My family and I love going to local events. Every year here in Saginaw, TX we have what is called “Taste of Northwest”. It is a vendor fair that hosts the local restaurants and businesses and is similar to a carnival. This year was a little less exciting but it is still good to eat dinner from all of the samples.
One particular booth was from a local church. I usually pay particular attention to the church ones to see how they evangelize or recruit for members. This one had a punching buddy (a punching bag that looks like a person) with a red cape around it and horns on his head. When a person would pass by they would say “Hey, take a shot at Satan!” “Punch him out!” Then they would give out some pamphlets about their church. I didn’t have any contact with them so I do not know if there was any evangelizing going on.
In today’s passage Jesus prayed to the Father and thanked Him for revealing who He was to the people. Then he says something like; “Come to me all who are tired and weary and I will give you rest.” Does this mean that after a hard days work that we go to Jesus and He will restore us? Well, He could but in this context Jesus is referring to those that have been battling the BONDAGE of Satan. You see many people think that they have to CLEAN UP THEIR life BEFORE making the decision to follow Jesus. But Jesus says in this passage that it is HE that can and will free us of the bondage and we can REST.
I do not believe that we have to battle Satan at all. Yes the Bible says that we have power over scorpions and snakes but the source of this power does not come from us. It comes from Jesus but I do not think it is actually us but rather Him working through us. Remember when the disciples came to Him and said that they had a hard time getting rid of a demon? What was Jesus’ reply? “This type can only be done with prayer and fasting.” Prayer and Fasting are the two acts that we can do to refocus our source of strength, God. So is teaching people to hit or battle Satan biblical? I do not think so. I believe that our job is to “GO” and “TELL” people about Jesus. The fight between Satan and God is handled by God. Although we can be used by God to do this it is not our mandate.
Have you ever been scared to death that you would be called upon to pray in front of people? Did you remember the prayer requests? In case you didn’t know, I am an extreme introvert. I used to be terrified that I would be called on and I have a few times. Yet I survived and prayed a simple and somewhat canned prayer. I remember growing up in the Nazarene church and sometimes there would be someone who would just stand up and start praying. He would start hooping and hollorin’ (that’s Southern for Hollering or yelling) and sometimes waving a hankie around. It was a sight to see and it lasted for quite a while. Jesus might have witnessed people in His day putting on a display like this. He probably saw them stand up in the synagogues or maybe the street corners. Actually, He said that he did. He tells us NOT to be like them and gives us 3 things to do when we pray:
Instead of praying out in the open and drawing attention to yourself we should “go into our private room”. Doing this we are by ourselves and our focus can ONLY be toward the one we are praying to.
We are also to “shut the door”. When we “shut the door” it allows us to open up in honesty toward God. We are more likely to confess before a Holy God our sins and repent from them.
We are to “Pray to our Father who is in heaven.” We are to remember who exactly we are talking to. The “Creator of the Universe”, the one who SPOKE everything in existence. Humbling to think about isn’t it? That is the point.
Jesus was not at all forbidding public prayer and saying that we should ONLY pray in our closet. But He was saying that people who ONLY pray in public and never in private are praying for the wrong reasons. Since when we pray and we do not truely know what or how we should pray Jesus gives us a model for prayer. We know it as the “Lord’s Prayer”. Some recite this as an actual prayer but in the context in which it is used it is a teaching tool. Tomorrow we will break the steps down and examine each part. Today be thinking about your prayer life. Do you pray? If so, how often? Do you use scripture to help you?
Daniel is one of the few individuals in Scripture about whom nothing negative is ever written. How did he live a life of such conviction and courage? What was the secret that enabled him to please and glorify God so consistantly? A number of answers could be given, but consider this. Time and again, Daniel is revealed to be a man who prayed faithfully. You’l find his key prayers in 2:17-23; 6:10-11; and 9:1-3. No matter what circumstances he faced- and he faced some very treacherous ones- no matter how busy his schedule was, he found time to commune with God through prayer. As a matter of fact, the awesome revelations of chapters 10-12 were given to Daniel by God as a direct answer to his prayers (10:10-12) We can gain much insight into the lives of the prophets of God. Certainly, they were uniquely chosen by God for a unique task. And yet their lives were set apart for that purpose through their heartfelt devotion to God- a devotion that was fueled by fervent prayer. While the page is not quite fully set up, you may view the Prayer Group page. As this blog grows in readers, my hope is that people will pray for each other by using this page as a guide to pray for specific needs.
I think I need to clarify some things concerning this blog. First, it is still in rework and we are testing the grounds (get it Bible Grounds) to see whether or not to publish weekly, monthly, bi weekly or just every once in a while.
Second, I want everyone who reads this and thinks that this is going to be world changing then please pray. I will have some articles about prayer and how to pray but in the meantime just ask God to bless this ministry.
Third, I need for you all to participate in the polls. I think that we may use the results to drive the main article. So, what if your main concern is not one of the choices? Well then just email us.
Fourth, I need for everyone to tell someone about it.
Thank you in advance for everything. I hope that this can be the place where there are no boundaries. When I lived in Sicily, I used to visit the outside cafes where the old men of the city would discuss a wide range of topics. Anything goes! Politics, religion, food, anything. I would enjoy my cappo and try to learn Italian by listening to the locals. They would argue and try their case in front of the town shouting and flailing their hands about desperate to have their opinion heard and recognized. But at the end of the day, everyone was still friends and no one felt unwelcome. This is our goal. We want to have the heated discussions, the differing ideas, but at the same time recognize that we are not the final authority on any subject. The Bible, God’s Word is.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of bringing Alex Aguilar to the saving knowledge of Christ. It was a wonderful experience as he was the first person that the Lord allowed me to share the Gospel with by myself. Tonight I saw him in the service with his mother and his two younger brothers. How good God is!!! I am too excited to write anything about it at this moment but I promise I’ll give details later. For now, I am asking that everyone please pray for Alex. Pray that God would put a hedge of protection around him so that satan could not discourage him. Pray that he would have inner strength. Praise God!!! Galatians 2:20 <