Steve Berger's Blog http://steveberger.gracechapel.net Pastor Grace Chapel, Leiper's Fork, TN. I tweet about Heaven & the unchanging character of God. Tue, 17 Mar 2015 20:01:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 Paul’s Hallelujah Anyway Life http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/03/pauls-hallelujah-anyway-life/ Tue, 17 Mar 2015 15:01:04 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2446 Continue reading...]]> Last week we started a new series on the book of Philippians and the idea of a Hallelujah Anyway faith, attitude and lifestyle that says, God is good no matter what! He is mine; I am His. I’m not leaving, and He’s not leaving me—for eternity. Hallelujah Anyway faith means that we praise the Lord anyway—in spite of the circumstances that we are facing.HallelujahAnywayTeal

In today’s post I want to unpack seven observations from Paul’s Hallelujah Anyway lifestyle. We’ll be focusing on Philippians 1:1–8.

He’s a blesser. In verse two he wrote, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s not merely stating a fact—this is a pronouncement of a blessing upon the people. This is his will and his desire, joined with God’s heart, for the people in Philippi—to experience the grace, the divine contentment and peace of God in the midst of their own circumstances. Paul, despite being in prison when he wrote these words, had a Hallelujah Anyway attitude, and is blessing other people.

He’s thankful. Paul wrote in verse three, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. The language of praise and thanksgiving was not stolen from Paul’s life as he sat in a dark, dank dungeon awaiting judgment to be beheaded.

Paul is a thankful man. He didn’t allow circumstances to steal his gratitude in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18) or for all things (Ephesians 5:20). He sincerely believed God does all things well and that he could trust Him even in his darkest hour.

He’s prayerful. He wrote in verse four, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy. Paul is a prayerful man and he remains prayerful when some prayers aren’t being answered in the way or in the timing that he might have liked. Prayer was not stolen from Paul because his most precious and desperate prayers went unanswered. Despite timing and outcome, Paul prayed continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

He’s joyful. We read this same verse and feel his joy. He’s not only praying, he is praying for them with joy. He’s happy to pray for them and lift them to the throne of grace. This is Hallelujah Anyway faith in prayer life. It’s continual, fervent and it’s joyful. Paul’s example of rejoicing through tough times (in this verse and in 2 Corinthians 7:4) should convict us and give us hope.

He’s affirming. In Philippians 1:6, he wrote, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Notice that the emphasis should not be on his confidence, but rather the emphasis is on the fact that he is affirming them. He is speaking well of them and encouraging them.

What might happen in people’s lives if we started affirming the faithfulness of God to them? It would lead to us having our own Hallelujah Anyway kind of faith and that would be incredible.

He’s a right thinker. Paul wrote in verse seven, just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. The “this” is everything we’ve unpacked in the previous six verses—to bless you and to be thankful for you, to pray for you, to be joyful for you and to affirm you. It’s right for Paul to think this way toward the Philippians. Why? Because he had them in his heart! What would happen if we started thinking “right” toward one another? Our thoughts would align with God’s will and His character for other’s lives—thoughts of blessing, affirmation, joy, prayer and our own Hallelujah Anyway faith.

He’s affectionate. In verse eight, he wrote, for God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. Paul sat in a Roman prison twelve years after the first time he met these Philippians. He wrote an endearing, encouraging, intimate, loving letter and he expressed his longing for them.

The love of Jesus for God’s people neither ran out nor grew cold in Paul’s horrific prison cell. The love of Jesus, through Paul, shined brightly and affectionately warmed every heart with which it came in contact. That, friends, is what a Hallelujah Anyway faith is. It doesn’t matter what is happening to us. Through Jesus, we are in command of what happens through us. And, what happens through us is going to be blessing. What happens through us is going to be gratitude and prayer and joy, affirmation, right thinking and affection. Paul’s words and life give us such great vision so we can live at a higher level than many of us have previously lived before.

 

 

 

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Hallelujah Anyway Faith in Action http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/03/hallelujah-anyway-faith-in-action/ Thu, 12 Mar 2015 09:12:53 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2431 Continue reading...]]> In my last post I wrote about the apostle Paul’s “hallelujah anyway” faith in spite of the events during his first visit to the city of Philippi.

This kind of faith was a consistent theme during Paul’s ministry. Approximately five or six years after his first visit to Philippi and six years before he wrote his letter to the Philippians, Paul penned a letter to the church in Corinth. In this letter he responded to reports of divisions and disorder in the church. Paul defends his own credentials and his hallelujah anyway faith life as an Apostle to the wavering Corinthians.HallelujahAnywayTeal

What did hallelujah anyway faith look like in Paul’s life? We can see it clearly in 2 Corinthians 11:22-28.

He first tackles the false teachers who had crept into the church:

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

We can’t read over this too quickly, friends! Paul is saying he frequently faced the threat of death.

From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. . .

Paul was beaten five different times with thirty-nine lashes from a cat of nine tails. Could you imagine the road map of scars on his back? Three times he was beaten with rods. He was stoned. He was shipwrecked three times. He spent a night and a day bobbing around out in the deep, lost! Paul was a hated man.

 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. . .

This doesn’t mean that Paul had insomnia; it meant that the pressure of his constant life struggles triggered sleepless nights.

Also, this wasn’t voluntary fasting—this was fasting from starvation.

Verse 28 says, besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Paul doesn’t allow circumstances, suffering, Satan or even the very real threat of death steal his joy, his faith, or his love for God and God’s people. Paul’s faith is a hallelujah anyway faith.

Notice Paul’s commitment to consistency. Twelve years before he writes the Philippian letter, he’s in a Philippian jail. His feet are in stocks. He’s beaten with rods for serving Jesus. God miraculously delivers he and Silas while they are singing hymns and praying. Now, twelve years later, he is writing a letter to the very people in whose prison he sat. Now he is writing them, encouraging them follow my example.

How do we follow Paul’s example? Worship and never stop. Don’t become bitter. Don’t give up. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Meditate on these things—things that are true and holy and noble and just. Fight the mind wars—guard your thoughts in the midst of these difficult, perilous times.

His commitment to consistency is unreal and supernatural.

So, beloved, are you on a path of spiritual maturity and committed to hallelujah anyway faith no matter the circumstances? The challenges? The world’s view? Paul lived a surrendered life—a life totally surrendered to God no matter the cost. I strongly encourage you to follow his example and have a hallelujah anyway faith so when trouble comes, in any form, you will be ready.

 

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Hallelujah Anyway Faith http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/03/hallelujah-anyway-faith/ http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/03/hallelujah-anyway-faith/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 09:15:23 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2425 Continue reading...]]> 97028679_vqzcp9kc_c_thumbWe began a new sermon series yesterday from the book of Philippians titled Hallelujah Anyway. The heartbeat of this series boils down to a simple fact: We have to come to the point in our spiritual life journey where we refuse to have our “hallelujah” stolen from us. We need to develop an attitude that no matter what comes our way in life, we are going to be people who have a hallelujah in our hearts, anyway.

You may be thinking, “Oh, Pastor Steve, that’s too much for me to do that!” Let me answer you quickly—no it isn’t. All of the great believers in Jesus, throughout human history, had this kind of hallelujah anyway faith and we’ll look at many of them as the series progresses.

Without question the apostle Paul had this attitude and in his letter to the Philippian church, he desperately wanted them to embrace it as well.

Paul visited Philippi for the first time (Acts 16:12-40) during his second missionary journey (approximately 50 A.D.) First, Paul finds Lydia, a seller of purple-dyed cloth, by the “riverside where prayer was customarily made.” Paul shared the good news of Jesus with Lydia. She, “and her household” received Him.

After a time they (It is believed by many that Silas, Dr. Luke, and Timothy accompanied Paul on this journey) met a slave girl “possessed with a spirit of divination.” She was a fortuneteller and she “brought her masters much profit” from her demonic powers.

She followed Paul saying, for many days, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” Even though she was speaking the truth, she was a distraction to what they were trying to accomplish.

Paul went to prayer and came out and said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” He delivered her from this demonic, fortune telling spirit that ruled and reigned in her. He set her free.

Unfortunately “when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace and to the authorities.” The crowd rose up against Paul and Silas and they beat them with rods!. They threw them in prison—in the “inner prison”—in the deepest, darkest belly of a horrible prison, and then put their feet in stocks. Why? All for serving Jesus and doing the right thing.

Scripture goes on in Acts 16:25 and says “but at midnight.” At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners heard them. As Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns, as they were having their hallelujah anyway moment, God does a miracle: He sends an earthquake. The chains fall from them, and the prison doors open.

As the guard of the prison awakes. he is convinced that everybody has escaped. He knows that he is going to be executed for losing the prisoners. He begins to commit suicide. Paul, sitting inside his prison cell says, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” The prison guard then went into the prison, brought Paul and Silas out of the prison cell and looked at them and said, “What must I do to be saved?”

There is power in hallelujah anyway type of faith. What must I do to be saved? Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Their hallelujah anyway attitude brought saving grace to this man

Pastor Jack Hayford wrote, “Paul and Silas rejoiced in the face of their terrible circumstances. As he later wrote back to the church he had planted in this very city of Philippi, Paul commanded from another prison cell, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4).[1]

Do you need to develop a Hallelujah Anyway attitude about any particular circumstances in your life today? Imagine what God can do despite your circumstances.

 

[1] Hayford, J. W. (Ed.). (1997). Spirit Filled Life Study Bible (electronic ed., Ac 16:25). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

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When You Want To Run Away—Choose Prayer http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/03/when-you-want-to-run-away-choose-prayer/ http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/03/when-you-want-to-run-away-choose-prayer/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 10:00:56 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2423 Continue reading...]]> Psalm 55 gives us a vivid picture of a man, King David, in great terror because of his enemies and deeply grieved by treachery. His first reaction to his current circumstance is to turn and run—and let’s not be hard on the “man after God’s own heart,” because that might be our response as well when were under this kind of pressure. David, however chooses to offer earnest prayer for relief. He chooses to fervently seek God and His confident assurances.thumb-1

We can feel his yearning for God in the first verse, “Give ear to my prayer, O God, and do not hide Yourself from my supplication.” He is asking God to “lend His ear.” The Hebrew word he uses is (‘āzan) the same word the prophet Jeremiah used to get the people’s attention to the prophecy God gave him (Jeremiah 13:15). David is pouring out his heart to God and he’s pleading for Him to listen.

The Psalm continues and David expresses great pain. Many commentators believe he wrote this Psalm as a result of his son Absalom’s betrayal. He is hurting deeply, but in the midst of his pain he is crying out to God in bold and fervent prayer.

Verses 16 and 17 show us exactly how he prayed, “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” David uses the Hebrew word qārā, which expresses far more than calling. It’s a word that implies “accosting.” David accosted God with his prayers throughout the day. He confronted God and forcefully proclaimed his need.

Then, in verse 17 David goes even further. He says, “I will pray, and cry aloud.” The word he uses is hāmāh which is an action word meaning to murmur, growl, roar or howl. David went after God in passionate prayer. While everything inside him said, “run!” he chose to stay and seek God. My guess is he was probably on his knees in tears and shouting his prayers to his Father in heaven.

And, when we feel like running away, we need to do the same thing. I know, I hear about things going on every day. We all face a common desire to run away. We all deal with disappointments in life. Many of us want to get away from hassles, and the frustrations. We are weary of arguments, and bickering and sometimes we feel like we are incapable of doing what we think should be done. I know that.

But God.

Why does David hang in there? But God. Just read verses 22 and 23, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You.”

David rested and trusted completely in God’s promises and knew that the Lord would uphold the believer in their life struggles. David knew that when he called upon God, He would listen, and He would sustain him (give him enough to get through the struggle) no matter what was happening in his life.

We are reminded today that when we want to run away we have a better place to go when we run to God, accosting and boldly speaking our prayers to Him.

 

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Jesus’ Answer to Perilous Times http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/03/jesus-answer-to-perilous-times/ http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/03/jesus-answer-to-perilous-times/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:32:05 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2420 Continue reading...]]> I’m grateful to Dr. Michael Brown and the messages he brought us Sunday morning and Sunday night. He gave us, like the son’s of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32), tremendous insight into our times so we can respond from wisdom.improve_your_endurance

There’s no question, as Dr. Brown explained, that we live in some radically difficult times and as believers in Christ we need to not only know what’s going on, but also learn from Jesus and His answer to living in these times.

Here’s the good news. Jesus said in Matthew 24:13–14, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Friends, In the midst of all hell breaking out—BUT he who endures to the end shall be saved! He who endures to the end, which implies you can endure to the end.

When we’re living in perilous times like today, we look at them, identify them, and then we can look with a heavenly mindset and ask God, “Give us the grace to endure to the end, to stand, to be faithful to the very end, to run our race and to finish our course.”

We need to stand firm in two observations from Jesus’ words: It is possible to faithfully endure to the end, even in the midst of perilous times, and it is possible to proclaim the gospel even in the midst of perilous times.

A third observation is that we can live a faithful, overcoming life during perilous times. Revelation 12:11 tells us, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

This is how we overcome:

  • By the blood of Jesus—what He has done for us and in us! In His blood we are washed, sanctified, justified, forgiven, saved, empowered, and gifted.
  • By the word of our testimony—what we believe about what Jesus has done for us and in us! Just read Isaiah 54:17, Philippians 4:13, Hebrews 13:5 and Romans 8:37. I believe that I am more than a conqueror in Christ. I believe that because of His unending, abiding presence and also because Jesus said He will never leave me or forsake me that if I have to attack the gates of hell themselves, woe unto those gates—not because of me but because of Who is with me.
  • By not loving my life to the death—being willing to lose my life, I find it. By believing that my life is not my own. By believing that the life I live, I live by faith in Jesus. By believing that this life and this world are sinful, passing and temporary. By looking for and living for the Eternal City Who’s builder and maker is God. By believing that physical death leads to eternal life in heaven.

In these tough and perilous times, let’s look for a city whose builder and maker is God—which has foundations that are eternal, unshakable, and unable to decay. Let’s choose to be wise in our outlook and be people who are heavenly minded.

Let’s overcome by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and let’s not let our love our lives even to the point of death. The Berger paraphrase is “pull your big panties up and go change the world for Jesus.”

 

 

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A Prayer in the Storm http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/02/a-prayer-in-the-storm/ http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/02/a-prayer-in-the-storm/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:42:53 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2417 Continue reading...]]> Psalm 107 is a word of encouragement. It’s a hymn of thanksgiving to Almighty God for His deliverance from the falls of life. It’s a psalm that should give us renewed confidence to face every challenge that comes our way.thumb-1

Psalm 107:28 says, “Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.” A Bible study from Christianity Today says this:

If you’re at your wits’ end in the midst of the storm you have two options available. You can give up—you can decide the Christianity doesn’t work after all, your life is falling apart and God seems to be asleep, so let’s forget the whole thing. That’s one option.

Or, you can do what the disciples did in Mark 4. They went to Jesus and cried, “Don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38). Not the most eloquent prayer in Scripture, but it was certainly effective. In the midst of your storm you need to do the same thing: Cry out to God, and keep crying out to him until the storm passes.[1]

The disciples did exactly what the psalmist said to do. They cried out to God for help and He brought them out.

But the Psalm doesn’t leave us with just storms:

What does someone who is lost do?

Verse 6, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and He delivered them out of their distress.”

What does a captive do when he is shut up in the prison house of his own making?

Verse 13 says, “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and He saved them out of their distress.”

And what does a patient in the ICU ward do when he or she has lost all hope?

Verse 19: “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and he saved them out of their distresses.”

Here’s the deal. It is exactly the same action in every situation. It’s God’s reminder to us that no matter what the problem is, no matter what the situation is, the only way out is the way up—prayers that cry out to Him.

So in every situation, it is a prayer unto Almighty God. He is anxious for us to cry out and trust Him. I encourage you, wherever you are, in the midst of stress or illness or strife, you need to know that God is there to help you if you will just reach out to Him and ask Him.

 

[1] Christianity Today International, Crash Course on Psalms, (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing, 2009), 89

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Interceding for the Persecuted http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/02/interceding-for-the-persecuted/ Tue, 24 Feb 2015 08:24:56 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2414 Continue reading...]]> This past Sunday Vicar Andrew White helped remind us of the terrible persecution that is happening in many areas of the world. His compassion for oppressed people is contagious and we all need to realize that we are all connected through Christ—as Andrew says, “We’re one family,” and join him in his efforts through prayer and support.thumb-1

I’m often reminded what Open Doors reported a few months ago:

“In the United States, it’s easy for believers to take for granted the rights they so regularly enjoy. From praying and worshiping in public to attending Sunday worship services, practice of one’s faith is generally accepted in America. But this isn’t the case in many nations such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali, Syria, etc. in which religion, itself, is banned or where one faith system is permitted and touted, with all others being continually denigrated.”[1]

Horrible things are happening around the world, every day and we need to have spiritual kingdom eyesight to realize that outside of our middle Tennessee, Williamson County, little gospel bubble, a nightmare is breaking loose in the world.

It is time to be like the sons of Issachar and understand the times and know what to do. I love that passage from 1 Chronicles 12. The sons of Issachar understood what was happening in their day spiritually. They didn’t just look at things through the lens of easy living. They understood the spirit behind what was happening in their day. They understood it and then they knew what to do; they knew how to respond; they knew how to prepare themselves; they knew which direction to go. That is radically important for us to know and understand.

The sons of Issachar understood the times. Commentator Adam Clarke wrote about them, “It appears that in their wisdom, experience and skill, their brethren had the fullest confidence; and nothing was done but by their direction and advice.” These men knew how to respond because they knew what was going on. People looked to them for help because they prepared themselves and so should we.

We need to do the same thing as these sons of Issachar —be aware of what is going around us so we can respond out of compassion, and spiritual composure. Then, once we have our feet secure in those two things, we need to pray. We need to intercede for our brothers and sisters who are in peril. We need to cry out to God for the bondage and pain they are experiencing.

We also need to lend our financial support to ministries like Vicar White’s. He is supporting people with food, hospital care and education and he needs our help.

We need to know what is happening around us so we can boldly respond and be prepared when the storm hits.

[1] https://www.opendoorsmy.org/persecutedchristians/about-persecution

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The Name in Action http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/02/the-name-in-action/ Thu, 19 Feb 2015 10:35:58 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2412 Continue reading...]]> We can see an illustration of the power of Jesus’ name early in the book of Acts. In Acts 3:1–8 we find Peter and John going up to the Temple at the hour of prayer. These two men, partners in the fishing business (Luke 5:10); together at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–2); the ones who prepared the last Passover for Jesus (Luke 22:8); and the two who ran to the tomb on that very first Easter morning (John 20:3–4) were working faithfully together to build the early church.thumb-1

At this time Christian believers were still attached to the temple and there were three traditional hours of prayer—9:00AM, noon, and 3PM. This was the ninth hour or the 3PM time. There were nine gates that led from the court of the Gentiles into the Temple. This gate, the Beautiful Gate, looked like gold and was a prime location for a beggar.

Peter and John, upon seeing the man teach us a couple of things. First, they were not too busy to stop, right there in the middle of the Temple gate, to pray for this man. They didn’t tell him, “We’ll pray for you,” and continued walking. They stopped and prayed on the spot.

They also teach us the power of Jesus’ name in action. While the beggar thinks only of “silver and gold,” the two apostles pray for something greater. Acts 3:6 records Peter’s words, “Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’” There is no question they understood power of and permission to use the Name of Jesus in their prayers.

And, a miracle happened. How? The two apostles saw this man lying there obviously in need of a miracle and healing. What are they thinking? They’re thinking about their time with Jesus. They’re thinking about the name and nature of Jesus—what He did and what He gave them permission to do. So they came upon this circumstance and they seize an opportunity.

The man looked at them, expecting to get some cash. But he didn’t get cash; He received something so much better.

The crowds want to know what happened and Peter responds in Acts 3:12-16. In these four verses Peter makes it clear. He says, “It is not us, our power, or our godliness that made this happen. It is His Name. We have faith in His Name—we have faith that comes through Him.”

Peter had seen the name of Jesus do miracle after miracle, and do more than anyone could ever ask or think. He had faith and expectancy that when he spoke His Name, according to His will, and according to His nature something would happen.

Let’s learn from the apostles. Let’s take time to stop and pray. Let’s start using His name—understanding our legal, life and love union with Jesus, combined with His promises. Let’s start asking and believing for great things.

 

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Praying In His Name http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/02/praying-in-his-name/ http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/02/praying-in-his-name/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 09:33:50 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2410 Continue reading...]]> Friends, there is no greater name in the entire universe than the Name of Jesus. The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:9–11 that everything, and everyone, everywhere, must bow their knee to that Name
and confess His Lordship over all—we need to start using the Name with faith, and not merely empty tradition!thumb-1

God reveals His name and nature in Exodus 34:5–7. His name and nature reveal Him as eternally self-existent, all sufficient One who is merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth.

Jesus’ Name and nature are revealed in Matthew 1:21. The Name of Jesus, Yeshu’a, means salvation. Andrew Murray, in his excellent book, With Christ in the School of Prayer, wrote, “The Name of Christ is the expression of everything He has done and everything He is and lives to do as our Mediator.”[1]

It’s important for us to realize this—Everything He has done and everything He is—are wrapped in His Name.

Trust is part of His Name. The psalmist wrote, “Those who know Your name will put their trust in You! (Psalm 9:10)” Pastor Lloyd Ogilvie wrote, “Those who “know” (yāda˓, “have intimate communion with”) God’s name are God’s people. He calls them by name and they call Him by name.”[2]

Victory in battle against our enemies is linked to His Name. Psalm 44:4­–5 tells us, “You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob. Through You we will push down our enemies; Through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us.” The Believer’s Bible Commentary reminds us, “She [Israel] has learned that the battlebow is not to be trusted for success, nor is the sword a sufficient savior. God is the One who has delivered His people and thoroughly confused their foes![3]

Authority is part of His name. In John 14:13, Jesus extended His authority (picture it like a power of attorney) to His disciples—this extension includes us because every follower of Jesus 
has the legal right 
to use the Name of Jesus over the enemy!

So, how do we apply the trust, victory and authority we have in His name? Proverbs 18:10 hints at an answer, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

We are to run to His name and we are safe, in His name. The Hebrew word for run is rûs. The word means to run, but it may carry with it a sense of urgency, a need to hurry, or a sense of intense concern, care and excitement. Praying in Jesus’ name begins with our running to Him, His character and His nature. In other words—because “in the name” means “in the nature,” we can’t ask for something that’s contrary to His nature and expect to receive. “In the name” only allows us to go as far as Jesus nature and nowhere else, thus the safeguard.

Let’s run to Him with our prayers. Let’s take everything to Him and trust in Him for victory. Let’s use our authority, and rely on His safeguard. There is no greater name.

[1] Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, e-Book edition

[2] Williams, D., & Ogilvie, L. J., Psalms 1–72 (Vol. 13), (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc. 1986), 69

[3] MacDonald, (A. Farstad, Ed.), Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1995) 617

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Praying with Expectancy http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/2015/02/praying-with-expectancy/ Thu, 12 Feb 2015 10:25:13 +0000 http://steveberger.gracechapel.net/?p=2407 Continue reading...]]> Over my last few Blog posts I’ve focused on several Hebrew and Greek words for prayer and crying out to God. These are strong words that hold within them a meaning of boldness and fervency. We see Jesus crying out to God (this doesn’t always imply loud volume) and we should follow His example of praying earnestly, and pursuing our desire in a steady, sincere, eager way because it
is a FOUNDATIONAL way of praying in the New Testament.thumb-1

At the same time, we need to pray with a deep sense of expectancy and belief.

Let me ask you a question—when you pray, do you expect God to do something because you know He is able to do it? Or, do you half expect to be disappointed because you doubt God would be willing to do something awesome and out of the box for you?

Jesus is speaking in Mark 11:24 and He says, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” R. A. Torrey in his book, How to Pray, wrote, “There must then be confident unwavering expectation. But there is a faith that goes beyond expectation, that believes that the prayer is heard and the promise granted.”[1] Friends, God is looking for people who dare to believe Him.

James refers to Elijah’s expectant praying. He wrote, “And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit (James 5:18).” E.M. Bounds calls Elijah’s prayer “expectant prayer.” He wrote, “[Elijah was] watchful for results, looking for the answer. He had the inward assurance of the answer even before he had the rain.”[2]

We must pray, not only asking with strong desire—begging and craving—but also with hearts that overflow with expectancy and faith.

Friends, it is faith that creates expectancy in our hearts. It is faith that deeply connects us with God and His promises of His Word. It is faith that will give us the peace of knowing, like Elijah and others, that God will deliver according to His will, His plan and what is best for us.

Expectant prayer is different. It comes from a deep knowing in our hearts that the God is able. Expectant prayer is exciting.

We must remember to pray expectantly and that if our prayers are going to be filled with passion, our hearts must be filled with desperation. If our prayers are going to be filled with faith, our hearts must be filled with God’s Word. Without passion and desperation, without faith in God’s Word, we’re not really praying, we’re merely talking — “Lord teach us to pray!”

 

[1] Torrey, R. A. (1900). How to Pray (Chicago; New York: Fleming H. Revell company), 61

[2] E. M. Bounds, 30 Day Prayer School, (Memphis, TN: Matthew Bryan, 2010), e-Book edition

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