Tuesday, February 28, 2006

~ Devotion ~ Feb 28th

The Urgent Need
~ If you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you what you want so his reputation won't be damaged.
Luke 11:8

By intercession our faith, love, and perservance will be aroused. How may we become more successful in prayer? In the parable of the friend at midnight, Jesus teaches us that intercession for the needy calls forth our power of prevailing prayer. Intercession is the most perfect form of prayer; it is the prayer Christ ever lives to pray on His throne.

Intercession has its origin in urgent need. The friend came at midnight. He was hungry and could not buy bread. If we are to learn to pray as we should, we must open our eyes and hearts to the needs around us.

We hear of the billions of unreached people living in midnight darkness, perishing for lack of the bread of life. We hear of millions of nominal Christians, the majority almost as ignorant and indifferent as the heathen. We see millions in the Church, not indifferent, and yet knowing little of the power of a life fed by bread from heaven. If we believe what we profess, that God certainly will help in answer to prayer, this ought to make intercessors of us. It should motivate us to give our lives to prayer for those around us.

Let's face the need--Christless souls perishing of hunger while there is bread enough and to spare! Our own neighbors and friends, people entrusted to us, die without hope! Christians around us live fruitless lives! Prayer is needed.

Monday, February 27, 2006

~ Devotion ~ Feb 27th

A Model of Intercession
~ They will pray to the Lord day and night for the fulfillment of his promises. Take no rest, all you who pray.
Isaiah 62:6

"Then, teaching them more about prayer, he [Jesus] used this illustration: 'Suppose you went to a friend's house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You would say to him, "A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat." He would call out from his bedroom, "don't bother me. The door is locked for the night, and we are all in bed. I can't help you this time." But I tell you this--though he won't do it as a friend, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you what you want so his reputation won't be damaged' " (Luke 11:5-8).

Prayer is the one power on earth that commands the power of heaven. The early days of the Church are a great object lesson of what prayer can do. Prayer can pull down the treasures of heaven into earth.

Prayer is both indispensable and irresistable. Unknown blessing is stored up for us in heaven; that power will make us a blessing to men and enable us to do any work or face any danger. It is the one secret of success. It can defy all the power of the world and prepare men to conquer that world for Christ.

In all this prayer there was little thought of personal need or happiness. Rather there was desire to witness for Christ and bring Him and His salvation to others. It was the thought of God's kingdom and glory that possessed these disciples. We, too, must enlarge our hearts for the work in intercession.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

~ Devotion ~ Feb 26th

A Living Connection
~ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

In the history of the Church two great truths stand out. Where there is much prayer, there will be much of the Spirit; where there is much of the Spirit, there will be ever-increasing prayer. When the Spirit is given in answer to prayer, it stimulates more prayer to prepare for a fuller revelation and communication of His divine power and grace. If prayer was the power by which the early Church flourished and triumphed, is it not the one need of the Church today?

Perhaps these should be considered axioms in our ministries:

1. Heaven is still as full of stores of spiritual blessing as it was then.

2. God still delights to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

3. Our life and work are still as dependent on the direct impartation of divine power as they were in Pentecostal times.

4. Prayer is still the appointed means for drawing down these heavenly blessings in power on ourselves and those around us.

5. God still seeks for men and women who will, with all their other work of ministering, specially give themselves to persevering prayer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Today's Devotions

Murray's opening statement is this:
"Definite, determined prayer is what we need."

I remember when I re-dedicated my life to the Lord, I became a member of the Clothing Ministry at my home church. The ladies would always begin and end each work session with prayer. There was one lady though that stood out from all the rest. She prayed with boldness and I wanted to be just like her. I would practice in my prayer time and I would look up the scriptures to learn more on prayer. Finally, I came to a place where the only way to have that boldness was to be unwavering, completely surrended and fully persuaded that what I boldly came to the throne to ask for, I would receive.

My prayer life changed immediately from that point. I began to seek the Lord on a daily, continual basis. I found that I truly looked forward and enjoyed this sweet fellowship with my Lord. I began interceding for others everyday which really changed my life and help me to see and understand what the Great Intercessor does for me daily. Definite, determined prayer ~ He has it, I've experienced and now its time to continually live it.

I challenge you today, come boldly to the throne of God and make your requests know unto Him, fully expecting Him to do what you are asking according to His Word. Then watch the Spirit of the Lord shake your world for His glory.

~ Be Blessed ~

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Bookworm: A Literary Tour: Day 1

This is really cool ~ you've got to check it out. So, stop by today and make sure you leave a comment too.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Today's Devotions

Today's devotion really struck home. I have been desiring a more closer walk with the Lord and I realized that it was only going to happen by prayer. I must diligently seek His face and come before Him in prayer in order to have the relationship I so desire. As the scripture indicates, that it will only be by prayer that I will be able to accomplish this successfully.

I desire to be like Smith Wigglesworth
who lived a life of prayer, talking to God all day, everyday.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Today's Devotions

I thank my God everyday for His people who love me like this.
My prayer is that we all do the same for each other.
~ Be Blessed ~

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Today's Devotions

"Power of God's Word"
~ read more at the link above.

Have an awesome day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Today's Devotions

This is awesome. I am having such a wonderful time with this study. I hope you all, who are following with me, are having a wonderful time in the Lord too.

Today's devotions is again about love. Murray opens with this statement that really ministered to my heart "Today is wholly devoted to the praise of love." Yes, thats what I needed to wholly praise in love. Oh, how freeing this is, to know that to love the Lord, to live for His love and in His love, changes everything. The negative has to go, the guilt has to go, the pain has to go and anything that is not of God has to go. For in living a life of love is living in the very presence of God who is love.

I don't know about any of you, but this makes me shout inside, want to shout at the top of my lungs the glorious wonders of our God. I love the Lord ~ that's it ~ I love the Lord and it really feels good to truly, wholly love Him with all my heart.

May you know the joy and beauty of loving our heavenly Father, too!

~ Be Blessed ~

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Something to Think About

"I live my life in this earthly body
by trusting in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself
for me" (Galations 2:20)

Are you living like this today?
If not, make it your prayer today.
We all deserve to live in His best,
for He gave His best for us.

~ Be Blessed ~

Friday, February 10, 2006

Something to Think About

"O Clap your hands, all ye people;
shout unto God with the voice of triumph."
~ Psalm 47:1

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Today's Devotions

Oh, how the Father truly loves me. I must tell you, life hasn't been the lovely story He has planned for me these past few years. We moved to OK and still don't have a home church and its been hard on me. I desperately miss my pastor's ministry, lovingkindness, and covering. I miss my church family, my adopted parents and all those who have touched and ministered to me when I needed it most. Oh, please don't misunderstand, I have made some wonderful friends and beautiful people who daily inspire me to be all that I can be, however, I don't actually know them or see them on a regularly basis. Most of them are my new cyber family, whom I truly and dearly love.

After reading today's devotion, I realized that I had allowed the love of God that flows in and through me to become dormant in several areas. I had stopped loving the unlovely, serving the needy and simply loving my life through Christ. I forgot how much I love being of service to my King, of being the vessel that His love and compassion flows through, of being His hands and feet to a needy and dying world, and how good it made me feel to know He loves me so very much.

You see, I don't hear that message every day or every week anymore. It really is hard to explain, but living here in a city that has a church on every corner and where there is no love is really hard for me. My home church in Va motto is "Love never fails," and it is so true, they exemplify this message well. Yes, they had their issues, they are human, but they loved with the love of Christ and you were always welcome no matter what you were going through. I haven't found anything remotely close and I know that this is how it should be according to scripture. Why don't more Christians walk this way? I guess that's the same question Murray was asking back then. Ummm.

Well, no matter, I have a choice to make. Do I choose to walk in the love of God or to continue to walk in the world's terms of love? Will I allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse me of the bitterness and loneliness so that I can see what I am to do next? or will I just sit here and sulk thinking about what I use to have?

Today, I chose to walk in love, to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in and through me so that I can be all that the Lord has made me to be. I want to hear "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," when I meet Him face to face. I also want the peace of God to surround me every moment of the day. I encourage you to do the same, and I promise you, you'll never be the same. Nor will this world when we "Shed abroad the love of Christ that is within us." I'll stand in the gap for you and you stand for me, because
"if two of you shall agree on earth as touching
any thing that they shall ask,
it shall be done for them of my Father..." Matt. 18:19

~ Be Blessed ~

Friday, February 03, 2006

Something to Think About

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

~ Devotional ~ Feb




Stone Walls Give Way
~ But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
Acts 12:5

When we pray consistently we will receive an entrance into God's will of which we would otherwise know nothing. We will receive blessing above all we ask or think. The teaching and power of the Holy Spirit are unalterably linked to prayer.

The power that the Church's prayer has is shown not only as the apostles pray but also as the Christian community does. In Acts 12 Peter is in prison awaiting execution. The death of James has roused the Church to a sense of great danger; the thought of losing Peter, too, wakened all their energies. They went to prayer.

Prayer was effective; Peter was delivered. When he came to the house of Mary he found "many were gathered for prayer" (Acts 12:12). Double chains, soldiers, and the iron gate--all gave way before the power from heaven that prayer brought to his rescue. The power of the Roman Empire was nothing in the presence of the power that the Church wielded in prayer.

Those Christians stood in close and living relationship with their Lord. They knew well that the words "I have been given complete authority" and "Be sure of this: I am with you always" were absolutely true. They had faith in His promise to hear them whatever they asked. They prayed in the assurance that the powers of heaven not only could work on earth but also that they would work at the Church's request on its behalf.

A Higher Gift
~ Your prayers and gifts to the poor have not gone unnoticed by God.
Acts 10:4

At Samaria Philip had preached with great blessing and many believed. But the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on them. The apostles sent Peter and John to pray for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

The power for such prayer was a higher gift than preaching. It was the work of men who had been in closest contact with the Lord. Of all the gifts of the early Church, there is none more needed than the gift of prayer. This power is given to those who say, "We will give ourselves to prayer."

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the house of Cornelius provides another testimony to the interdependence of prayer and the Spirit. Peter went up to pray on the housetop. He saw heaven opened and there came a vision that revealed the cleansing of the Gentiles. Then came the message of the men from Cornelius, a man who "prayed regularly" and had heard from an angel, "Your prayers. . .have not gone unnoticed by God." Then the voice of the Spirit was heard saying, "Go with them" (Acts 10:20).

It is a praying Peter to whom the will of God is revealed and who is brought into contact with a praying and prepared company of hearers. In answer to all this prayer comes blessing beyond all expectation and the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the Gentiles.

Spiritual Roots
~ After this prayer, the building where they were meeting shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 4:31

Definite, determined prayer is what we need. Peter and John had been threatened with punishment. When they returned to their friends, they lifted up their voices to God with one accord. When they prayed, "the building where they were meeting shook. . . . They preached God's message with boldness."

It is as if the story of Pentecost is repeated (the prayer, the filling with the Spirit, the speakign God's Word with boldness), in order to imprint permanently on the Church that it is prayer that lies at the root of the spiritual life and power of the Church. The degree with which God gives His Spirit is determined by our asking.

Later people complained about the neglect of the Grecian Jews in the distribution of alms. The apostles propsed the appointment of deacons to serve the tables. "Then we can spend our time in prayer and preaching and teaching the word" (Acts 6:4). There is nothing in honest business that prevents fellowship with God. Least of all should ministereing to the poor hinder the spiritual life. And yet the apostles felt it would hinder their ministry of prayer and the Word.

What does this teach? Maintenance of the spirit of prayer is possible in many kinds of work, but it is not enough for those who are the leaders of the Church. They need to communicate with the King and keep the heavenly world in clear focus for the maintenance of their own spiritual life and also for those around them.

Ministration of the Spirit of Prayer
~ If you singful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.
Luke 11:13

Jesus said: "Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for." God's giving is inseparably connected with our asking. He applied this principle especially to the Holy Spirit. As surely as a father gives bread to his child, so God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask. The whole ministration of the Spirit is ruled by the one great law: God must give, we must ask. When the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentacost, it was in answer to prayer.

Along with our confession of the lacek of prayer, we also need an understanding of the place prayer occupies in God's plan of redemption. Nowhere is this clearer than in the first half of the Acts. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the birth of the Church is the true measure of the presences of the Spirit.

The Spirit came in answer to prayer. "They met together continually for prayer." Then there follows, "On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after Jesus' resurrection, the believers were meeting together in one place. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit . . . Those who believed. . .were. . . added to the church-about three thousand in all" (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 4; 2:41).

The Holy Spirit had been promised by Christ. He sat down on His throne and received the Spirit from the Father. But one more thing was needed: the ten days of united, continued supplication of the disciples.

Health for the Soul
~ He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed.
Isaiah 59:16

How can our lack of prayer be transformed into a blessing? How can it be changed into the path where evil may be conquered? How can our relationship with the Father become one of continual prayer?

We must begin by going to God's Word to study the place God intends for prayer to have in the life of His child. A fresh understanding of what prayer is and what our prayers can be will free us from our wrong attitudes concerning the absolute necessity of continual prayer.

We need insight into how reasonable this divine appointment is. We need to be convinced of how it fits in with God's love and our happiness. Then we will be freed from the false impression of prayer being an arbitrary demand. We will yield to it and rejoice in it as the only way for the blessing of heaven to come to earth. It will no longer be a task and burden of self-effort and strain. As simple as breathing is in the physical life, so will praying be in the Christian life that is led by the Spirit.

Our failure in the prayer life is a result of our failure in the Spirit life. Any thought of praying more and of praying effectively will be in vain unless we are brought into closer intimacy with our Lord. His life of prayer on earth and of intercession in heaven is breathed into us in the measure that our surrender and our faith allow.

Finding the Root Cause
~ And God will generously provide all your need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
2 Corinthians 9:8

I met a clergyman who used the expression "the distraction of business." It was one of the greatest difficulties he had to deal with. Every day he had to visit four different offices in his town. In addition, his predecessor left him the responsibility of several committees where he was expected to do all the work. Everything conspired to keep him from prayer.

Various difficulties make a full prayer life almost impossible. But thank God the things which are impossible with men are possible with God! God's call to prayer need not be a burden nor a cause of guilt. He means for it to be a joy. Through prayer He can give us strength for all we do and bring down His power to work through us in the lives of others.

Let us confess the sin that shames us an dthen confront it in the name of our Redeemer. The same light that shows us our sin and condemns us for it will show us the way out of it. Deficiency in our Christian life is the root cause of unfaithfulness in prayer. God will use this discovery to bring us both the power to pray that we long for and also the joy of a new and healthy life, of which prayer is the spontaneous expression.

Time for Prayer
~ Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy.
Isaiah 64:7

At a ministerial meeting the superintendent of a large district said: "I rise in the morning and have half an hour with God. I am occupied all day with numerous engagements. Not many minutes elapse without my breathing a prayer for guidance. After work I speak to God of the day's work. But I know little of the intense prayer of which Scripture speaks."

There are earnest Christians who have just enough prayer to maintain their spiritual position but not enough to grow spiritually. Seeking to fight of temptation is a defensive attitude rather than an assertive one which reaches for higher attainment. The scriptural teaching to cry out day and night in prayer must, to some degree, become our experience if we are to be intercessors.

A man said to me, "I see the importance of much prayer, and yet my life hardly allows time for it. Am I to give up? How can I accomplish what I desire?"

I admitted that the difficulty was universal and quoted a Dutch proverb: "What is heaviest must weigh heaviest." The most important must have the first place. The law of God is unchangeable. In our communication with heaven, we only get as we give. Unless we are willing to pay the price--to sacrifice time and attention and seemingly necessary tasks for the skae of the heavenly gifts--we cannot expect much power from heaven in our work.

The Lack of Prayer
~ And yet the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it.
James 4:2

Recently I attended several conventions at which prayer was often the subject of conversation. A businessman said that the spirit of intercession is what the Chruch of our day needs. Everywhere people confessed, "We pray to little!" Yet there seemed to be a fear that, because of pressure from work and the force of habit, it was almost impossible to hope for change. Such thinking can only hinder our own joy and our power in God's service.

Dr. Whyte of Edinburgh said that, as a young minister, he thought any time left over from pastoral visitation ought to be spent with his books. He wanted to feed his people with the very best he could prepare. But now he had learned that prayer was more important than study. He felt as if it were almost too late to regain what he had lost and urged us to pray more. What a solemn confession and warning: We pray too little!

Is the call of God for our time and attention more important than our work? If God is waiting to meet us and to give us power from heaven for His work, it is short-sighted to put other work in His place. If there is to be a significant experience of God's presence, there must be more definite and persevering prayer.

The Love That Suffers
~ Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins.
Ephesians 5:2

It is strange that love, which is the source of the greatest happiness, should also be the cause of the most intense suffering. Suffering always follows when love seeks to save the object of its love. It is only by suffering that love can gain its end and so attain the highest happiness.

Even the almighty power of God's love could not achieve its purpose without suffering. By suffering, Christ bore the sins of the whole world. Love in the midst of suffering manifested the greatest glory and attained its end perfectly.

Love worthy of the name manifests itself in a life of continual self-sacrifice. Love gives strength to endure, whatever the circumstances. Loving others may mean tears, heartache, and much perserving in prayer; but love overcomes all obstacles.

Do you long to know the love of Christ in all its fullness? Then yield yourself to Him. Think of yourself as a channel through which the highest love can reach its aim. Begin to suffer with and intercede for those around you. Eventually you will realize what this life of love is: to live wholly for the welfare and happiness of others.

The Power of God's Word
~ The very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
John 6:63

Frequently the question is asked: Wy do God's children often fail to realize the great value and absolute necessity of loving each other? One answer is unbelief. Without faith there can be no thought of the power of love within us. True faith acknowledges God's loving care for us and His power to work wonders in our hearts.

It is necessary to be deeply convicted of our total inability to produce this love on our own. We must have a burning desire to receive this heavenly love into our hearts--a love that is holy and can conquer sin and unbelief. When we gain an insight into what God's Word is--a living power in our hearts--we will be filled with the love of God by the Holy Spirit, living and working within us.

Are we ready to acknowledge our deep sinfulness and yield our hearts unreservedly for this love to take possession of us? Are we ready to take time in God's presence in the confidence that His Word will work in us as a seed of new life? If so, then we will love Jesus and each other with a love like God's love for us.

Like Christ
~ I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.
John 13:15

The love of Christ is the basis not only of our salvation but also of our daily life and conduct. Jesus clearly says: "Do as I have done to you." The love of Christ is my only hope of salvation. Walking in that love is the way to enjoy that salvation.

"We should please others. If we do what helps them, we will build them up in the Lord. So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified." (Romans 15:2, 7). God will work within us to "accept each other just as Christ has accepted [us]."

"Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins" (Ephesians 5:1-2). Paul reminds us that love is everything. Christ loved us so much He died on the cross so we could be God's dear children. It follows that we should walk in love. Those who keep close to Christ will walk in love.

"Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy. . . .You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothings you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony" (Colossians 3:12-14). As we walk in fellowship with Him, we are given strength to be like Him!

A Song of Love
~ These are three things that will endure -faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corintians 13:13

Today is wholly devoted to the praise of love. The first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13 speak of the absolute necessity of love as the chief thing in our religion. "If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth. . .if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move. . .if I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body. . .but if I didn't love others" then, three times repeated, "I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a claanging cymbal. . .what good would I be?. . .I would be of no value whatsoever." If I have not love, I am of no value.

There are fifteen things said about love, but one sentence sums up its whole nature: "It does not demand its own way" (verse 5). And again: "Love will last forever" (verse 8). Prophecies, unknown languages, and knowledge shall vanish away. Even faith and hope shall be changed into sight. But love lasts forever.

"Love does not demand its own way." Think and pray about this. "Love will last forever." Consider all that means. "The greatest of these is love." Let this love rule in your life.

God is love. "God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them" (1 John 4:16). Let your heart be filled with love so that, by God's almighty power, you may be a witness to the transforming power of love. Then you will be a blessing to all around you.

Pray for Love
~ And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love overflows toward you.
I Thessalonians 3:12

Paul gives us a powerful prayer in this text: tha the Lord would make them abound in love toward each other, so that hteir hearts would be without blame. Without love, true holiness was impossible. Let us use this prayer often.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:5 we read: "May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God." That is what the Lord Jesus will do for us. As the Apostle makes love the chief thing, let us do the same.
"I want you to know how much I have agonized for you. . . . My goal is that [you] will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want [you] to have full confidence because [you] have complete understanding of God's secret plan, which is Christ himself" (Colossianss 2:1-2). Paul considers love indispensable for growth in the knowledge of God. God's love can only be experienced when Christians are knit together in love and live for others, not only for themselves.
Take time to meditate on these prayers of Paul. As the sun freely gives its light to the grass that it may grow, so God is more willing to give His love to us. As you pray and ponder these words, you will gain a strong assurance of what God is able to do for you. He will make you to abound in love and strengthen you to live before Him in holiness and love for others.

The First Commandment
~ The Lord your God will cleanse your heart. . . so that you will love him with all your heart and soul.
Deuteronomy 30:6

God greatly desires our love. It is the nature of all love to want to be acceptable and to be accepted. God longs to have the love of our whole heart.

How can we love God with all our heart and soul? In the same way that we receive salvation-through faith alone. Paul says, "I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galations 2:20). When we take time to wait upon God and remember how God sought to win our love through the gift of His Son, we shall realize that God has a strong longing for our love.

Our hearts are blind. It is easy to forget that God longs for the love of His child. Once we believe it, we will feel constrained to wait before God and ask Him to let His light shine into our hearts. As the sun gives us its light, God is a thousand times more willing to give us the light of His love.

As we wait silently before God, we become strong in the assurance of faith. God, who longs for our love, is almighty and will fill us with His love by the Holy Spirit.

Take time each day to love God and believe Him with firmer faith. God will work within us, granting the desire to love Him with our whole heart. He will enable us to prove our love by keeping His commandments.

Love and Prayer
~ Be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other.
I Peter 4:7, 8

Earnest prayer and fervent love are closely linked. If we pray only for ourselves, we will not find it easy to be in the right attitude toward God. But when our hearts are filled with love for others, we will continue to pray for them, even for those with whom we do not agree.

Prayer holds an important place in the life of love; they are inseparably connected. If you want your love to increase, forget yourself and pray for God's children. If you want to increase in prayerfulness, spend time loving those around you, helping to bear their burdens.

There is a great need for earnest, powerful intercessors! God desires His children to present themselves each day before the throne of grace to pray down the power of the Spirit upon all believers. Unity is strength. Spiritual unity will help us to live unselfishly, wholly for God and others. Let us apply Peter's words to our livess-"earnest in prayer. . . showing deep love for each other."

As we meditate on lov eto those around us, we will be drawn into fellowship with God. This will come, not by reading or thinking, but by spending time with the Father and with the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Love leads to prayer-to believing prayer is given the love of God.

The Two Leaders
~ I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God's mercy upon them, and give thanks.
I Timothy 2:1

At the time of the unveiling of the Women's Monument at Bloemforntein, South Africa. I spoke a few words about the suffering, praying, all-conquering love of these women. They prayed that God would help them love their enemies and keep them from hatred. I expressed the hope that the feeling of peace and unity might continue and this prayerful love be ours. I said that there were some who feared disunion, not only between the two races in the country, but between those who were of the same race. Not long after we heard that there had been a breach between the leaders of the two parties.

I felt impelled to write an article on the question: "For whom do you pray?" Someone answered: "I pray for the man at the head of my party who, under God's guidance, has now become the leader of all South Africa." And another, "I pray especially for the man who has brought the interests of my people into the foreground." Would it not be said if we came into God's presence divided into two camps praying one against the other? We must pray both for our leaders and for all who are in authority. As leaders of the people, their influence for good or evil is inexpressible. Their hearts are in God's hands, and He can turn them wherever He wills. Let us pray to God in all sincerity for our leaders, that God will grant what is good for the whole land.

As God Forgives
~ And forgive us our sins-just as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
Luke 11:4

The forgiveness of sins is the one great gift that sets the sinner free. Forgiveness gives us boldness toward God and is the source of our salvation. The forgiveness of sins gives us a reason to be thankful every day of our lives.

As we walk with God in the assurance of sins forgiven, He desires that we should live as those who have been freely forgiven. We can only prove our sincerity by forgiving those who have offended us as willingly as God has forgiven us.

In the Lord's Prayer we are taught to pray: "Forgive us our sins-just as we forgive those who have sinned against us." Then at the end: "But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:15). In Matthew 18:21 we have the question: Peter: "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me?" Our Lord answered, "Seventy times seven!"

Then follows the parable of the servant whose lord forgave him his debt but who would not show compassion on his fellow servant. His lord asked: "Shouldn't you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?" So the servant was sent to prisoon. The Lord warns us: "That's what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters in your heart" (Matthew 18:33, 35).

Love Your Enemies
~ You have heard that the law of Moses says, "Love your neighbor" and hate your enemy.
Matthew 5:43

Religious teachers in Christ's day judged that they had a right to say this [Matthew 5:43] because of Leviticus 19:17-18: "Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront your neighbors directly so you will not be held guilty for their crimes. Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself." They argued that it was only their own people whom they may not hate; it was all right to hate their enemies. But our Lord said: "Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" (Matthew 5:44).

How often we as Christians follow the example of those religious leaders! The new commandment to love requires much grace, costs time, and needs much earnest prayer.

When I was a minister in Cape Town I met a German deaconess. She had a class for several Kaffirs who were preparing to join the church. One evening she spoke about loving our enemies. She asked one man if his people had enemies. "Oh yes!" "Who are they?" "The Fingos." She asked if he could love a Fingo. His answer was decided. "I can't love Fingo." She told him that in that case he could not go to the Communion. He seemed very downcast. He was not received into the church with the others but continued to attend the class. Then one evening he appeared with a bright face and said, "I now love Fingo." He had prayed about it; God heard his prayer and enabled him to love his enemy.

There is only one way we can love our enemies: by the love of Christ, sought and found in prayer.

~ Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves tom any wicked devices and evil pleasures.
Titus 3:3

Our text paints a dark picture of the state of human nature! What causes such a sad condition? The answer is "Adam's fall." Think how Cain, the first child born of the man God created, shed the blood of his brother Abel. The first child born on earth came under the power of the devil, who "was a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44). "Now the Lord observed the extent of the people's wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil." (Genesis 6:5). No wonder He destroyed mankind by a flood.

Humanity's love of their own people, implanted in their hearts by nature, soon changed to hatred of other peoples. Love of country became the source of race-hatred and bloodshed. Note how God has placed the races side by side to see if our Christianity will enable us to overcome race-hatred. Will we, in the power of Christ's love, prove that "In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us" (Colossians 3:11)?

What an opportunity there is for the Church to prove the power of God's love to change race-hatred into brotherly love! God has abundant power to make this happen. As Christians we need to pray for ourselves and for each other that we would obey the Word of God and live in the power of Christ's love.

The Sign of a True Church
~ Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
John 13:35

We are taught in most of our creeds that the true church is to be found where God's Word is faithfully and accurately preached and the sacraments are dispensed as instituted by Christ. Christ Himself takes a much broader view. To Him the distinguishing mark of His followers is not merely what the Church teachers-but how we live our lives showing love to each other.

Jesus' death on the cross was love at its highest. We owe everything to this love. Love is the power that moved Christ to die for us. In love, God highly exalted Him as Lord and Christ. Love is the power that broke our hearts, and love is the power that heals them. Love is the power through which Christ dwells and works in us. Love can change my nature and enable me to surrender to God. It gives me strength to live a holy, joyous life, full of blessing to others. Every Christian should show the love of God.

Many Christians are sure it is impossible to lead such a life, and they do not even greatly desire it. They do not understand that we may and can love with God's own love.

If we fully believe that the Holy Spirit, dwelling within us, will maintain this heavenly love from hour to hour, we will be able to understand the words of Christ: "Anything is possible if a person believes" (Mark 9:23). Then we will be able to love God with all our hearts, to love family and friends, and even our enemies.

The Power of Love
~ Overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
Romans 8:37

In days of uncertainty, strong racial feelings, and unrest, we need to experience the love of God. Let us anchor our hope in th truth, "God is love." God's power, by which He rules the world, is the power of undying love. He works through the hearts and wills of men and women who are wholly yielded to Him. He waits for us to open our hearts to Him in love. Then, full of courage, we become witnesses for Him.

This is how Christ's kingdom is manifested and His reign of love on earth begun. Christ died in order to establish this kingdom. The only means He used to gain influence was by showing a serving, suffering love. He saw the possibility of redemption in even the worst of people, knowing that their hearts could never resist the steady influence of love. It was in the fervor of that love that Jesus' disciples were able to do the impossible.

The spirit of hatred and bitterness can never be overcome by argument or reproaches. Some think things can never be different but, if we really believe in the omnipotence of God's love, we may trust His power. Our faith in love as the greatest power in the world should prepare us for a life in communion with God in prayer and for a life of service.

The Love of the Spirit
~ He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:5

As God's children, we must confess that we know very little of fervent, childlike love for our heavenly Father. Why is this? Perhaps we have not learned the lesson that there must be a constant renewal of faith in what God is able to do. We try to stir up love towards God in our hearts. Yet, in our own strength, we cannot awaken the slightest love to God.

Child of God, believe that the love of God will work as the power in your heart that enables you to love God and to love others. Cease to expect love in yourself. Believe in the power of God's love resting on you and teaching you to love God with His own love.

Learn the lessons of our text: "He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." The Spirit will enable us to love God, our friends, and even our enemies. Be assured of two things. First, in your own strength you cannot love God or your fellow Christians. And second, the Holy Spirit is within you every day and every hour, seeking to fill you with the Spirit of love. Each morning as you commit yourself into the keeping of the Holy Spirit, let this prayer arise:

Lord, grant me the assurance that You will pour forth the love of Christ into my own heart, and then let it stream forth to all around me! Amen.

The Love of Christ
~ Whatever we do, it is because Christ's love controls us.
2 Corinthians 5:14

God sent His Son into the world to let us know His everlasting love, even as it was known in heaven. Even the angels in heaven are filled with praise and worship because of God's love. God's desire is that on this sinful earth His love would take possession of the hearts of men and women.

In order to reveal His love and win our hearts to Himself, God sent Christ, the Son of His love, to earth. The Lord Jesus Christ became man and, even though He was God, humbly made Himself nothing. In HIss dealings with the poor, the unbelieving, and the rebellious-and through His miracles-He pourted out His love into the hearts of sinful men.

God gave the greatest proof of love that hte world has ever seen. On the cross He took our sins upon HImself. He bore thte suffering and the scron of His enemies so tha tfriend and foe alike might know God's eternal love.

The, after He had ascended to heaven, He gave the Holy Spirit to shed abroad this love in our herats. Impelled by the love of Christ, the disciples in turn offered their lives to make this love known to others.

Think about this. God longs to have our hearts filled with His love so that He can use us as channels for this love to flow out to others. Let us be satisfied with nothing less and sacrifice everything to secure a place for this love in the hearts of men and women.

The Love of God
~ God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
I John 4:16

The love of God-what an unfathomable mystery! Jesus said "Only God is good" (Matthew 19:17). The glory of God in heaven is that He wills to do all that is good. That includes the two meanings of the word: good-all that is right and perfect; good-all that makes happy.

The God who wills nothing but good is a God of love. He does not demand His own way. He does not live for Himself but pours out His love on all living creatures. All created things share in this love so that they may be satisfied with that which is good.

A characteristic of love is that it "does not demand its own way" (1 Corinthians 13:5). It finds happiness in giving to others. It sacrifices itself wholly for others. God offered Himself to mankind in love in the person of His Son, and the Son offered Himself upon the cross to bring that love to men and women. The everlasting love with which the Father loved the Son is the same love with which the Son loves us.

The love of God to His Son, the love of the Son to us, the love with which we love the Son, the love with which we love each other and try to love all men-all is the same eternal, incomprehensible, almighty love of God. Love is the power of the Godhead in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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