Sunday, July 25, 2010

Waiting, It Really Ain't So Bad

Do you feel like you are in a waiting time this summer?

 

I'm parked right now so to speak.. but I get to head North and pick up my wife in about an hour. That's why I had a bit of time to look at these verses here—Yeah, I'm waiting. Expecting great things.  

 

Have I been bored at all? No, never am. I've met a few new people in the last hour. Even had a chance to speak German with a nice German visiting here too.  

 

When I go to the dentist, I normally dislike the Waiting Room, but hey, someone new could enter there as well. I might be able to share the Message with em. It's happened before. Who knows?

 

God Knows what He's doing. Do I always? No, sometimes I simply listen and try to befriend them.  

 

Are you in a waiting room believer? Are you in an inbetween time. Just know that God orders our stops as well as our steps.

 

"I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry." ~ Psalm 40:1

 

Praying, resting, waiting, trusting—these are words that tell a story;

As we wait for God to lead us, He responds, "Just seek My glory." ~ Hess

 

At the dentist—that's when I normally try to stay preoccupied by reading if nobody is there. Many of us all over the place.. don't like waiting at all, but we've got to remember that God ain't in some big downtown sorta hurry. No, no!

 

God cares about fruitfulness, but there are times where He has important things for each of us to learn as we are in His waiting room.

 

And waiting ain't so bad. There are things we can do. We might even come to enjoy it as we wait on Him in silent prayer. You know how this dog-eat-dog world can be.. so filled with deadlines, push and shove.. rush, rush RUSH! But we don't need to be that way.

 

The Lord says to each of us, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

 

"Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes." ~ Psalm 37:7, nlt

 

"I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him." ~ Psalm 62:5, nlt

 

In a nutshell.. Don't bark or turn into a shark, Clark, when God has your life in park. 

 

Read more of this devo randomness at my photoblog.

Where Can I Find “The Sinner's Prayer” In The Bible?

You can't… unless you have some weird modified non-authoritative Bible.

"OK then, can we find anything similar to that traditional form prayer in a normal Bible?"

Good question!

It would sure be a good study to look at huh. There are many verses that address what this prayer speaks of.   

But Christians and religious leaders have been notorious over the years for using terms and concepts that simply are not biblical in their attempts to "make a convert," and we need to be aware of this.  

Am I saying that every Sinner's Prayer is unbiblical?
 
No, and sinners (like me) do need to pray/communicate with God. We can all start where we are.  

I like what the Apostle Paul said better, "But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed" ~Romans 10:8-11, kjv

Christians often hear a pastor, a church or a fisher of souls (a witnessing believer) tell a potential convert or visitor of the Sinner's Prayer.

In fact we tend to do this so much so (especially in the last five decades), that many have come to believe that the Sinner's Prayer is God-breathed and of canonical origin. I've met people that want to memorize the exact wording verbatim just like they would the 23rd Psalm (and some forms of it appear to be more biblical than others).

The God of the Bible does want every person to repent of their sins ..for all have sinned and broken God's holy laws. He clearly wants all to believe in Jesus Christ His only sinless Son. This is Scriptural. Being water baptized saves no one, but it is commanded for believers as they identify with Christ's death, burial and resurrection.

But the fact remains that there is no rote prayer or formula found in Bible called the "Sinner's Prayer" nor is there any prayer taught, recommended, given by an Apostle that could be used in every salvation experience.

In the 19th Century the very effective evangelist, Charles Finney, popularized the so called Sinner's Prayer. It was simply according to his passionate style and God really blessed Him as he preached the Word of God. Can you find any traditional altar calls, sinner's prayers or individual requests for Christ to come in and take the throne of one's heart in the Bible? No.

I often like to ask, "Would you pray something like this..?" It's because I want to give people an opportunity to trust Jesus, to pray something that would agree with the Bible and yet still have their own customized prayer come from their heart rather than mine. It's going to be their "walk of faith with the Lord" and I want no one thinking they are converted by or to Kurt.

Jesus is the ultimate Fisher of people. He alone is the only one who can save someone. Uncle Ben's wild rice converts, but the Lord is the only One who can get you to the uber-primo Destination God has for you. Am I saying that all people will be saved? No.

I don't believe that everyone who has responded to an altar call, who has shaken a preacher's hand, who has filled out a card and said a Sinners Prayer has been born again of God's Spirit. There must be true repentance involved. And I am not saying that "Altar calls", cards or hand-shaking is bad in and of themselves. In fact, I've been in way too many church services.. open air and inside buildings ..that never give sinners an honest opportunity to turn away from their wrong and destructive lifestyles to the only Savior.

Don't like that! After pure worship, what is the Church for? Too many smug religious people all dressed up in white etc, are still playing church, but it's all just a show, a political center, a social club, a major turn-off for visiting unbelievers who can smell the hypocrisy almost a mile off.      

The Bible doesn't tell us that people are good. It tells us that people are sinful and separated from a united harmonious life in God. It teaches that, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). And there are lasting consequences for being spiritually whacked (sinful).. "The wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation from God] (Rom. 6:23).

As some people have expressed their feelings about this prayer in the past, I certainly won't tell you that the "Sinner's Prayer" per se is a negative thing!

Please let your Sinners Prayer agree with the Bible, let it remind you that you are spiritually bankrupt—a needy sinner who must come to God on God's terms rather than on your own. I did this in 1977 and haven't regretted it for one moment.

Let your prayer be one of honest belief and repentance. Let it be a time for reverent reflection, contrition, and full confession. No need for beating yourself up over and over again or for Protestant or Catholic penance.

Let your sincere crying out to the Lord for His undeserved Salvation be earnest. Make it your own plea from the heart (in your own words) for His greatest help and miracle!

Church folk and Christians are known worldwide for buying books about angels, blessings, self-help and prosperity, but all other blessings and miracles from the Lord do not compare to His great Salvation! Never forget that.

Perhaps you're thinking, "Sinner's Prayer.. huh? Kurt, what are you even talking about with this? What is a typical Sinner's Prayer?" Here's one…

Dear Lord Jesus:

Thank You so much for your sacrifice on the cross at Calvary. Please forgive me for all of my past sinful thoughts, attitudes, and behavior. I do repent of the sins that I know I've committed and for the ones I don't know about. Please make me alive with a right spirit. With Your help, I want to change and grow. Please use and begin sanctifying me into the mature kind of person that you want me to be. Fill me with your Spirit and write my name in the Lamb's book of life. I know I am not worthy; but, I willingly accept You as my Lord and my Savior today. Thank You for this wonderful blessing of Salvation! Amen.

"Kurt, why do people pray that prayer anyways—what's their motivation?"

Well, because they realize that God really cares about them even though they've messed up, that Jesus is the only real and permanent fix to that.. if you will, that the devil and his minions (fallen angels) literally hate them and seek to destroy them, and also because they simply want to live foreverandeverandeverandever enjoying friendship and family in Heaven! They want to have life during life here and now as well. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me" (Jn. 14:6, notice that He did not say "I am a way among many ways").

The Bible also declares, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16, niv). They can see that apart from a born again relationship with Christ, there is no eternal or meaningful life. Jesus Himself said, "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (Jn. 10:10).

How much love? "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). How many friends have done that for you and are alive to talk to you about that today? God says, "Christ died for our sins..He was buried..He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures..He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred.." (1 Cor. 15:3-6).

Christian, tell the Lord that you are available to be a witness for Him. Let Him prepare your heart as you regularly steal away to listen to His words and intercede for your friends. Ask Him to empower you and lead you every day when you can remember this (yes, it's ok to be filled and refilled with His Spirit).  

Fish4Souls.org

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Single and Frustrated in a Social-Media-Crazy Post-dating Sorta World?

Why should I give a flip about my spiritual life.. ya know, "seeking the Lord" or sharing my faith? Really Kurt, I mean if I haven't even begun to figure out my most basic love-life issues ..that occupy so much of my thought life, why should I start on other stuff now?

 

First things first right?  

 

Are these hopes, dreams, and aspirations of mine even important to God at all?

 

I figure, this ain't my grandmother's life, time is marching on and how do I put it all in perspective these days?

 

I don't want mere friends with benefits anymore! 

 

I mean, when was the last time I went on a date, or have I ever been on anything like that?

 

So many of my friends seem to be getting tempted with the slim pickens of the world.. or falling down, but I feel frustrated! Used to simply check my email, but now there seem to be ten places I must check. I'm forced into geekville!

 

Ok, I've got this ex-boyfriend that keeps showing up. This is like a curve ball for me cuz aren't they supposedta like.. remain ..history? I know this guy is just wrong for me on so many levels….but hey, there is no one else showing up.

 

Then there's this one coworker who has kind of become a bit of an ego-booster-type of friend when I'm feelin' sort of down. Girls like me shouldn't get down, but he is becoming accustomed to joining me on lunch break and I should say something.. or nothing soon. How can I know for sure about this? I'm not sure about this guy and God's will.

 

Then there is this numskull-guy whose mind-set is totally on the wrong wavelength so I flat-out told him to walk south until his hat floats.

 

And there's this "prospect" who like.. never really turns into a real prospect because he's really skilled at "friending" all my friends and staying busy, and then being unavailable ..and just remaining impossible to figure out. 

 

Perhaps if I could just chill and get my ducks inline a little bit—putting off the feelings, the love life dream, the crazy hectic work chaos, the hope chest?

 

Maybe this is the time to start considering the whole "God-thing" with a church-search, a Bible study group, praying and all (I mean, other than desperately crying out last-minute for help before an exam when I haven't even prepared for it).

 

Practically speaking, what is a frustrated or confused young adult to do in this texting, social networking, post-dating kind of world? How can we bring the Lord into such a mess? Would He want to enter? Seems like all the rules have flown out the window these days.

 

Kurt, isn't the whole witnessing-thang naturally supposed to flow out of the strength and health and overflowing joy from having the vertical relationship right?

 

Dear Frustrated (even tough this isn't really a letter from a real person),

 

Yup!!!!!!!!!

 

And God does feel for all the single guys and ladies out there who are having to adjust a lot, fast! He not only has the answers for you (in his Word), but He is the Answer for you!  

 

Please rest assured that neither He nor His principles have changed ..even though our society's morals, values, worldview ..and even technology have. Singles are not really alone; God is there and He understands each one.

 

When I was single, I used to wonder why it was that some people work so hard, strive, and spend a lifetime trying to get all their whacked relationships in order on the horizontal plane, but put obtaining closeness and harmony on the vertical plane.. last?

 

Listen, if we get right ..by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.. with the most important Person—our heavenly Father—then all the other relationships will fall into place. Yes, all relationships need to be prioritized, but only One should come ahead of all the others!

 

Doesn't the Bible encourage young and old adults, who each have a calling with these words.. "Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass" (Ps. 37:3-5, nkjv).

 

Well, how much do you really trust God and His faithfulness? Do you delight yourself in Him very briefly once a month or so, just so He'll give you the desires of your heart.. when He might want to give you completely new desires in your heart? What are your true motives? Are you afraid He'll make you convent or monastery material wearing a habit or collar.. if He has His way?

 

Fear not, God invented romance and doesn't want to do that to you ..if He's already put that "love relationship longing" in your heart. But He's an unselfishly-jealous God who won't play second fiddle behind some idol (human-love-connection, or whatever you have been tempted to put before Him). I've found Him to be worth my time but pretty ruthless in conforming me into Christ's image. It isn't always comfortable to have Jesus as Lord (my boss). 

 

Listen, if you are a married person who has made your spouse or kids your personal idol ahead of your relationship with God, then stop it? The Bible verses apply to you as well.  

 

I like how the Message challenges all of us saying, "If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think He'll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met" (Matt. 6:30-33).

 

One translation commands, "Seek first God's Kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well" (ncv). And what "first" actually means in the original language here is: first.

 

Smile! Sure, why do so many of us complicate things?

 

"God can heal a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces." ~Anon

 

"The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." ~Psalm 34:18

 

Listen single friend, don't seek a wife, a lover, a soul-mate, a sex-life outside of marriage. Please don't worry about all that! Either He's sufficient or He ain't, but I'm telling you He is.

 

Don't go after a career or a house or other stuff first. Worshipping Jesus on His terms must come first! Seek Him daily like you would for treasure ..cuz He is exactly that!

 

The Lord really wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed, but He also wants to get you ready to be a real blessing to others who don't even know His best Blessing …..of enjoying a right relationship with God. Salvation is His greatest miracle! Too much is at sake for you, for your family, and for your peers. Why fret or stay all distracted by much lesser things when cooperation (with Him) in world-changing is so much better and exhilarating?

 

We live in a culture where one of the hardest things is to get up a little early, block out some time alone and to think deeply on truth—to meditate upon (or to memorize verses in) the Word. Why is getting real honest in prayer with your bestest-Friend ..or lifting up another friend in intercession so hard these days? I guess we have gobs more options.

 

Why is it so easy to put relationship-cultivation with Christ at the end of the relational line—on the bottom of the to-do-list? Please don't let any of the devil's imps or your fleshly nature or TV or the world's system or a ringing phone ..rudely shove Jesus Christ out of the picture ..especially when He alone is your ultimate Gain.. when He is your first-love and alone can satisfy the deepest longings of your romantic heart? Put Him first—issue settled!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Feel Like He's Madatcha? Nawww; His Arms Are Open Wide.

Why stay at a distance any longer?

Get away with the Lord and you'll recover your life! 

"He's not mad at you

He's not disappointed

His grace is greater still,

than all of your wrong choices

He is full of mercy and He is ever kind

Hear His invitation,

His arms are open wide!"

~ PocketFullOfRocks