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Pray for Others

Pray for Others

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.” Philippians 1:4 (NIV) The quickest way to change a relationship from bad to good is to start thanking God for people you are having difficulty getting along with. Praying for them will do two things — change your attitude and change them. Positive praying is much more powerful than positive thinking. People may resist our help, spurn our appeals, and reject our suggestions, but they are powerless against our prayers. What do you pray? The more specific you are in prayer, the more specific the answer will be. In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul spells out exactly what he’s praying for people. “And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” (NIV) These verses give you four things you can pray for people today – “Abound in love …” Pray that they will grow in love. “Discern what is best …” Pray that they make wise choices. “Be pure and blameless …” Pray that they will do the right thing. “Filled with the fruit of righteousness …” Pray that they will live for God’s...

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Prayers Have an Impact

Prayers Have an Impact

“God hears us whenever we ask Him and we know also that He gives us what we ask from Him.” 1 John 5:15 (GNT) Do you ever wonder if prayer really works? You’re praying about something and Satan whispers to you, “This is a waste of time. Forget it! Who do you think you are? What do you think you’re doing? God is not listening. Don’t waste your time.” Prayer works because God is in control. The basis of all miracles is God’s sovereignty. Why does He do one and not another? Because God is in control. We have to trust His wisdom and His goodness. Ephesians 3:20 says, “God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes.” (LB) Prayer can do whatever God can do. His resources are available to you. Twenty times in the New Testament it says, “Ask.” It’s encouraging to know that things that are out of my control are not out of God’s. I may not be able to change a situation, but I can pray and God can change...

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Stay Focused with Your Family Priorities

Stay Focused with Your Family Priorities

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV) Running the race with perseverance means we stay focused on our priorities. We don’t let other things step in and hinder us from the priority of deepening our relationship with Jesus. We don’t let other things entangle us, tying us up so that we no longer place priority on our families or our health. Consider this — One day the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water and Peter yelled out that he wanted to walk on the water too (Matthew 14:22-31). Jesus told him to come and so Peter, with all his focus on Jesus, stepped out of the boat and started walking on the water toward Jesus. But then, the Bible tells us, Peter got distracted by the waves and the wind — just like you and I can get distracted by all the good and bad things we come across everyday. And, once Peter’s eyes were no longer fixed on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith,” he began to sink into the water. We cannot walk on water while trying to focus on whatever we want — sometimes Jesus, sometimes the wind and waves; sometimes God’s priorities for our lives, sometimes trivial pursuits; sometimes the purpose God created us for; sometimes “the sin that so easily entangles.” What do you need to do to maintain the priorities in your faith, your life, your marriage, your family, and your health throughout this Decade of...

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News Flash: God Controls Time, Calendars Express Shock

News Flash: God Controls Time, Calendars Express Shock

And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (TEV) It will come as a surprise to our calendars, smartphones, and alarm clocks, but God controls time. The best our tools can do is measure the time passing. God created time and he uses it to direct and guide us into setting priorities. When tend to think in terms of today or next week, but God wants us to get our eyes on eternity. That is why Pastor Rick is teaching us to look ten years forward – to the end of this Decade of Destiny. Where does God want us to be then? What should be our priorities if we want to get to where God wants us to go? Why do we need to plan so far ahead? Our time will come to an end. It is a temporary tool God uses to bring us into forever. What if you only have ten years to live? How would you set your priorities differently? What stops you from setting them like that now? Whey do we need to plan so far ahead? Time moves faster than we think. I’m sure you can relate, but when my oldest son was 9, I thought, “Wow, we’re already half-way through to 18. Where does the time go.” And then, in what seemed like a moment, my son became 16. What will you do with the remaining time that God gives you with your children? What should your priorities be? Remember this — • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Time cannot diminish Christ’s love for you or his power to work within your life. He is there in the past; he is here in the now; and he is there in your future. With Jesus at work, it is never too late to begin again. • A thousand years are like the blink of an eye to God (Psalm 90:4). God is working to bring you into eternity, not just to get you through the end of next week. Praise God for his grace and for a love so strong that he wants you to spend an eternity with...

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God is Never Too Busy to Talk

God is Never Too Busy to Talk

Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. Galatians 4:7 (MSG) Here are three encouraging facts to remember about God: God is never too busy – “The Lord is near to all who call on him.” (Psalm 145:18 NIV) He’s never too busy to talk to you. He’s always near. He never says, “Some other time.” God loves to meet your needs — He’s not annoyed by your request. “If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11 NIV) God is sympathetic to your hurts — “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NLT) When you hurt, God hurts. When you grieve, God grieves. He is there. And He cares. That is the Good...

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God’s Delay May Be a Test of Your Patience

God’s Delay May Be a Test of Your Patience

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.’” Hebrews 10:36-37 (NIV) If you’re discouraged because of God’s delay in answering your prayers, understand the delay is NOT a denial. Just because the answer hasn’t come – YET – that doesn’t mean God isn’t going to answer or that he’s forgotten you or that he doesn’t care about you. It simply means “not yet!” Part of becoming spiritually mature is learning the difference between “no” and “not yet,” between a denial and a delay. The Bible tells us, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.” (Hebrews 10:37 NIV) God’s delay may be a test of your patience. Anybody can be patient once. And, most people can be patient twice. And, a lot of us can be patient three times. So God tests our patience over and over and over. Why? So he can see how patient you are? No! He does it so you can see how patient you are. So you’ll know what’s inside you, and you’ll be able to know your level of commitment. God tests you so that you can know he is faithful, even if the answers you seek are delayed. If you’re discouraged, turn it around by remembering God teaches you patience during delay. Ask him to transform your discouragement into...

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Parenting with the Lord’s Prayer: God Protects

Parenting with the Lord’s Prayer: God Protects

“… but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13 NIV) There is no doubt that this world is becoming increasing unsafe for our children. It is less safe for my grandkids than it was for my kids. And it was less safe for my kids than it was for me when I was growing up. And it was less safe for me than it was for my parents when they were growing up. Remember when you could go outside and play without parental supervision? Ride your bike to the park by yourself? There are all kinds of problems, sins … wackos, and weirdos out there. And there are all kinds of ways that evil can get to your child in your own home through the Internet, television, and things on their phones like sexting. So how do you protect your children from evil? Well, unfortunately, you can’t always control everything that happens to your kids because they’re not in your sight all the time, and they won’t be. But the things that are out of your control are not out of God’s control. So pray! That’s why prayer is so important. You need to pray for your children every day. You need to pray with them before they go to prom and you need to pray with them before the first day of school. You need to pray, “deliver us from evil,” because God’s answer to our fear is his power. He can...

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