Ok, so I’ll get the conversation going with this.
Remember that it is important to share our stories as to encourage others. With that in mind, it is not necessarily “bragging” or “pride” when we share what we’re doing here as long as it is not for selfish reasons.
I offered to buy a candy bar for a guy I work with but rarely get the chance to converse with. He would only accept if I chose the treat. I picked a Kit-Kat and we had a good conversation about his day at work thus adding a link to the chain of our friendship (as I don’t know the person well). Even better…he insisted I take half back. A blessing for both of us!
It’s time for a two dollar challenge!
Most of us can afford to have two dollars in our pocket ready to give to somebody or to buy a coffee or a chocolate bar for them. I want to encourage everyone to do that just one time this week and to try to capture a bit of the story by asking them how they’re doing or telling them that God put them on your heart to bless them; even if it’s just a random person. Let’s talk about the responses next week.
I put this challenge out to the ones who come to the book study and we’re going to talk about it on Thursday.
Last Sunday we had a great discussion on prayer in our service. I asked “Why do we pray?” Many had great answers which varied from building relationship with God to praying for our own needs and worshipping God. The Bible talks about prayer a lot. In various places we are told to pray for ourselves (supplication), others (intercession), to worship God, for spiritual warfare, and for many other purposes.
Philippians4:4-7 reminds us to “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (King James Version)” In these verses Paul encourages us to constantly bring our prayers to God with an attitude of gratefulness.
We then spent 20 minutes praying as follows:
• Five minutes of thanksgiving (remind yourself of the things God has done for you in the past)
• Five minutes of confession (your own sin, ask the Holy Spirit to bring things to your attention)
• Five minutes of supplication (petition of my own needs)
• Five minutes of intercession (praying for others)
This is a very easy model to follow. It’s good to read some scriptures, and spend time listening for God to respond to your requests.
John chapter 14 records Jesus saying two things that are greater than Him. He said whoever believes in Him will do greater things than He did. He later said He was going back to the Father who was greater than He.
If you think about what Jesus did, it’s hard to imagine anything “greater.”
Our God is on our side and can do greater things than even what is recorded in His Word. Through Him, we have the power, no we have the authority to experience these greater things.
Challenge for today: what “greater” things are you believing for?
Second Corinthian 4:8-9 reminds us that the early Christian church was “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
How could they remain positive? They knew what they were fighting for! When you know your goal in life and are certain that you are taking the necessary steps to achieve that goal, YOU CAN REMAIN POSITIVE IN THE MIDST OF ANY TRIAL!
I challenge you today to think of ONE POSITIVE THING about your present situation and write it down so you keep it at the forefront of your thoughts.
Many of us are familiar with Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. There is a bit more to this story though. The next time we here about Lazarus, after he is raised, is when he is literally reclining at the dinner table (John 12). Shortly after this, he was running for his life!
I think it’s interesting that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead but DID NOT REMOVE HIS GRAVE CLOTHES. Jesus’ first order after this resurrection is in John 11:44 where Jesus tells “them” to take off the grave clothes and let him go (NIV).
This implies that, when someone is coming out of a tough situation or receiving salvation for the first time, WE need to be there to help them get to the dinner table!
The most important moments in anyone’s life are those that shortly follow a dramatic change. This is where the decision is made to continue in this new life or go back to the old ways.
I believe Lazarus could not have been fully delivered without the people around him taking off those grave clothes. (Can you imagine a resurrected man walking around fully wrapped like a mummy?)
So, this month’s challenge is for all of us to find someone who we can help move forward in their life!
In Psalm 119 (the one you probably haven’t read too many times since it’s 176 verses long) David said, “Seven times a day I will praise You.” Remembering how easy it is to glorify God (from the previous blog), do you think you can do it seven times tomorrow?
I challenge you!