5 Ways to Deepen Your Desire in Prayer

Prayer A to Z

Desire is the beginning and the basis of prayer. We cannot pray at all without desire. Now if you want to really deepen your prayer life, you must deepen your desire in prayer. Here are five ways to do it.

1. Pray for desire. Since prayers are somewhat meaningless without desire, if you have just a little desire, I think it would be wise to focus that desire in praying for more desire.  While you are praying you may discover that your lack of desire is even worse than you thought—because you may not feel much like praying at all, for anything!  If that’s the case, it may be that God is already at work in you to answer your prayer. He is creating in you what is necessary to have desire—recognition of your need, which is your first step to achieve it.

Your next step is to focus your…

View original post 456 more words

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Luke 7:28-35

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Luke 7:28-35

This is our twenty-third study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.

Luke 7:28-35

28 “I say to you, among those born of women, there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  29 And when all the people and the tax-gatherers heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John. 31 “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? 32 “They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another; and they say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ 33 “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ 34 “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking; and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ 35 “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

Observations

Jesus here observed the Pharisees’ childish behavior. They rebuked His behavior of eating and drinking with sinners in order to befriend them. But they also rejected John’s more rigid behavior of abstinence, a behavior that they said Jesus should have. This reveals that they were rejecting anyone who was a true believer in God. They were revealing their pagan nature.

Application

We should be able to judge whether a person is a true Christian or not by their attitude toward good Christians. A pagan, like the Pharisees will always have a negative attitude toward any true Christian; they will always find something wrong with them.

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Luke 5:17-26

This is our twenty-second study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.

Luke 5:17-26

17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”  25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Observations

It is very interesting that so many Pharisees came to hear his teaching. Why did they come? Did they really want to hear his teaching, or to catch Him in a sin? When Jesus said to the man, “Your sins are forgiven, they immediately thought that they had caught Him at blasphemy. But Jesus confirmed His qualifications to them by also healing the man.

Application

You should never absolutely trust someone’s loyalty, just because they come to hear you like the Pharisees did to Jesus. Those who are loyal to Jesus and truly believe in Him will humble themselves and be converted. Jesus was always suspicious of the Pharisees, yet He never gave up on them—and a few were saved.

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 27:62-64

This is our twenty-first study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.

Matthew 27:62-64

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

Observations

The Pharisees called Jesus “that deceiver”.  They regarded Him as an evil deceiver—like the antichrist will be. They had it all backwards. They were calling what is good evil and what is evil good. And they asked Pilot to place guards around the tomb. I wonder if they really thought that He would not be raised and that Jesus’ followers would steal him away. Or if they were trying to prevent Jesus from escaping in case He was resurrected. Either way, they were trying to protect themselves, to keep their right standing intact. They didn’t want to be thought of as liars or false teachers.

Application

Beware of false teachers like the Pharisees. They will be whatever it takes to keep their reputation intact.

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:29-31

This is our twentieth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.

Matthew 23:29-31

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.

Observations

By decorating the graves of the prophets, that indicates to me that they were trying to put on a show of self-righteousness, and even trying to cover up their own sins. And when they said, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets,’ they were not being honest.  John MacArthur has stated, “[This was] a ridiculous claim to self-righteousness when they were already plotting the murder of the Messiah (cf. Jn. 11:47-53).”

Application

It is better to face up to the sins of your descendance and not try to say that you would have lived better. I think we should instead be like Daniel who confessed before God the sins of his people (Dan 9:5-6)—even though he himself was innocent.

We Desire God because God Desires Us

Prayer A to Z

According to Tozer, “… Before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.”  God’s work of enlightenment within us, therefore, is the secret cause of all our desiring and seeking and praying.  Tozer says, “We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.”2

From the beginning of time God has been seeking men and women who have a heart like His so that they would desire Him and do his will (1 Sam. 13:14, Acts 13:22, Isa. 65:2). There is, however, only one way that anyone can truly desire Him with a pure heart: it is by accepting God’s Son and resting in Him, thus by allowing Him to transform them and renew their heart and mind (Romans 12:2).

Now the way it works, the way God makes us desire Him is through…

View original post 161 more words

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:27-28

This is our nineteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.

Matthew 23:27-28

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Observations

The explanation of Jesus is quite clear. The Pharisees worked to make themselves look good and righteous, but inside their heart they were spiritually dead, and therefore all their attempts to make themselves look righteous were wicked and hypocritical. They were phonies, people in masks. People who could not be trusted, unreliable.  

Application

We ought always to watch out for these types of people. We should do what we can to test them. And if we are thinking about going to a church, always ask questions about the pastor and teachers. As for professors of a college, it may be harder to get around those who you think are as Pharisees, but in most cases you can do what they say, but you don’t have to do what they do.

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:25-26

This is our eighteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.

Matthew 23:25-26

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Observations

The Pharisees lived as if external appearances were more important than what was inside of the life. They cared more about appearances than about the heart. They cared more about the body than the soul. Of course, they cared nothing about the soul because they were not converted; they had no spiritual life in them. All they knew to do was to clean up what they could see and what other could see. They were blind to God. They had no spiritual eyes.

Application

If we want to be pure and holy for the Lord we must start with the inside of the live. First, give yourself to God and His son. Believe in Him. Then use His word to clean up your heart and soul, and your mind and thoughts. And pray regularly.  As you do this you will find that your body will be healthier too.

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:23-24

This is our seventeenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will look at how the Pharisees tithed.

Matthew 23:23-24

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Observations

It is a little puzzling to me why the Pharisees concentrated on the little things as the spices but neglected the larger and spiritual things. But here are my ideas. Maybe they thought people would be impressed with them, that they were so diligent in giving a tenth of their spices; or maybe it was all they knew how to do; they were just doing things as they were taught. As for neglecting the larger things of justice, mercy and faith, I suggest that it was because they were unconverted and they did not understand those spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).

Application

We should regard first the things of the Spirit and His kingdom. First give your life totally to Him and then He will direct you in what else to do. Never do things to impress people, but only to obey God in love.

Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:13-15

This is our sixteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will look at how evil the Pharisees were.

Matthew 23:13, 15

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

Observations

The Pharisees must have known how to enter heaven, or else they would not know how to shut it off to others. It wasn’t out of ignorance that they missed heaven. They plain out rejected it. And when they made converts, they made them not for heaven but for hell. It sounds to me like they had some kind of a bitterness against God and His Son that they would be so rejecting of God.

Application

Beware of this kind of teacher. And stir others away from this kind of teacher, who will try to keep them from true conversion to God.