When the Holy Spirit gives you a burden He also gives you the responsibility to hold it and carry it along. For this reason, you must listen closely to the voice of God and give attention to those peculiar feelings of compassion He gives you for certain individuals. Then when you feel a special mercy, tenderness, or pity for a person, give heed to this feeling—go immediately to prayer.
But give attention only to those unselfish concerns. Pay no heed to those interests by which you will benefit from. In this regard, be careful in your praying, as you pray for certain members of the opposite sex that you are attracted to. Guard your heart, as your prayers may be nothing more than Satan’s trap to get you more emotionally attached, which in the end may have very destructive consequences. Overall, I think, to give yourself consistently and exclusively to…
The function of a prayer ministry is its purpose; and its function will tell us what it does; it will give us the reasons why we should have it. In this post we will discuss five functions of a prayer ministry.
Five Functions of a Prayer Ministry
1. It provides for teaching on prayer.Every prayer ministry should do some-thing to teach its people what prayer is and how to pray. If your ministry is in a church, and you are the head pastor, you should see to it that sermons are preached on prayer and that prayer is taught in Sunday school classes and bible study groups. Wherever your ministry is located, I think it would be good if you had prayer retreats and prayer conferences, where speakers would teach on prayer and where workshops would be given to learn about prayer. Moreover, you should encourage your people to…
Our text for this blog is Matthew 6:25-30, where Jesus is giving a sermon to His followers.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
For many, food, drink, and clothing are the whole of their life. It is all they think about. And the world is doing its best to get us to live on that level. But Jesus has said that we should not be anxious about those things. And He points out two things in nature that will help us in that area—birds and flower.
Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air [Look at and think about them].”
They don’t sow or reap or gather.
Yet God our Father feeds them.
And we are better (closer to God) than they are; we are His children. So, He definitely will care for us.
Also, what good will it do anyway to worry about these things. Will worrying change anything? Will it extend your life?
Let’s look at the birds and all humans, how God provides for them.
Birds: They do nothing to provide for themselves, yet God provides for them.
Humans: They have to sow and reap and gather for themselves, but then God alone will give the increase.
In both cases God provides. And though man must enter into the process (sowing, reaping and gathering), it is God alone who ultimately provides for man, because He makes it rain and He makes the crops grow.
Now let’s look at the argument from the standpoint of a Christian.
If God provides for both the birds and for all humans, how much more will He provide for His own family—His believers?
If He provides for mere creatures and for unbelievers, will He neglect His own Children? No!
If we reason these things out with ourselves, this will defeat anxiety and worry in us. If we realize that because He provides for the birds, He will most certainly provide for us even more, because we are His beloved children.
When you really see yourselves as His child, you should know that He will care for you. Maybe this is your problem. That you forget (or you don’t think about the fact) that you are His child and He loves you as His own.
Flowers do nothing! Even birds have to look around for worms and seeds to eat; but flowers do nothing. And God makes them grow and look beautiful. He gives them the sun and the rain.
Have you noticed how flowers always face the sun? You may notice how in the evening they will bend way over to continue to look into the sun. We could learn a lesson in that.
If we look at (and think about) the flowers, we see the hand of God, His perfect creation, the glory of His creation. The flowers are perfectly clothed by God and are dependent on God for everything they need to keep living and to look good.
If God our Father so clothes the flowers with such beauty that last only a little while (a few months) will He not cloth us His children whom He loves and that lasts forever?
Today is Easter morning, and it was so good this morning to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and our life in Christ. As I am now at home relaxing in Him, I want to share with you one of my adventures about a week ago. I walked across the Coon Rapids Dam and along the Mississippi River. I will give you just a few of the photos I took along the way. This is Mr. Canada geese–very common in Minnesota.
I also saw these Mallard ducks. I don’t know why but the female always takes the lead. It is a picture of our backward culture, since the male (the husband) is to be the head of the wife (Eph. 5:23), though I suppose he can lead from the back.
Part of the way along the river is quite treacherous. But that is part of the adventure.
This is the Coon Rapids Dam, in Coon Rapids Minnesota. There is a walking path above the dam. On a windy day when you walk across you will feel sprinkles of water from the water falls.
This is a subject that I know I need. It seems that the older I get the more I worry about things. I think it is because I feel weaker and more vulnerable. So, I look forward to what I will learn here. Our text is Matthew 6:25-34.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? 28 “And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? 31 “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ 32 “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This text follows immediately after Matthew 6: 19-24, having to do with not laying up treasures on earth, but in heaven; and having a single (or a pure) eye, and therefore having only one master, God. The text for this post having to do with not being anxious is a little different, but it has a connection to the previous text in the following ways:
The Matthew 6:19-24 passage is about laying up treasures; and the Matthew 6:25-34 text is about worrying over treasures.
Those who can’t afford treasures will worry about not having them.
Those who have treasures will still worry; they will worry about losing them, or getting more treasures, or over what to do with the treasures they have.
Satan doesn’t care if you have conquered having treasures, because he will get you to think and worry about them. His goal is to get your mind off of God and he will do it one way or another, either to be laying up treasures on earth or to be thinking about them—worrying about them.
Now the theme remains for us to have a single (or pure) eye, and to seek first His kingdom. To do that we are to trust Him and to “take no thought for our life.” This is the King James translation, in the time of Shakespeare, about 1600s; and in that day the meaning of “taking thought” was meant in the sense of being anxious or to worry. We may also understand the term as having a divided mind, or having a doubtful mind or double vision.
If you are using the KJV and the term “take no thought” you must understand that it does not mean that we are not to think about things or not to do anything about our problems except to trust God—to just sit and trust Him. No. We should be busy to provide for ourselves and work out our problems just like the birds do. They are always busy searching for their food. And in their search God rewards them and cares for them. So, the man also must work—or he will not eat. And if you begin to worry you should pray and God will give you peace (Phil. 4:6-7).
Here is one idea that may help you. If God has given you your life as a gift to you, and He has, then He will certainly make sure that your life is sustained for as long as He wills. God has a good plan for every life that He has created.
The type of burden we are interested in here is the burden that God carries upon His own heart, which He offers to us so that we may be moved in our spirit to join His Son in prayer. Here are five terms that will help you recognize this burden that God is giving you.
1. It is a peculiar compassion. First of all, most importantly, when God gives you a burden, He will place on your heart a compassion for a person or a need. The compassion He gives you will not be general, vague, or indefinite; rather, the Holy Spirit will draw you to take a peculiar interest in a certain thing or individual. According to Charles Finney, “When the Spirit of God leads an individual to take a peculiar interest, feel peculiar compassion and drawing of heart in prayer and labor for particular individuals, this influence…
In this post we will return again to Matthew 6:19-24, and we will focus on the evil result of laying up for ourselves treasures on earth.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
I have been following the sermons of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. In this particular study he gives us four points, or four things that sin does to man.
I. Sin Upsets the Normal Balance in Man
When man was created God made his mind (with his spirit) to be the highest faculty, which was the ability to think and reason and understand things. Then the next highest faculty was the heart, or the feelings and desires. This is man’s normal God-created function: to understand things, then to let our feelings and desires come later, being controlled by our understanding.
However, says Llyod-Jones, “The effect of the Fall and of sin upon man has been to upset that order and balance.” Hence, man, because of the Fall is no longer governed by his mind, he is governed by his desires and affections. John 3:19 is proof of this: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
I think we can see this disturbance in the order of things not only in the non-Christian, but in the Christian when he is not walking in the Spirit. And there are so many examples of this. In so many ways we make decisions based not on a correct understanding of things but on how we feel and what we like. We buy food based on our taste and appetite. We buy clothes based on the latest fashion. Our choice of a mate may be wrongly influenced because we rely more on our desires than our understanding. And we find in every case that because we put the heart before the mind, we make wrong decisions.
II. Sin Blinds Man to the Truth of Things
A good Scripture for this is in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
So, this is what sin does—through the heart. Here are some examples of this blinding.
We don’t see that our personal appearance will fade away, and so we place way too much value on our appearance.
We are blinded to the fact that we can’t take our money with us.
We are blinded to the fact that time is limited and eternity is endless, yet we give ourselves mainly to the here and now and ignore the eternal.
We are blinded to the value of man and God. Man seems to be valued more than God.
Man is blinded to the value of things. Earthly wealth is valued more than eternal wealth.
We are blinded to the fact that we cannot mix light and darkness, good and evil, God and mammon; yet we are always trying to do it. We even do it in the church. We have seen the churches ruination since the days of Constantine—a terrible tragedy! And we are still doing it in our effort to keep people in the church. Yet I think the world is confused by our efforts; and when they turn to Christ, they take the world with them. And so, you have a worldly Christian. And in most cases, they don’t have an assurance of their salvation.
III. Sin Makes Man a Slave to Things that were meant to Serve Him
God gave us food, clothing, and family and friends in order to serve us. But because of sin in the heart, we have become their slaves. We are mastered by the very things and appetites that God has given us to enjoy.
IV. Sin Causes the Ruination of Man
Jesus said, if your eye be single (pure) your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye be evil (sinful, with double vision and corrupt) your whole body will be full of darkness (Matt. 6:24). Here the light of the body is the mind and the understanding. But because of the control of the heart and of lust, the great design of God in us (the mind controlling the heart) has become perverted and ruined.
The result of this ruination in man is that he will reject God and His leadings; he will laugh at religion; he lives in the present; and he is deceived in his thinking, as he thinks that he is led by his mind when he is really led by his heart and lusts. Some at the end of life may see that the things he has trusted in were worthless and that he has been a fool all his life. A very sad situation.
But for all that seek God and repent, there is hope—even for the elderly. Let the Holy Spirit come in and change you. He can and will make your mind clear and pure, and give you a true understanding of things. This will be your true conversion and salvation.
When we gave our lives to God and received His Son, the blood of Jesus Christ did a wonderful work in us; it cleaned us and gave us the right to be priests. As priests we now have the right, by the blood of Christ, to draw near Him and to do His work of intercession for others (The Hebrew root word for priest, qarab, actually means to draw near and is used of one who may draw near to the divine presence, Exodus 19:22, 30:20).
But all the work that is done in us and all the work we do as intercessors is done by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can do no good work without the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the blood of Christ work together. As Andrew Murray has said, “As the blood gives the right [of intimate access to God], the…
One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to bring us His own prayer burden. But in order to receive that Holy Spirit burden—so that we can pray for the world with the burden of the Spirit—our heart must be prepared.
According to Wesley Duewel, “We must feel before we can heal. We must see before we can prevail.” Thus if we expect the Holy Spirit to send us His prayer burden we must prepare our heart to see and feel the needs of others. Here are six ways that we can prepare ourselves to bear burdens in prayer:
1. Regularly go to quiet places to pray. God knows the hearts and feelings of all people more than anyone does. He has more compassion for people than they have for themselves. Therefore, in order to know the hearts of others and to take on the compassion of Christ for…
In my study of the priesthood, that we are all priest of God who follow after Christ our high priest, it is imperative that we keep our eyes on Jesus to follow after Him. He is our life (Col. 3:3-4), and the life and head of the priesthood. He gives stability to the priesthood; He is our cornerstone (1 Peter 2:4-8). Moreover, all that we are as priests are because of His life and work flowing through us; our compassion for others and our holy character is all from Him.
But to make certain that His power flowing through us and to have an effective prayer ministry we must obey Him and practice all the things that are required of a priest; for it is always through obedience that He shows us Himself and works through us (Jn. 14:21, Lu. 9:24).