Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"In Jesus Name"

"Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:13)."
"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst (Matthew 18:20)."

   We have a funny way of viewing this passage sometimes.  In our prayer life, whether we are asking for something or declaring something we say 'In Jesus Name' at the end.  There is nothing essentially wrong with that but we often times do it as if stamping that statement on the end of our prayer validates and give authority to what we said. This is a sad representation of what the scriptures are saying.

   When Jesus talks about asking in 'my name' he literally means to, 'ask as me'.  Because of Jesus we can relate with God and the world with the same authority that He had.  When our identity is rooted in what Jesus accomplished on the cross we have accepted our right standing with God.  We have confidence in the presence of God because of where we have been established in and through Christ. "Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.  Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming form ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Cor. 3:4-6)."

   Saying "in Jesus name" and having confidence that this statement gives validity to our prayer is silly and is not based in faith.  Faith and authority come from being established in the grace of God, knowing His will, and understanding our purpose.  There is no formula for proclaiming the kingdom of heaven or talking to God.  We have confidence because we are His children, He is our Father, and Christ is our Redeemer.

   So be assured today of your standing with God.  If you are unsure go read about God's promises about who you are! You belong to the heavenly family and that is why your prayers carry validity and are heard.  Walk in authority, proclaim the kingdom, and rejoice that your names are written in heaven!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Knowing the Will of God

      I have noticed a tendency in many Christian circles, where we approach God as if his will is unknowable; or that our will is always opposing His. We say things and approach situations as if God's will is a mystery, and at best we need to pray for long extended periods of time before we can begin to fathom what God's will is in a situation.  This is a silly, non-biblical way to relate with God, and we need a renewing of our minds to see what Christ really accomplished on the cross in this area.

     "Greater love has no one this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you (John 15:13-15)."

     So Jesus has revealed 'everything' from the Father.  Jesus is famous for doing 'only what he sees the Father doing (John 5:19); and then he sent us as he was sent.  "He gave you the Counselor, the Holy Spirit who will teach you all things and will remind you of everything he has said to you (John 14:26)."  This is a promise, that means that sometimes our thoughts our his thoughts; because we have been abiding in Him and He in us!  "For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:15)."  If we are spending time with God, chances are that he has been shaping your thoughts, intentions, and desires the whole way through.  When we continuously come into places of indecision and doubt, it is a reflection of our lack of faith in the Holy Spirits work inside of us.

      It is important to say that our will can be against God's will, whereby correction would be necessary; but if we are spending time with Him we do not need to question our motives or doubt our initiatives as long as they don't fall outside of the boundaries of scripture.

      I also have found that we expect God to have specific plans for every situation in our lives, and we get caught up in many decisions because we are unsure about what God's will is.  God can have specific intentions for a given situation, but for the most part his will is simple and general. We are sent as Jesus was sent, so it is important to see what God's intended purpose was for Him. "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8)."  What does that entail? We can find that in Luke 5:18-19, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives.,  and recovery of sight to the blind; to set free those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." Furthermore Jesus gives this commission to his disciples and to us, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons (Matthew 10:8)."

   Here are some examples; if you are in a conundrum about which college to go to, or even if you want to go to college at all, ask yourself which one you want. Pick that one, and then go preach the good news, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons.  Are you wondering if you should get married or not? Do you want to? If you do, get married.  Then preach the good news, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons.  God wants you to destroy the works of the devil, but he wants you to partner with Him in that! So what are your desires? What are your plans? How do you get excited about doing it? Chances are God agrees with you, after all he picked you to be with Him.  He wants you, all of you.

    So lets move from inaction and indecision into purposeful action that fulfills the will of God!  We know what His will is, He revealed it to us in the person of Jesus and reminds us of it through the Holy Spirit. Don't allow doubt to make you ineffective because that reveals that you still consider yourself to be an enemy of God rather than a friend.  Stop questioning and just seek the Lord.  "Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your path straight (Proverbs 3:5)."