Prayer as a Sign of Faith

Dear brothers and sisters;

May God’s grace, peace and mercy be with you in abundance, in the Lord Jesus. We have reported previously (read here)  that this form of salutation is no mere formality, but a prayer that God gives you strength not only to hold onto your faith, but also power to proclaim the Gospel. To pray constantly is God’s Will for us, and to constantly pray for things that are according to His Will is one of the most authentic testimony of the health of our Faith.

Put it bluntly, if you have a weak or non-existent prayer life, it is a sure sign that either you have little faith or no faith at all.

Consider indeed the parable recorded in Luke 18, where Jesus sought to teach us that we should always pray, and not give up.

Luke 18:1-8Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray all the time and never give up. 2 He said, “In a city there was a judge who didn’t fear God or respect people. 3 In that city there was also a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while the judge refused. But later, he told himself, ‘I don’t fear God or respect people, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice. Otherwise, she will keep coming and wear me out.’” 

6 Then the Lord added, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. 7 Won’t God grant his chosen people justice when they cry out to him day and night? Is he slow to help them? 8 I tell you, he will give them justice quickly.

Jesus illustrated constant prayer by speaking of a widow who kept bothering a judge to grant her justice against her adversary, although the judge kept ignoring her request. He then indicated that this judge, as unrighteous as he is, will eventually grant her request because of her persistence.

Then, as was often His custom, He invited us to consider how much more therefore God would answer the valid requests of His people who pray to Him daily.

But then He asked a question:

Luke 18:8…But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

What is the meaning of this question? What is the link between faith and prayer if not that constant prayer is the very proof that one still has faith, and has not given up?

JESUS ASKED:

WHEN I COME BACK, WILL I FIND FAITH…WILL I FIND PEOPLE WHO STILL PRAY CONSTANTLY? WILL I FIND PEOPLE WHO STILL BELIEVE THAT I HEAR THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS, AND DO ANSWER?

The widow in the parable could not have come back again and again to the judge is she was not intimately convinced that he could do, AND was the only person qualified to do something about her case.

Do our prayers carry the same conviction? Or do we begin to look for alternatives when we think that the answer is delayed? Do we now begin to think that someone else may be able to answer our request? Perhaps, as opposed to the widow, we may decide to take matters in our own hands, rather than returning again and again to the only one with the power and authority to render justice.

Our prayer life is a sure measure of the health of our faith. Men and women of strong faith always have a strong prayer life, and men and women of weak faith always have a weak prayer life.

Therefore, the Lord permitting, allow me to counsel you with these few words of wisdom: If you have weak prayer life, your faith is weak. Then, in those few occasions when you do pray, pray that God will give you more faith. For if your faith grows, so will your prayer life.

May the Lord Jesus be with you.

AMEN.

Is the Spirit of the Lord Upon You?

To the Servants in God’s Kingdom;

You, who see yourself as a member of God’s Kingdom. You who see yourself as enlisted in God’s army, a co-laborer of the Lord, is the Spirit of the Lord upon you? You know much, you are convinced of much, you speak much, you discuss much about doctrine and truth, but is the Spirit of the Lord upon you?

Luke 4:18,19“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
    he has anointed me to tell
        the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to set oppressed people free,
19 and to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Listen to the reasons Jesus gave for God sending upon Him His Spirit. God sent His Spirit upon Him

Because He had anointed Him to proclaim the good news to the poor
Because He had sent Him to proclaim freedom to the captives
Because He had sent Him to give sight back to the blind
Because He had sent Him to deliver those that are broken in pieces
Because He had sent Him to announce that the acceptable time of God had arrived

Oh my friends, how are you, in your ministry, delivering and giving hope to those who have lost hope? How are you proclaiming the freedom that is found in Jesus to those who are mentally imprisoned? How are you opening the eyes of those who cannot see the light of the truth? How, my friend – you who see yourself as God’s servant – how are you proclaiming the good news? Do you see the fruits of your labor in the lives of others?

Do you recognize those who are poor in Spirit? In your ministry, you, servant of the Lord, are you wise as a serpent, yet innocent and pure as a dove?

Matthew 10:16 [ISV]  –…be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves

Or do you instead cause more harm than good? Do you crush the oppressed with the magnificence of the truth, or do you gently heal his wounds with it? Do you preach with your mouth, or with the Spirit? Do you crush the weak with the full weight of the truth, just because it is the truth?

John 16:12 [ISV] – I still have a lot to say to you, but you cannot bear it now.

Oh that the good news is a dreadful and destructive weapon in the hands of those who are not led by the Spirit. For they lack wisdom and discretion, being incapable of discerning the needs of the captives, the broken hearted and the blind.

The three friends of Job passionately and vehemently defended God, His majesty and sovereignty in the ears of Job. The verdict they receive from God was not what they expected

Job 42:7 – My anger is burning against you along with your two friends, since you haven’t spoken correctly about me, as did my servant Job.

Is the love of God reserved to those who are not yet believers, when we are trying to convert them? Do we turn then into monsters toward them once they become part of the fold, have received baptism, or did the sinner’s prayer? Where is our mercy, lovingkindness, patience and endurance toward our brethren, who, although they are now counted among us, are still struggling?

1 Thessalonians 2:7,8 [ISV] –… we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children. 8 We cared so deeply for you that we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but our very lives. That is how dear you were to us.

Many of us should ask ourselves this question: Is the Spirit of the Lord upon Me?

Be led by the Spirit, and not by yourself, and care for the brethren, for Jesus cares for you.

John 13:34 – I’m giving you a new commandment…JUST AS I LOVED YOU, you also should love one another. 

May the Lord be with you, to the glory of His Majesty, our Father in Heaven.

AMEN

BY THE SPIRIT, OR NOTHING

Friends;

May the Lord in His grace and mercy bless you abundantly in the name of His Son, Jesus-Christ, our Lord and Savior. As Children of God, we ought to understand our complete dependency on the Spirit of God, both for our own good, and to play our part, as intended, in the Body of the Christ.

The intent of this letter is simply to highlight how God wants us to be clear that outside of His Spirit, there is no nothing: There is No Body of Christ, there is No reconciliation, there is No power to work by His side, and there is No possibility to Love others like Jesus loved us.

THOSE WHO ARE PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST WERE ADDED THROUGH BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

There is one and only one way to become part of the body of Christ. GOD has to add you, and He does so by baptizing you with the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:13 – For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

EACH MEMBER OF THE BODY HAS BEEN GRANTED ABILITIES, BY THAT SAME SPIRIT, TO BE AN EFFECTIVE AND CONTRIBUTING MEMBER OF THE BODY

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 – To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

Please note how distinctly devoid of natural (mental or physical) abilities this list is! Some of us are great speakers, some of us great singers, some of us great organizers, some of us great athletes, etc. And it is true that all of those abilities are ultimately granted by God, and can all be used to bless God’s people.

However, please note as well, that, just like the rain, God grants all those abilities to ANYONE! Believers AND unbelievers alike, God fearing people AND Devil worshippers!

But the abilities listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are in a different category. They are distinctly described as administered by the Spirit. And it is those gifts that are listed as given by the Spirit FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.

Our churches are replete with people of various natural talents, and we are blessed when one member uses his or her talents for God’s service. But those talents should not be mistaken for the gifts of Spirit, which, ALONE, are the necessary gifts for the proper functioning of the body. These natural talents, however good, are ultimately, of the flesh.

1 Corinthians 15:50 – I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

“JESUS IS LORD” CAN ONLY BE SAID IN THE SPIRIT 

1 Corinthians 12:3…no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

One ought to pause and meditate on the statement above, for it makes it abundantly clear that saying “JESUS is LORD” is well beyond the realm of proclaiming with our mouth, printing it on a shirt, or having it as a bumper sticker.

Let us all meditate on this: ONLY IN THE SPIRIT CAN ONE SAY THAT JESUS IS LORD

We can sing it in the most eloquent way, but that does not mean it was in the Spirit. One may feel deeply emotional when singing or saying it, yet it does not necessarily mean it was in the spirit, and therefore, it does not count.

TRUE WORSHIP IS ONLY POSSIBLE IN THE SPIRIT

John 4:23,24 – But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and THOSE WHO WORSHIP HIM MUST WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH.”

My friends, seek to better understand the Holy Spirit. We depend on Him for everything…from being born again, to being effective in ministry, to worshipping God. None of those is possible without the Spirit. Do not be blinded by natural abilities,  the elaborate stage of your worship service, or anything that is possible by natural abilities, for flesh and blood SHALL NOT INHERIT GOD’S KINGDOM.

In the Spirit, or nothing.

In Jesus’ Name.

AMEN