Requirements For Answered Prayer

Jesus taught many things about prayer and its central role in a believer’s life. He also promised that our petitions will be answered when we meet certain requirements.

One condition is mentioned in John 14:14: After receiving Christ as our personal Savior, we have the right to present requests in Jesus’ name, which means praying something that the Lord Himself might pray. To exercise this privilege, we must come to the Father, depending not on our own good works or character but on the merits of Christ alone. Jesus’ atoning death on the cross is the only basis for approaching God and being assured of receiving an answer to our petitions.

A second requirement is separation from all known sin. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” This refers to ungodly behaviors and thought patterns that we know are wrong but refuse to give up. Remember, God looks at our heart attitude. If we struggle against our sinful ways, grieve over them, and ask for forgiveness, He will hear our cries and respond. But when He sees a hard heart, He is not obligated to listen.

Next time you pray, start with words of praise to God for His sacrificial love and gratitude to Jesus for dying in your place (1 John 4:10). Express that you understand why your prayers are heard—because you have a relationship with the Father through Christ, and not because of anything you have done. Confess all known sin and ask for forgiveness. Then present your requests to God with anticipation, and trust His answers.

(reblogged from Charles Stanley | In Touch).

As Christmas Approaches

The holiday season is upon us and Christmas is fast approaching and it’s easy to get caught up in the rush and excitement of this time. Shopping, cooking, visiting with friends and family top our “to-do list.”

As Christians, we have the responsibility to insure that we don’t assume the world’s point of view but instead make known to all that our savior is born and saves us from our sins.

Jingle Bells may top the charts and be the song in everyone’s heart, but let’s shout from the roof tops that Jesus is born and loves us with all His heart.

God Comes To The Ordinary

There’s one word that describes the night Jesus came—ordinary. It was an ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And were it not for a God who loves to hook an “extra” on the front of the ordinary, the night would have gone unnoticed. But God dances amidst the common and that night He did a waltz. And the night was ordinary no more!

The announcement went first to the shepherds. They didn’t ask God if He was sure He knew what He was doing. Theologians would have consulted their commentaries. The elite would have looked to see if anyone was watching. The successful would have first looked to their calendars. But the angels went to the shepherds. Men who didn’t know enough to tell God that messiahs aren’t found sleeping in a feed trough. God comes to the common—because His most powerful tools are the simplest!

Attitude Is What Counts

Israel can be a dusty place, and sandaled feet get filthy walking to and fro. In ancient times, a person entering a home removed his sandals and cleaned his feet. Or if the homeowners were wealthy, servants would do the washing. This distasteful but necessary task fell to the worker of lowest position in the household. Imagine the disciples’ surprise when the Son of God put Himself in the role of a lowly servant and knelt to wash their feet. The need for such a service was great, but not one of them offered to do it. Jesus was the last person they expected to take on such a demeaning task.

Jesus did more than fill a need—He offered an object lesson. As He explained, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you” (John 13:15 NLT). Some churches have incorrectly interpreted this as a command to make foot washing an ordinance. But it’s possible to clean someone else’s skin without contemplating the significance of Christ’s actions.

In fact, the act itself is not the main point; attitude is what counts. Jesus desires that we be willing to humble ourselves to serve others. He is looking for men and women who will ignore pride, position, and power in order to do whatever must be done, wherever it needs doing, and for whoever requires assistance.

Jesus performed His greatest and most humble acts of service within 24 hours of each other. He washed dirty feet, using two hands that would be pierced by nails the following day. The message here is that every task God gives us is important to His kingdom.

A Most Remarkable Moment

birth-of-jesusIt all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment. God became a man! Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb. Jesus came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were un-manicured, calloused, and dirty. For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt…weak; weary; and afraid of failure. His feelings got hurt.

To think of Jesus in such a light seems almost irreverent. There’s something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant and predictable. But don’t do it! For heaven’s sake, don’t! Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the muck and mire of your world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out!

To Burn or Not To Burn


By reading the headline of this post you probably think I am going to discuss hell and ways to get there. That’s not my purpose today. What I do want to discuss are the damaging and long lasting effects of the sun on the human body.

Let me start by praising God for providing us the sun. It gives us life and keeps us from freezing to death. But, too much sun is not a good thing. Think drought and sunburn.

On Thursday I had some minor surgery to remove some lesions on my body that were created as a result of too much exposure to the sun. I lived in the Philippines for 2 years and while there I basically lived in swim trunks and tennis shoes. The rest of my body was exposed to the sun. When I returned to the U.S. I was very dark skinned. Little did I know the future consequences of living without proper sun protection. Future surgeries would be very painful and in some cases leaving unsightly scars.

Every summer thousands of people flock to the beach or lay around a pool in hopes of getting a “tan” that is supposed to be a sign of health. Nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve all seen the advertisements for Copper Tone and other sun screens. They make it seem like if you apply these ointments then you are protected. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.

The only way to avoid damage to your skin now and in the future is to avoid direct exposure to the sun. I know it’s hard, especially when your neighbor invites you to a BBQ at his pool or your friends say let’s go to the beach. You’d feel pretty silly in either case showing up covered head to foot in clothing and a hat. My friends cover yourself and avoid long-lasting harm to your body.

Remember, God created you and wants the best for you. He gave you sound judgment on how to live your life and present it to Him a living sacrifice. That’s hard to do when you look like a piece of toast and you’re in agony because of 3rd degree burns.

To burn or not to burn, that is the question.