Discernment

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ. Philippians 1:9-10

This is the second prayer from the New Testament in as many days. It too should be memorized and prayed over people. How desperately we need discernment and purity in the present age. There are just so many moral, financial, social, and ethical decisions we need to make. We need the wisdom that brings discernment. It’s a prayer we can plead with God over our own lives.

I believe we’re entering an extremely difficult time financially as a nation (actually throughout the world) and it may become very very tempting to fudge a bit, to cut corners just to scrimp and save all you can. I suspect that even our moral and ethical foundations will be challenged and tested. People will be watching us. Our lives will be an example for those who are watching. People are hungry for truth, for someone who actually “walks the talk.”

Begin to make a list of prayers in the Bible. I will be discussing them in the days to come. Then one by one, memorize them. Recite them over and over and over again. Then begin praying them over people. They will absolutely love you for it. 

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Using the Bible in Prayer

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. Colossians 1:9-12

If you’re like me, you can get “stuck” when you pray. The words won’t come easily or you don’t know how to pray in a given situation. These few verses are powerful when you have someone in mind and pray for that person by name with these verses. Even if you were to dissect it and pray for the person “from comma to comma”, it would be an incredibly strong blessing on that person.

For instance, how I would have loved to have someone praying that I would “grow in the knowledge of God” as a new Believer. Or how about that I would “bear fruit in every good work?” Being able to “please God in every way” seems like a laudable goal to pray for someone.

So, why is this more powerful than merely praying your own words? First, it helps you to focus. As you’re praying through this, you are picturing in your mind’s eye what it would look like if this person “grew in the knowledge of God” for example. Second, it’s the Word of God. What can be more potent than praying the Word of God over someone?

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Get Wisdom

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers. Proverbs 19:8

The older I get the more I find that wisdom is an extremely valuable thing to have.  When we’re young and impressionable, wisdom is a boring and tedious subject. We do foolish things when we’re young. But we’re also more daring and not afraid to try new and risky things (if you find yourself saying “I’m too old to do that,” you’re not young anymore!). Then as life happens to us, we are more reserved and cautious.

Wisdom in life is different. Making wise choices is difficult when we’re faced with hundreds of choices every day. Some are small and uncomplicated (what to wear in the morning), while others take more thought (what school to go to, what person to marry, etc). You rarely have ALL of the facts but are expected to make an educated choice. It takes wisdom! In fact, if you think about it, where you are today is a result of hundreds of choices you’ve made in your life. Some were great; some were good; others you’d like a “do-over” because they were so poor.

Even if you’ve made a wrong choice, you can correct course and get back on track. Every single time you can do that! One part of wisdom, then, is knowing (and acknowledging) that you’ve made a wrong choice and having the humility to correct it.

So when you’re faced with a difficult decision, “he should ask God, who gives [wisdom] generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

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Foolishness or Power of God

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Is it any wonder “they” don’t believe!

This man:

  • Claimed to be God, the Son of God, and Messiah
  • Was born of a virgin
  • Turned water into wine and walked on water
  • Raised the lame and dead
  • Cast out demons
  • Healed the sick
  • Lived a sinless life for 33 years
  • Preached for three years
  • Foretold of his impending death on a cross
  • Predicted that he would be raised to life and ascend to the Throne of God
  • Taught that if you believed in Him, your sins would be forgiven and you would have eternal life.

Foolishness or power of God? If you get annoyed or disgusted with that list, it’s probably foolishness to you. If, however, you feel energized after reading the list, it’s as the Scripture states, the power of God.

Our task as Believers is to help “them” make the transition from thinking the message of the cross is foolishness to believing it to be the power of God. Impossible task? Not really. The Man described above will show us how.

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Still Seeking

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” John 10:22-24

Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see regular people approach Jesus and talk to him. They saw him preach somewhere and they just want a better vantage point to observe and evaluate. Certainly other teachers had come through before and played a good game, but this Jesus man, he was different.

When He spoke, He spoke with authority.
He cast out demons with authority.
He healed the sick with authority.
He taught with authority.
He chose 12 followers who weren’t teachers or leaders; they were unusual but interesting choices.
And he could converse with everyday Joes and Jills.

Not much has changed in 2000 years. People of all stripes and kinds seek Him, some skeptical, some truly seeking. They follow Him from a distance just to be sure he’s the real deal. They notice His followers and how they act.

Look around some time and observe some of the seemingly irrational behavior of others (e.g., the spiked green hair on the teen or the fling that the middle-aged man is having is considered irrational behavior. They are seekers in the truest sense of the word. They are searching. They may even lie awake at night hoping to find the truth soon, before it’s too late.

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