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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

I saw this posted on Facebook today and simply had to share.  Please share this with others too.  So many people think that because they prayed a little prayer as a child (or even as an adult) that they are “saved” and Heaven bound, regardless of how they live.  After all, we’re all saved by Grace, right?  It’s not about our “works”, right?  Jesus did it all, didn’t He?  Therefore, don’t JUDGE!  Cause, well… that’s wrong ya know.    We’ve all heard it.

Listen folks, the Bible is clear about this and everyone should take it very seriously.  1st John 3:7-10 states clearly : Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.  The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.  The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared  was to destroy the devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are; Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.  

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Quotes 089

WHY JESUS DOESN’T WANT YOU TO “ASK HIM INTO YOUR HEART”

I’ll never forget it. I was in middle school. All around me were other middle school kids crying. Hardly anyone was standing. It was a powerful moment—so much so that even now when I think about it a range of emotions come over me. Where was I? I was at a youth camp. It was the last night where everyone “asked Jesus into their heart.” Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” was playing while the camp speaker asked all the kids to bow their heads and close their eyes. He would then say, “ok whoever wants to receive Jesus repeat after me….”

Sound familiar?

Have you ever asked Jesus into your heart?

Now first let me say this—I am not arguing in this blog that Jesus doesn’t save through this method (because He clearly does). Also, John 1:12 would suggest we do need to receive Jesus in some way or another. But my question is why has it become so mechanical? So forced? So calculated? Receiving the grace of Jesus is a beautiful thing. We tell people it is free (which it is), but we forget to tell them it will cost them their life (which it will). I’m humbly submitting that this might be the main thing contributing to our lethargic, apathetic, and consumer based Christianity that’s plaguing our nation right now.

Doesn’t it haunt you that this “prayer” is never uttered in the New Testament?

Have you ever asked yourself why?

Doesn’t it haunt you that people never made a “decision” but rather gave up all they had to follow Jesus?

Why is the life we are calling people to, so different from what the original disciples called them to?

When I first became a Christian about 4 years ago, the church I went to would give an “invitation” at the end of every sermon. It was very similar to the experience above. He would have people bow their heads and close their eyes, and “accept Jesus into their heart.” He would then usually say something like “I see your hand, God sees your heart.” I think about 15 people would get saved every service. At this time they were probably a 3,000+ person church with multiple campuses in a tiny town. I remember thinking after about a year, that if 15 people were getting “saved” a service in a town of around 20,000 this city should be upside down for Jesus. But Monday through Saturday nothing seemed much different. Why? Also why do they bow their heads and close their eyes? I struggled with the fact that if someone can’t proclaim Jesus is Lord and that their heart has been changed by His grace in the safest of all places—a church full of people who already love Jesus!—then do we really think they would proclaim Him boldly out in the world, where He’s hated?

Let me clarify though before my email inbox fills up with not so happy Christians defending this method. I don’t care how you preach the gospel, as long as its the gospel that’s actually being preached. Is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the focus? Is there blood? Is there cross? Is there persecution? 2nd Timothy 3:12 says all who seek to follow Jesus will face persecution. Too many times we proclaim “your best life now”, instead of a rugged cross. If they are being called to more than a stirred heart, but called to an abandoned life, then by all means do it. But, people aren’t being called to die for the sake of God’s glory and His mission, then I’d be careful to call it the true message of Jesus.

Jesus isn’t after people “accepting Him into their hearts” He is after people boldly giving up all they have and following Him by faith, death, and suffering.

Nothing makes me tremble more at night then knowing there are millions of people (most likely in churches) who don’t know Jesus at all, and are being led to hell under the pretense that they are “good to go” because they prayed a prayer. In fact the main reason they stay distant from Jesus is that they think they’ve already “taken care of that.” The truth is, if a boulder dropped on top of you, you’d look different after the fact. Why is it then that supposedly when the most glorious, holy, amazing, and beautiful infinite God of the universe “drops” on us we don’t look any different? You are saved by grace, but real grace changes you.
Is that you? Do you actually know Him?

I’m not asking do you struggle or wrestle (you should) but I’m asking do you know Him? Do you love Him? Do you want more of Him? Even if you are struggling, if you can answer yes to those questions, you are in a safe place. But, if you are simply clinging to something you did years ago, but you have zero intimacy with your Creator, I’d tread softly.

From now on what do you say we….

Stop asking Jesus into our heart, and start asking Jesus to change our heart.

Stop receiving Jesus, and start following Jesus

Stop raising our hand for Jesus, and start raising our obedience for Jesus.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
Luke 9:24-25

Link to the original post below:

http://jeffbethke.com/why-jesus-doesnt-want-you-to-ask-him-into-your-heart/

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I feel so at peace for the first time in my life.  For as long as I can remember I’ve felt this inner unease.  I couldn’t have explained it or come anywhere close to having anyone understand how I was feeling.  I’m not sure I would’ve had the words to use to truly express what was going on inside me; my mind, heart, soul.  Such conflict.  Confusion.  A battle.

I searched and searched for an answer to it all and kept coming up short.   No way to end the war going on inside of me.  At least, none that I could see.

I realized that I was trying to find a fix to the issue on my own and that, quite simply, it was impossible.  Wasn’t going to happen.  I needed help.

So, who or what might help?  I tried all sorts of various things.  None worked.  Nothing.  I tried talking to lots of different people from friends and family to even doctors.   Help me?  Quiet all of it down, please?   They couldn’t.   Tried, sure.   But they couldn’t help me.

Why does it take us so long to find wisdom?  He makes it so easy to find, yet we still look everywhere else first so very often.

I figured it out.  No doubt He helped by shoving me in the right direction.

Prayer.

My Bible.

All I ever needed was Him.

He created me; knit me in my mother’s womb.

He knows me because I am His.  All His.

I wasted so much time.   Time that I’m not sure was even mine to waste, but I know He’ll take care of it.

I found Him, and there is where I found all the answers.  It was always there.

He is always there for us when we’re ready to find Him.

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I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.  Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!  Psalm 116:1, 2

Such a special word!   So much amazing comfort in 2 small verses.  Does this touch you that way too?

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you get tired of certain “friends” only calling you when they need something.

Is this something you deal with?  I know I have dealt with it off and on for years.  And I’ve heard many others complain of this particular issue as well.  When things are great, you don’t hear a thing from certain folks, but boy oh boy… let them have a need that you’re able to fill and they’re ringing your phone off the hook.

Often times, people like that also don’t have time for you when you need them.  Ever notice that?  You have a crisis and could use some of their help and it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, cause now they’re sure impossible to find.

It can be really frustrating to say the least.  Occasionally, you might even be tempted to simply quit being their friend at all, but something always stops you from going that far.  The next time they call with a need, you can’t help but go ahead and fill that need if at all possible.

Now that you’re sitting there thinking about how “Yeah!   It really IS annoying when So n So does that to me!”, imagine if you were GOD……..

God has to deal with this ALL THE TIME.   Literally… ALL THE TIME.  It never ends for Him.   There’s never a break from being taken for granted this way.   Can you possibly begin to imagine?

As I sat thinking about this I felt so sad and so sorry.  Sorry because I’ve done that to God myself in the past.  I’ve been that person who only prayed and spoke to the Lord when I needed something or was in some type of trouble.  I’m thankful that this is no longer “me” and I pray that it’s never ever “me” again.  I know how horrible being treated that way makes me feel and I would never want to treat my very Creator, my Father, my Lord and Savior so badly.

if you only pray when youre in troubleFolks, this is sin in one of it’s worst forms.  If this is something you do, then please realize it, ask for forgiveness and make a definite point to no longer take your very Creator Himself for granted this way again.  Spend quality time with the Lord your God.  He loves you dearly and wants to be more than your trouble fixer,  habit at the dinner table, or your obligation on Sundays.

He gives Himself freely to us and we should do exactly the same.

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Last night I simply could not fall asleep.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  The kind of night where no matter what you do, you just can’t shut the brain off.  Somehow, your very own brain declares a mutiny against you and, in some sort of strange overdrive, begins taking all sorts of inventory of your life – the past, the present, and the ever so elusive future.

My brain seemed determined to torture me with thoughts of all my past failures, shortcomings, faults, and lost dreams.

I finally sailed into the land of “Fed Up” with it all and got out of the bed, hoping to find something to help me fall asleep. I refuse to drink milk- cold, warm, or otherwise- so instead… maybe an old movie, reading a book, playing a Kindle Fire game (Triple Town is a mighty little game that’s sure to drive your family crazy), perhaps boring myself to sleep by checking out Facebook in the middle of the night?

I ended up trying it all, with the exception of an old movie and the yucky milk thing.  (Well, I mean really…. vomiting up disgusting milk is not the way I wanted to end the mental gymnastics meet my mind had in full swing.)

In addition to the bout of insomnia that I was having, I was also enduring some pretty horrific tooth ache pain – which wasn’t helping one tiny bit.

So anyhow, there I was… it’s like after 2 am (Sorry, but I so do not see what Taylor Swift sees in the whole “2 am thing”… Seemed like a pretty miserable time of night to be up to me, at least at this stage of my life and not at all the dramatic and romantic time she sings of so very often – my daughters are fans – of her music – not so much the 2 am itself…) and I’m not only wide awake, but in a whole heaping lot of pain.  I thought for a little while that perhaps I was birthing a baby tooth!  Labor pains in the mouth – oh yeah…. Ouch doesn’t cover it.

The thought of counting sheep crossed my mind and got me to thinking.  Why do people count sheep in order to help lull themselves to sleep in the first place?  Which led me to Wikipedia to find out the answer to that very question – which frankly… wasn’t all that interesting. You can look it up and decide for yourself whether you think it’s an interesting tidbit of knowledge to have.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counting_sheep

Right in the middle of all of this – insomnia, pain, sheep and more….  I felt a little tug from my Creator.  In the very center of it all, I realized that I had even more to be thankful for than I did to keep me up at night.  I realized that no matter how much pain I felt because of the tooth, that I am blessed because I was born in a country where dental care is possible.  There are so many that have no choice but to suffer with things as seemingly simple as a toothache.

Counting Blessings GSSimply put, my blessings far outweigh the rest in my life.  Out of that thought came the idea that instead of counting silly sheep to try to lull myself to sleep, that I would count my many blessings from the Lord and let Him rock me to sleep with His never ending, all consuming, amazing, love.

So – Late in the night, when you find you cannot sleep, count your many blessings, instead of silly sheep!

*** You can also write a really dorky short poem too.

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Have you ever prayed that God would use you?  I started praying this a couple of years ago.  I just had this strong desire to be used by my Creator.  It felt like there was something important missing from my life, like I was missing the point to life itself.

Here in America, most of us are raised hearing about and being groomed for the “American Dream”.  We’re taught that success is getting in to a “good” college and then later landing a dream job and making a lot of money, getting married, buying a house in an affluent neighborhood, driving a certain type of car, having children, and even more recently having the right type of cell phone ( you know… the “smart” kind).  During all of that you’re also to begin storing up money in some time of retirement account so you’ll be able to continue having all the best money can buy even when the time comes that you no longer work.

I didn’t follow along strictly to the above guidelines in my life and for many years felt mostly like a huge disappointment.  I felt like I was less than those that did.  I wondered about that.  Somehow it didn’t seem right that money alone could make us successful or worth greater value as people.  The whole thing felt like a lie to me.

One of my parents believed in God and tried to teach me about Him as best as they knew how, while the other wanted to believe in a made up version that suited the preferred lifestyle.  And even though I’d been off and on raised in churches and knew a few things about Jesus, my teen years were sadly spent far far from Him.  Yet He was never far from me it turns out.

I believe He’s never far from any of us.  We may be running from Him at times, or maybe we’ve spent our whole life running from Him, or even have never known Him at all…. but He knows every single one of us and is with each one until the very day that we die.  He’s always there, waiting on us to “see” Him and take His hand and be led by Him to follow Him into His will.  We just have to choose to do so.

During my adult years Jesus has been right beside me, gently whispering to me to “come home” to Him.  Many times I would faintly hear Him, but then life would crowd out His voice again.  Still, He never once gave up on me.  He’s like that you know.  He never gives up on us.

A few years ago He used a woman, a friend, to show Himself to me through her and I’ve never been the same since.  She quite simply lived in a way that I’d never seen anyone else live.  His love and light shined through her, regardless of her circumstances, and I wanted that same love for myself.  I saw what being close to Jesus could mean and I craved that closeness.  His acceptance and His love.

It’s been a journey, these past few years.  I love the way He doesn’t force Himself on us, but instead is such a gentleman in the truest sense.  He courts us lovingly and waits patiently while we make mistake after mistake, wrong choice after wrong choice.  It seems that every time I think I’ve gotten it figured out, He shows me that I’m so very mistaken all over again and he beckons me closer so I can learn.

He’s now answering my prayer to be used by Him.  It’s a dangerous prayer it turns out.  He will gladly take you up on it if you ask Him.  He’s using other people who have prayed the same thing to show me, and lead, and guide me to where He wants me to be.  It’s an amazing thing to watch unfold over time.  I’m learning more and more, every single day, to be more obedient, to say “Yes, Lord” more quickly, and to see Him outside of the box that He’s put into so often here in America.

I can’t wait to see what He brings into my tomorrows.

“But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” ~ Jesus ♥ Luke 11:28

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