As church leaders, we often preach and teach our people about having fellowship with God. But how many of our people really know what we mean by that? Do we really know what we mean by that? What is our fellowship with God?
“Daddy will you teach me this?” Those were the words from my three year old son recently. He was holding a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior. He received the box for Christmas, but his mom and I had not had time yet to begin teaching him the material. And as you know, toddlers are very inquisitive. He wanted to learn.
His simple, heartfelt question made me smile. And then it made me think. He knew – he believed – that his daddy had the answers he wanted. And he knew that his daddy loved him and would help him discover.
This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.– Mark 9:29
Here the disciples were questioning Jesus as to why they did not have the power to cast out the demon.
They lacked the power because they lacked the preparation.
Before trying to tackle any major task of spiritual significance, especially in church leadership, prepare by fasting and praying.
I journal. Or, at least I make an effort too (sometimes life gets crazy).
I used to have 2 notebooks – one for my personal devotions, and one for journaling my thoughts at the day’s end. In retrospect, my life was compartmentalized. Not in a terrible way, but in a way that didn’t fully relate my devotional readings and prayer to what happened that day.
I’ve since combined these notebooks into one.
I hear pastors talk about being relevant. There is nothing more relevant than the Bible. Fear not pastor, if you are preaching God’s Word, you are relevant! And there is nothing more relevant then reflecting in your journal at the end of a busy day, and thinking about how you did, compared with God’s standard from that morning.
Our life and God’s Word should intersect a thousand times during the day. The two notebooks are one.
Do you journal? Do you keep a devotional notebook? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I was not a fan of Free Book after the first chapter. I was after the last. At first, the author got on my nerves. He called me a “Bible thumper” (which I am). He shatters the idea of moral absolutes (pg. 14 – “it isn’t even right for everyone to drink”). And he says the Bible is unfairly viewed as a “book of restrictions” (pg. 15). Umm…..it is. It’s called God’s Word.
But later in the book, Brian Tome deals quite effectively with some deep topics. Forgiveness, confession, the spirit world, and strongholds in life are all discussed. I was reminded by this book of just how real Satan is and how much he hates Christians.
“Free Book” is written to help Christians find freedom in the Spirit. I think the book gives an excellent path to that.
I would recommend the book to more mature Christians who may be struggling with freedom in a certain area. It may lead to some real breakthroughs.
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I recently read a volume of work by E. M. Bounds on prayer entitled “Necessity of Prayer”. I encourage you to take the time to read over some of it. The work is lengthy, but well worth the effort.
The piece is at once revealing, convicting, inspiring, and telling. It is a work on true prayer that, upon initial encounter, is deeper than other books concerning the same. It is revealing in the fact that Bounds covers much theological ground in handling the subject of prayer. This task in itself reveals the mystery and deepness of true biblical prayer. Bounds discusses faith, perseverance, righteous living, the house of God and more – all centered around a Christian’s prayer life. It is convicting, as we will see in a moment, in that the truth that he uncovers applies instantly to any Christian reading it who has any spiritual pulse at all.
It is also convicting to read that a mere man writes (and presumably lived) this way. To have a full understanding of these things he addresses means that he has worked them out himself in the battlefield that is the Christian life. This is not a theoretical thesis from a fresh grad student – this volume is wisdom in print. It is inspiring, however, in that Bounds does not leave us destitute on the roadside along his straight path to righteousness. He stops and picks us up and points the way, so that we too can experience this awesome prayer life he speaks to us of.
Lastly, it is telling in that a majority of the evangelical Christian population today would not comprehend the content of Mr. Bound’s work, much less be inspired to attain to it, having understood its biblical relevance.
There is too much information to cover in detail, or even at a distance, for that matter. So, I will be selective. I trust that the material I provide will inspire you to read or re-read the work, if you have already done so. In the first section of the paper, Bounds tackles the notion of faith and prayer, and their relation.
When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we are, in a measure, shutting tomorrow out of our prayer. We do not live in tomorrow but in today.”
His assertion here is that the biblical teaching is to attend to things of today and not to worry about what will happen tomorrow. If we spend time praying for tomorrow’s needs today, and God knows of our need and was going to provide when the time came, our prayers were in essence “unnecessary and redundant”. Food for thought.
Later in the volume, Bounds addresses issue of sincerity in prayer. He speaks specifically of desire and its relation to our prayers:
Desire goes before prayer, and by it, created and intensified. Prayer is the oral expression of desire. If prayer is asking God for something, then prayer must be expressed. Prayer comes out into the open. Desire is silent. Prayer is heard; desire, unheard. The deeper the desire, the stronger the prayer. Without desire, prayer is a meaningless mumble of words.
The truth here is self-evident for any Christian: prayer without sincerity is dead. We ask God for what we have need of, and those needs come from our desires for our lives. This work by E. M. Bounds is full of similar spiritual truths and insights. It is bolstered by the fact that he references Scripture as his guide throughout. Sadly, these truths and similar ones are the farthest thing from many of our minds for many of our days. We have become a generation focused on quick information, when the truths to be found, like those concerning prayer, require patience, long-suffering, and diligence.
Worry about nothing, pray about everything. That is Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:6. When we feel anxiety about a situation or tension about a situation, we are to take it to God. We take it to Him with thanksgiving – an understanding and reminder of all He has done for us. We are to make our requests known to God and then trust His love and power to accomplish what we ask. We have a Father, a Lord, who controls all. Why should we worry?! To worry is to momentarily forget God. We will have situations that make us anxious, which is why Paul tells us elsewhere to pray without ceasing. Constant prayer is a sign that we refuse to deal with problems internally, inevitably leading to a dead-end outcome, but rather we have come to embody verse 6; we take everything straight to Him. This is the true test of faith that occurs all day. By the way, there is nothing in this chapter or book that talks about popping pills when you get too anxious. Some people need a stronger dose of God in their life, that is currently being substituted by a mind-altering pharmaceutical. That’s all I’ll say about that…..
ur 2-d0 4 2-day: Put the pills down and take the next thing that bothers you straight to God. See if the “peace of God” overwhelms you (vs. 7).