Monthly Archives: May 2015

God Over All

Ref: Scripture: Isaiah 41:1-20

Listen to me in silence, O coastlands; let the peoples renew their strength; let them approach, then let them speak; let us together draw near for judgment. Isaiah 41:1

God asks them to draw near and quietly listen. Listening to God renews our strength Isaiah 40:31.

God wants even these gentile lands to hear him and find true strength in Him. Isaiah 42:6

This is an invitation to all people. God is always speaking. Will we come near and quietly listen? John 10:3 We often run to God in time of need, but we can’t stop talking and sit in silence to hear God’s solution Habakkuk 2:20. Instead, we dictate to God what we think He should do. Should it not be the other way around? If your strength is sapped away and you don’t know what to do, go listen to God and find your strength renewed Psalm 27:14.

The next word in the verse is “then.” Then you can speak. Hear God first. Wait on Him. If we hear what He has to say first, it may change our requests. I’m as guilty as anyone in bringing my laundry list of things for God to fix before I will stop and listen. Good thing God is patient. This verse has taught me there is a proper order to prayer. Listen first. Let His words strengthen you by giving you a proper perspective. Then speak according to what you have heard.

God speaks; you are strengthened; you approach and then speak. That is when you can hear God’s verdict on what you are asking. “Judgment” is not referring to a sentence for guilt, though it can include that. Judgment is a verdict. It may be, “Go ahead and be blessed.” It may be, “Don’t do it, for if you do, it will cost you dearly.” Or it may be to wait for another time. Sometimes there is no answer at all, and that is the answer of “not now.”

What does it take to get up early enough to take a ten minutes in God’s Word and ten minutes in prayer? Twenty minutes! I guarantee you if you do that you’ll want to take thirty minutes. Then you’ll want to take more and you’ll find a way to do it. It’s a matter of priorities. If a television show the night before, or whatsapp in the morning, or whatever keeps you from that time is more important, then you won’t take the time. Decide to live according to your priorities.Matthew 6:33.

Waiting on the Lord can be to expect Him to answer. Sometimes we pray and the answer comes and we don’t connect the answer with our prayer. We might ask for an opportunity to share our faith with a person, and that very day we end up in the company dining room at the table with that person. What do you think the Lord wants you to do? Or we ask God for work and someone invites us to help with a job, but it was not what we were hoping for. Maybe we should think again. When you pray, wait and watch for the Lord to answer.

If you will develop this life pattern of looking to the Lord each morning and as you go through your day, He promises that you will mount up on wings like eagles. You will be able to soar high above your situations and see them from a heavenly perspective. Isaiah 55:6

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The Reforming Power of the Word – Part 3

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you. John 15:7

What it means for letting the words of Jesus abide in us is that we do not just read the scripture, and do not just memorize and meditate on the scripturee, and do not just listen to preaching and teaching from the Bible. It means that we seek the words of Jesus as living words—words that come not in the abstract but come from the heart and on the lips of a living Person whom we love more than any other person in the world.

Letting the words of Jesus abide in us is not like memorizing axioms and theorems in geometry. It’s not even like mulling over wise saying from ancient teachers. It is not like that because Jesus is alive today, and he does not mean for thinking about his words to replace fellowship with him. He means for musing on his words to BE fellowship with him. And so letting the words of Jesus abide in you means taking whatever steps are necessary to keep the living voice of Jesus speaking with you through the words that he spoke in Scripture.

It is a spiritually intentional act of relating to a living person when you take his words into your mind. It is meditating on a saying like, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly,” and thanking Jesus for coming and praising him as a life giver, and believing that his intention for you is abundant life, and asking him to fulfill his good will in you.

When the words of Jesus abide in us, we hear them and respond to them as living words from the mouth of a living God to whom we must respond in faith or unbelief, and obedience or disobedience. When Jesus says, “If my words abide in you,” he means, “If I abide in you speaking all my will.” He means, “If my words are received and remembered and believed and pondered as the living words of a living and present Lord in your life.”

For more devotional from Fay-Ann Swearing visit fayannswearing.wordpress.com
@fayswearing

Philosophy: “Something good MUST be developed in you once you interact with ME”

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The Reforming Power of the Word – Part 2

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you. John 15:7

What Does It Mean for Jesus’ Words to Abide in Us?

According to our text, John 15:7, if we are to become what God wants us to be in our praying, we must let the words of Jesus abide in us. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”The words of Jesus must abide in us if our prayers are to be effective. What then does this mean, and how are we to do it? What should your plan for 2015 include if you want your prayers to be what Jesus describes in John 15:7?

Letting Jesus abide in Us through His Words

The best way to see what it means for the words of Jesus to abide in us is to look at verses 4 and 5 in this chapter. In verse 4 Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you.” The result will be that you bear fruit. In verse 5 Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit.” Again we see the pair: Abide in me and I in you. We abide in Jesus and he abides in us. Both are connected to fruit-bearing.

Then in verse 7 instead of using the pair, “If you abide in me and I in you,” Jesus says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you.” I think the point of this change is to let us see practically how we let Jesus abide in us, namely, by letting his words abide in us. “If you abide in me, and I abide in you,” is explained partly by, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you.” We let Jesus abide in us, as we let his words abide in us.

Letting the words of Jesus abide in us means letting Jesus abide in us speaking. It means that we welcome Jesus into our lives and make room for him to live, not as a silent guest with no opinions or commands, but as an authoritative guest whose opinions matter more to us than anyone else’s and whose commands are the law of our life.

Christ abiding in us is interchangeable with his words abiding in us because Christ never comes without his authoritative views on things. To have him abiding is to have all his views abiding in us. If he abides, his views abide. If he abides, his priorities abide. If he abides, his principles abide. If he abides, his promises abide. If he abides, his commandments abide. In short, if/when Christ abides in us, his words abide in us.

For more devotional from Fay-Ann Swearing visit fayannswearing.wordpress.com
@fayswearing

Philosophy: “Something good MUST be developed in you once you interact with ME”

Consider: Seeking the Words of Jesus as Living Words

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The Reforming Power of the Word – Part 1

If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you. John 15:7

Prayer is one of the foundational steps in knowing God—”spiritual, persistent, biblically-minded prayer. So often we become so good at other things that we have forgotten how to pray:

The main reforming power is the Word of God. Jesus said to his disciples, If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. The text has two halves, the first half is, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you.” And the second half is, “ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”

The first half is the condition for the second half. There is an “if-then” connection. If you abide in me and my words abide in you . . . THEN ask and it will be done.” The condition for powerful praying is that we abide in Jesus and his words abide in us.

Today I want to talk about the condition, the IF clause—especially the words of Jesus abiding in us. I think the great need of the hour is to know God more deeply and personally and more biblically. And I believe that study and thinking is crucial, but that without personal communion with God in prayer we will not really know him, but only know about him.

And so I want every child of God to be utterly devoted to prayer—private prayer, small group prayer, congregational prayer, extraordinary times of prayer, prayer and fasting, adoring prayer, repenting prayer. If this is the soil in which biblical truth is continually preached and taught, then we will know God—not just know about God. And this is not just my desire for you. It is God’s desire. I felt this afresh a couple weeks ago when I read these words of God in Isaiah 56:[The foreigners] I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

God means for the house of his dwelling to be a house of prayer for all people. And he means to make his people—including foreigners who trust him—joyful in his house of prayer. He means for prayer to be mainly a joyful business. So on top of everything else that comes with a deeper life of prayer, you can add joy—”I will make them joyful in my house of prayer.”

Consider: The one thing we most urgently need in Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better.

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You Are What You Think!

Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; for as he thinks within himself, so he is… Proverbs 23:6-7

Your choices reflect your values, but where do your values come from? “As he thinks within himself, so he is.”  Your values are informed by your mind! Never underestimate the significance of what you put into your mind. The world really wants you to adopt its values, its way of looking at life. And so it pounds its values into you with every television show you watch, with the magazines you read, with the radio, with the attitudes of the people around you.

If you do not combat the world’s way of thinking by saturating your mind with Scripture and prayer and spiritual fellowship with other believers, then you have no hope of standing against the world in your life. God’s message to you today is clear—don’t become like the secular world, but be transformed by the Holy Spirit as you renew your mind. The Spirit will take the spiritual input you put into your mind and enable you to see life the way God sees it. Then your values will entirely change and your choices will follow your values.

What are you putting into your mind? What can you do to love the Lord with all your mind?

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Fishermen – Called To His Purpose

Luke 5:4-5, 8 (NIV) 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

From the deck of Peter’s boat, thousands of people could have heard Jesus speaking. Once Jesus was done ministering to the crowd, He knew it was time to convince Peter once and for all that he needed to give all else up to follow Him.

He asked Peter to go back out onto the lake. Peter knew fishing. The fish come up in the cool of the night, not in the heat of the day. He has been doing this all his life. He’s tired, and experience says that it will be a wasted effort. Peter had known Jesus since Andrew introduced him down south around John’s ministry on the Jordan. Peter probably saw Jesus do some healing miracles at the first Passover of His ministry. He saw his mother-in-law healed instantly. He respected Jesus and would do whatever He asked.

When he lowered the nets, they were instantly swamped with fish. The nets were loaded to the breaking point, and others had to come help haul in the load. Suddenly Peter realized something that hadn’t sunk in before. This man, Jesus, is not just a prophet. Creation obeys the Creator. Now respect is not quite enough. Reverence is more appropriate, if not outright worship. Who could do such a thing but God? A revelation of the majesty of God also reveals the depravity of self. Peter’s response is not, “Now I will follow You!” but “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” Then Jesus could call him out of fear of failure to faith in the ability of God to transform and work with him.

Consider: Have you gone from respect to reverence and worship? Have you seen that Jesus is Lord of all? Do you see how unworthy you are to be in His presence? Then He can call you to His purposes.

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