And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume X, Number 14 January 14, 2007
In this issue:
This article was given to me a while back by one of the members here. I don’t know who wrote it, but the suggestions are scriptural and practical (1 Tim. 2:1-4; Col. 4:2-3; 1 Ths. 5:16-17). I have taken editorial license and adapted portions of it, adding scriptures where appropriate. Perhaps this will help us all remember that we always “ought to pray and not lose heart” (Lk. 18:1). Joe
Five Fingers of Prayer
1. Your thumb is nearest to you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.” (Eph. 6:18)
2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct, and heal. This includes doctors, teachers, preachers and elders. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers. (Eph. 6:19)
3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance. (1 Tim. 2:1-2)
4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many, this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.
5. And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all. Which is where we place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, “the least shall be the greatest among you.” This little finger should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayer for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:24)
Indiana Jones is standing on the edge of a steep cliff, his father dying of a gun shot wound. He will find the “cure” on the other side of the deep gorge. The villain in the movie has just coaxed Jones into running the gauntlet in search of the “holy grail” (that will save his father and yield eternal life to one who drinks of it) by telling him it is time to ask himself, “what you believe.”
All of that makes for exciting fiction in the movies, but there is a point it illustrates that is rooted in the word of God; it is time for each person to ask himself what he believes. In addition, we must also ask ourselves where we will go to determine what we should believe, and whether or not we are, in fact, believing what God wants us to believe. (It is worth noting that even the unbelievers who wrote the Indian Jones movie understood that when one believes something he will act on his faith; faith that does not work is dead, Jas. 2:17.)
In Luke 9:57-62, the word of God says,
Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In this passage Jesus teaches that following Him requires sacrifice (9:57-58), the setting of priorities (9:59-60) and the presence of persistent commitment (9:61-62). Consider what you believe when it comes to the following considerations:
Family. We must continually ask ourselves what we believe when it comes to our family. Are we putting our family before Jesus? When the choice is following what the Bible says or doing what family wants, many follow family instead of Jesus. This is not the will of God (read Matt. 10:34-37; Lk. 14:26).
Friends. The persuasion of friendships can be very powerful. We all have friends who are not Christians, and we need to be helping them learn and obey the gospel of Christ. But remember, the Bible also warns us that the influence of evil friends corrupts us (1 Cor. 15:33). So, be careful when you choose your friends; more than likely you will spend eternity with them!
Faithfulness. What do we believe about being faithful to God? Does our faith amount to showing up at worship services once or twice a week? Of giving just enough of our time and money so others will “leave us alone?” If so, then we have not yet given ourselves to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:5).
Are you “fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9:62)?
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: Romans 3:21-26
1. Sometimes people say God is
unfair for condemning those who have never heard about Jesus Christ; Worldly
thinking, Rom. 3:5.
I. SINNERS ARE LOST.
A. Sinners are Lost Due to
Their Own Sin, Rom. 3:23, 9.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
II. THE SAVIOR, Lk. 19:10; Matt. 18:11; 20:28 (seek, save & serve).
A. Died for All Sinners, Jno.
3:16-17; 1 Tim. 2:6 (4:10).
III. THE SAVED.
A. Sinners are Saved through
Faith in Jesus Christ, Acts 16:29-30.
1. God is not to blame for men’s
sin & death, Rom. 1:18-23; 3:1-4. God is saving the lost thru Jesus & His
gospel, Ro. 1:16-17; 3:23-27; 11:36.
"Ice is Given"
With majestic imagery, Elihu extolled the marvelous works of God in Job 36-37. At one point, he said of God, “He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’…and cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen” (Job 37:6, 9-10). The phenomena of weather – snow, cold, wind and ice – supply evidence that God rules over the world and orders it according to His great power and wisdom.
Ice and cold are used in the word of God to describe spiritual conditions. So, against the backdrop of yet another snow and ice storm here in the Bellingham, WA area this winter, consider some “ice” the Almighty has not given and warns us against.
The icy cold of a dead love. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). Sin (lawlessness) causes a Christian’s love for brethren, for truth and for God to grow cold. Consider some other application.? (1) Has your love for your husband or your wife grown cold? If so, rekindle the dying embers (Eph. 5:22-31). (2) Has your love for your children grown cold? Loving parents teach and correct their children (Heb. 12:5-11). Parents who love their children promptly discipline them; so says the word of God (Prov. 13:24). Parents who do not or will not correct their unruly children have not yet learned to love their children the way God loves His children.
The icy cold of dead works. “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). Jesus equates “your works” with “you.” An obedient faith is “hot” – obeying God’s will from the heart (Eph. 2:10; 1 Jno. 5:3). By our works, does God see us as hot, lukewarm, or cold (Matt. 7:20)?
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 01/15/2007
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA