1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
This verse has been in my heart pretty much everyday for the past couple of weeks, and it means what it says. Pray without ceasing. It's a command, not a suggestion. I have been endeavoring to do as this verse says, to pray without ceasing, the best I can. So if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, there’s your answer. But sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to just start praying. Sometimes I just don’t feel like praying. Sometimes I don’t know what to pray. But whenever I don't feel like praying, I go and read from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John when Jesus is the garden of Gethsemane.
Here are the verses from Matthew.
36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
I very much understand the statement, “...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” My flesh being weak is saying, “I don’t feel like praying.” I know I need to be praying but I just don’t feel like it. Well guess what? Feelings have got nothing to do with it. So I read these verses and I see the strength of Jesus. He knew where he was going after the garden, he was going to the cross. He prayed to the Father that if it was possible to not make him to go to the cross, nevertheless, not what I want, but what you want, Father. Man, I read that, and see the strength of Jesus, and that Jesus was going to die, and I don’t feel like praying? Pretty humbling, if you ask me. Jesus knew he was going to the cross to die, yet he still prayed that the Father’s will be done. He knew he was going to the cross, and then he finds his disciples asleep and says to Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” In verse 38 he tells them to watch with him, and he basically says “I’m going to the cross to fulfill the Father’s will, and die, and you couldn’t even stay awake for one hour and pray?”
I also understand the "...pray, that ye enter not into temptation" part as well, from verse 41. A lot of times I understand how those disciples felt. Instead of praying I just want to take a nap, and go to sleep because the oppression is so heavy. That’s why the flesh is weak. But don’t give into that temptation of taking a nap! How would you feel if you were in Peter’s shoes, and you knew that Jesus was going to die on the cross, and he comes and finds you asleep and says “Couldn’t you stay awake for just one hour and pray?” Probably ashamed, at least I would. These scriptures are there for us to learn from. You don’t have to feel ashamed, you don’t have to fall into temptation. How? You pray, even when you don’t feel like praying.
Here is the same account from the book of Luke. It gives more detail as to what Jesus went through as he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane.
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
That word "agony" in verse 44 is defined in Strong's Concordance as "a struggle for victory." One key word in that same verse is MORE earnestly. When things got hard, when he was in a struggle he didn't just quit and give up. He prayed MORE earnestly or intensely. I mentioned this above, but Jesus knew he was going to the cross next, and he still prayed this way. Not only was he just going to die, he was going to die for me, in my place. He was going to die for you, in your place. He went through this agony for you, to prepare himself for what was coming next. Oh the love that God has toward us. To send his only Son to die for us, and carry our sins on his own body, and be buried and on the third day rise again!
You know, I’ve gotten to really love the song I sing, “Walk With Me.” I’ve always liked it because it’s based on 1 John 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” We are to walk as Jesus walked. But part of the chorus of this song goes, “Let me learn to pray, like he prayed. In the garden of Gethsemane.” Part of walking like Jesus, is praying. When I got a deeper understanding of those verses above in Matthew and Luke, and seeing how Jesus prayed in the garden, and then listened to the words of this song, all I could say was, “Wow.” I have no words to describe the impact on me of what Jesus really went through and prayed through in the garden. But now this song is at the top of the charts for me as far as what it means to me. I’m still learning to pray like he prayed, and to walk like he walked. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely possible. And do you know why it's possible? Because Jesus is a man just like you and me, but that's a topic for another blog post.
You can listen and watch me minister the song "Walk With Me" here:
I know sometimes I just need a little kick in the rear to get going to start praying, and reading these passages of how Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane will usually do the trick! Really consider what those verses are saying, and God will give you understanding. It has worked for me several times to read those verses and I'm confident it will provide the same kick in the rear for you as well, for whenever you don't feel like praying!
P.S. - You can download the audio to "Walk With Me," FOR FREE, at the following website:
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Over the past several weeks I have been learning a lot about “the fear of the Lord.” For years I’ve heard the verse, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10), but I really never had a full revelation of that verse until recently.
I was having dinner with a good friend a couple months back and we were talking about some things that God has said to us. One thing that God told my friend, is that, “You’re not gonna like hell.” Now if that right there doesn’t put the fear of God in you, then I don’t know what will. And I believe that God was telling me the same thing through this friend, “You’re not gonna like hell.” Then about a week or so later on April 26, my friend Terre Brown was speaking on the Sunday evening program about how God dealt with her heart regarding sin. And I knew God was speaking to me again that it is possible for me to go to hell for sins I’ve committed, if I don’t change. (I would recommend and encourage everyone to watch this video below, starting at about 17:30).
Jesus tells us who to fear.
Luke 12:5, But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
And again in Matthew 10:28, And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
In Romans it says that, “The wages of sin is death,” and also that “…whatsoever is not faith is sin” (Romans 14:23, Romans 6:23).
After I read those two passages from Luke and Matthew, I started to understand what having the fear of God meant. God was convincing me of my sins, and that I could go to hell. God started working on my heart and I started making some changes immediately.
The next verse that God quickened to me was Psalm 130:3-4, “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.”
Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” If you say that you haven’t sinned, then you’re a liar and deceiving yourself (1 John 1: 8, 10).
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Psalm 112:1 Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
Having the fear of the Lord means doing the things which God has commanded you to do. And if you don’t, you could go to hell. You don’t want to disobey God because, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).” Once you get a true revelation of the fear of the Lord, then you will have the wisdom to know that if you continue a life of sin and rebellion, He could send you to hell. One of the scariest verses that was revealed to me is, “God is not a respecter a persons.” You can find that several times in the New Testament. Don’t ever think you’ll automatically miss hell just because you go to church on Sundays or that you’ve been attending church your whole life. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what position you hold, you do not want to disobey God.
Read Luke16:19-31 (click to read) about the rich man in hell.
Now I’m not sharing this to condemn or judge anyone. I’m sharing this because I’ve experienced this myself and hopefully people will see that being a Christian is not game. It’s not a part-time job. It’s a way of life. You can’t just do whatever you want to do and call it God. I’ve learned this over the past couple years, and especially the past couple months.
Jesus said in Luke 9:23, …If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
So, how do you get out of a life of sin? How do you take up your cross daily? Repent of your old ways, and believe the gospel. The gospel is how that Christ died for our sins, he was buried and that he rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). You have to believe the gospel EVERY DAY and in everything you do.
Romans 10:9 Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved.
Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
You have to WANT to be delivered, you have to WANT to believe. It’s not going to be easy at first, but you have to use your will and endeavor to believe. You may not see any changes immediately, but never stop believing. Humble yourselves and let God convince you and purge you of your sins. No it’s not fun, and sometimes it’s quite painful, but I can assure you it is better than going to hell.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
You are never too far away from God. No matter what you've done or what sin you have committed, as long as you have a breath in your mouth you can still be saved. All you have to do is say the name “Jesus.”
Read this account in Luke15(click to read) about two sons.
John 6:37 …and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Hebrews 13:5, 6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Call on the name of Jesus and you will be saved. Call on that name and he will in no wise cast you out. Call on that name and he will never leave you, fail you, or forsake you.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
That name is JESUS.
(I'll say this again: I strongly recommend and highly encourage everyone to watch the video at the top of this post and watch the video from our Sunday night program on April 26, 2015).
Friday, June 26, 2015
Earlier today I posted 1 Corinthians 1:10 on Facebook:
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
I have seen many posts today regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize gay marriage. A lot of my Facebook friends call themselves Christians. But yet I see some of these friends support this ruling, and other friends who are against it. If we are supposed to speaking the same thing, how come we have differing opinions on this subject? And which side of the argument is correct? Neither. The verse mentioned above says we all should be speaking the same thing, and that “thing” we’re supposed to be speaking is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel is how that Christ died for our sins, he was buried, and he rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).
A lot of people’s hearts are being exposed, and I see a lot of hate toward each other because of these differing opinions. Both sides of this argument use scriptures from the bible to support their opinion, and a lot of judgements and insults come from that because both sides think they are right.
1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
But you know what? Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day for me, for you and for anyone who has a differing opinion than you. Jesus rose again for EVERYONE; black, white, Jew, Muslim, gay, straight, conservative, liberal, republican, democrat. It doesn’t matter. He died and rose again for you. And all you have to do is believe it.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
In the past some would say that my political views would be considered far-right conservative. But now I don’t affiliate with any political ideologies or parties (i.e. conservative, liberal, republican, democrat). Jesus did not affiliate with any politics, so neither will I. And we are to walk as he (Jesus) walked (1 John 2:6). In Mark 1, the first thing that Jesus does after being in the wilderness, is the preach the gospel, saying, “…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Then in Mark 16 Jesus commissions us to preach the gospel to every creature. Jesus preached the gospel, and he called us to preach the gospel as well.
My prayer for everyone is that God will lead you to repentance, because if you call yourself a Christian and are not proclaiming the gospel of Christ then you need to repent. My prayers for you also come from Colossians 1:13, 14:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
And also Acts 26: 18 –
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
All this debating, fighting, arguing, and name-calling is childish and needs to stop. Y’all need Jesus. And to get Jesus all you have to do is what Romans 10:9 says, “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.” Call out the name “Jesus” and he will come and save you, heal you, make you whole. Don’t be afraid to say the name Jesus, he will in no wise cast you out (John 6:37). Call on the name of Jesus, and start following Him and quit following the world.