himself in the Lord and to follow the three-fold formula for spiritual success found in this psalm. Immediately his life began to change and within six months the results were dramatic.

“I begin every day delighting myself in the Lord,” he said. “I spend special time studying and memorizing God’s Word, telling Him that I want to do everything he wants me to, and I am always thinking about ways to follow Him more closely.

“I am no longer discouraged and defeated. My self-respect and confidence have been restored and I am truly experiencing the fulfillment of God’s promise: ‘All you do shall prosper.'”

The successful, fruitful, joyful Christian who lives a supernatural life is one whose thoughts are focused on our wonderful God and His attributes, who knows and obeys His Word and who delights himself in Him.

Bible Reading:Proverbs 3:1-6

Today’s Action Point: I determine with the help of the Holy Spirit to delight myself daily in the Lord and experience the reality of His promise, “All you do shall prosper.”

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Fear of Disappointing God

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“A person can request forgiveness only so many times,” contends our common sense.  If the devil can convince us that God’s grace has limited funds, we’ll draw the logical conclusion.  The account is empty; we have no access to God.

“Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” Jesus spoke these words to a paraplegic in Matthew 9:2. Jesus was thinking about our deepest problem–  sin.  He was considering our deepest fear–  the fear of failing God.  God keeps no list of our wrongs.  His love casts out fear because he casts out sin!  I John 3:20 says, “If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.”

Read more Fearless

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – “The legend of Trevor Lawrence has only just begun”

Clemson routed Alabama last night to win its second national title in three years. I’ve been watching college football for fifty years and have never seen a performance like the game their quarterback played.

Trevor Lawrence, a nineteen-year-old freshman, was named the Most Valuable Player. He is already being hailed as a once-in-a-generation talent. Now, after a performance for the ages, ESPN tells us this morning that “the legend of Trevor Lawrence has only just begun.”

The best part of the story isn’t the part that’s making headlines today.

When Lawrence was named Clemson’s starting quarterback last September, reporters asked how he stays so calm during games. “That’s just always my personality,” he explained. “Football’s important to me, but it’s not my life. It’s not the biggest thing in my life. I would say my faith is.”

He added: “I put my identity in what Christ says, who He thinks I am and who I know that He says I am.”

“Share a nanosecond of celebration”

There’s always more good news than makes the news.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof agrees. The title of his latest article makes his point: “Why 2018 Was the Best Year in Human History!”

Kristof claims that the world’s population is living longer and better than ever before. For instance, each day on average:

  • 295,000 people gain access to electricity for the first time.
  • 305,000 people are able to access clean drinking water for the first time.
  • 620,000 people are able to get online for the first time.
  • Only about 4 percent of children worldwide die by the age of five, down from 19 percent in 1960.
  • Fewer than 10 percent of the world’s population live in extreme poverty, down from more than 50 percent in the 1950s.

Continue reading Denison Forum – “The legend of Trevor Lawrence has only just begun”