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prayer

If My People Will Pray

Friends

We live in unusual times.  In America, our economy is currently doing great, but nothing else is.  America is reeling again.  Families have been ripped apart and individual lives have been torn apart.  One day we are reeling from devastating hurricanes, the next day we are torn apart by racial divisions, the next day we are ripped apart by another shooting.  The pain is palpable, the shock tangible.  Can America still be healed?

It’s a time of economic prosperity but moral poverty.  America needs a national healing: in our government, in our schools, in our businesses, in our neighborhoods, in our families, in our homes, in our bodies, and in our hearts and minds.  But how do we do it?  How do we pray for healing and restoration?  

God is calling out to us, "America, you need Me!"  There is no political solution.  There is no social band-aid that can be applied.  There is no law that can be passed that will heal our sickly land.

Instead, we need to get on our faces before the Lord acknowledging our own sins and shortcomings, not pointing the finger at others but rather at ourselves.  And whatever our views on climate control and gun control and immigration reform and President Trump and social justice may be, we need to implore the only one who can heal our land.  What else is needed to get our attention? 

Like it or not, our nation was founded on biblical principles, with God at the center of our nation, and America can only be great if America is good.  Without Him, our condition is terminal.  With Him, there is hope—but we must act now.

In 1952 President Harry Truman signed a bill into law, making the National Day of Prayer for America an annual event on the first Thursday of May, encouraging millions across our nation to unite together to pray.  We have come a long way since that day.

And now, more than ever, maybe America needs more than a National Day of Prayer, however great and needed that is.  Maybe America needs days of prayer, hearts that are continually shaped and changed by prayer, lives that are loving and bold because of prayer, a nation that comes back to our God with a spirit of prayer, that is continually asking for His grace and healing.

Sometimes it's hard to know where to begin or how to pray.  We just know we have a deep ache in our hearts that cries out for God's mercy, and a longing to see Him heal our land.  And maybe other times we wonder how effective our prayers even are.  

Yet God is faithful, no matter how we feel, and over all that swirls around us in our nation today.

That same power that broke prison chains, raised Lazarus from the dead, and parted the Red Sea, the same power that healed the blind man, and delivered the delirious from demons, that same power is at work still today.  He is the same. Yesterday, today, and forever.

May we stand together and pray for God to heal our land and strengthen His people. May we pray for all those in authority.  May we pray for God’s miraculous intervening, for blind eyes to be opened, for many to see the power of our Lord as never before.

And for times when it’s difficult to know even what to pray, we can trust these words as a place to begin, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”   Romans 8:26 NLT

We are never left to fend for ourselves, wrestling in worry, consumed with fear, or driven towards hate.  He reminds us He is with us, He will help us, that He has not lost control, but has a plan.  And His purposes will prevail.

He hears our prayers, He knows our needs.  There's great power in uniting together, turning our hearts towards God, and praying on behalf of America, our nation. 

Remembering today this powerful truth upon which this nation was founded.  We are "One Nation Under God."  He is where our real hope is found, not in our leaders, not in our economy, not in the condition of our nation today, or any other day.  "...my hope comes from Him." Psalm 62:5 NRSV

What is our part?  What can one person do?  In, Luke 5 there is a great story of a group of guys who took a friend who was paralyzed and in need of healing to the feet of Jesus.  In this account, we find three characteristics that this guy’s uses to help their friend get to Jesus.

•Compassion:

  This man was healed because his friends cared.  It all starts with us caring about people who are hurting.  Romans 15:2 NLT says, “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord”.  God used these guys because they were sensitive to a friend’s need.  Believe it or not He will use us when we are not preoccupied with our own needs and start caring more about others than we do ourselves.

•Faith:

The men believed God would heal their friend.  Take a look at Luke 5:20 NIV “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’”  It was not the paralytic’s faith that made him well; it was the faith of his friends.  How many people do you know who are so paralyzed they cannot believe in God?  That’s when we have to believe for them.

•Intervention:

These friends did not just pray for their friend; they took action as well.  It’s not enough just to pray for someone who is hurting.  We must act!  Jesus says in Luke 14:23 NLT “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.”  There is a slew of examples in the Bible of people taking others to Jesus.

Make Every Day Count!

Barry

Come Sunday and be a part of Healing for a hurting World!

 

 

How To Look At Prayer

Friends

There is no greater privilege for anyone than being able to personally talk with and speak into the ears of Almighty God.  I love the stickers that are around our church that say “Pray, You Never Stand Taller Than When You Are on Your Knees.” 

No church program, religious event, political effort, or humanitarian cause can trump the awesome power of what God can do in response to the prayers of His people.  I love the verse found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  If ever we needed this verse it is now!  It is for our community, our state, our nation, and the whole world.

I can teach you about prayer, and that is what we are looking at during this series; but the most important thing I can teach you about prayer is your fulfillment in prayer and your fruitfulness in prayer will not be dependent upon how much you know about prayer, but how much you know about God.  The more you understand God, the better your prayers are going to be, the more effective they will be, the more fulfilled they will be, the more satisfying your prayer life will be.

It's not about learning all about prayer.  That's important, but more important than that is understanding God, and it starts with the fact that God is a multidimensional God.

Multidimensional God means that He is not just one dimension and when you start looking you can see this in many different things.  Romans 1:20 NIV, “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Just think, God created you.  God uses His Word, people, and circumstances to mold us.  All three are indispensable for character development.  God’s Word provides the truth we need to grow, God’s people provide the support we need to grow, and circumstances provide the environment to practice Christlikeness.

How’s your prayer life?  It’s a simple question, but it can be tough to answer.  Literally it sounds like, “How has your talking to God been lately?”  Emotionally it might feel like, “Sum up your relationship with God at this point in your life.”  Bible reading, by comparison, is clearer and more “objective.”  How many pages?  How far along in your plan?  Which books have you been reading?  What have you learned?  Prayer does not fit into an Excel spreadsheet quite as easily.

God means for your life — married or unmarried, student or employee, young or old — to run on the power of prayer.  Prayer fuels the engine of your heart and mind. It’s not Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, or Instagram; it’s prayer.  You need God in and through prayer more than you need anything else.  We will not do anything of any real and lasting value without God, which means we will not do anything of any real and lasting value without prayer.

And yet you probably feel as insecure about your prayer life as you feel about anything. Prayer might be, at the same time, the most pivotal and most puzzling activity in the Christian life.  It is the lifeline and life-mystery for believers.  We know we need to pray, but we know we don’t pray enough.  And we are not always sure we are even doing it right when we do pray.  Should I even be asking God for this?  Should I still be asking God for this?  Do I even know what I need?

There are times in life when you will be motivated to pray.  It may be because of a crisis, a hope, or a fear that feels all-consuming.  But prayer should also be a part of your daily schedule.  And not just before meals or when going to bed.  I am talking about a time set aside solely to focus on the Lord and your relationship with Him.

When looking at the Bible is there a verse that tells us to pray?  1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT, “Never stop praying.”  You and I are encouraged to pray all the time.  The result of this means we should never be far from the attitude or action of talking and listening to God.  Prayer should be a natural part of our thinking.  Not just in our worship but in our work.  Not just in quiet moments but also in our chaos.  We pray because He’s there.  We pray because He’s God.  We pray because He cares.  We pray because He is a good God. 

Okay so what if you don’t pray all day long, is that wrong or a sin?  I don’t think any one prays all day long.  That would be impossible.  But if we were to say that kids play constantly or that teenagers text their friends constantly, we would not mean they never do anything else except playing or texting nonstop. 

We would just mean that throughout the day, kids are often trying to integrate play into what they are doing.  Many of our youth communicate hourly with their friends on social media.  Likewise, God desires that prayer become an ongoing opportunity we take full advantage of – quietly praising, thanking, and leaning on Him at any moment and context in our minds and hearts.

The way we should look at prayer is a crucial part of the life of a believer.  It is a priority and a passion. 

So, determine today that prayer will be the priority God wants it to be in your life.  Choose to start each day in prayer.  To end each day with prayer.

Make Every Day Count!

Barry

See you Sunday, don’t stay at home, come learn to pray with us.

Teach Us To Pray

Teach Us To Pray

Friends

Did you know?

What would cause people not to pray?  There are many facets to prayer causing people to feel awkward, unsatisfied, frustrated and/or confused when they pray.  We all need help to learn how to pray – even the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray because they understood that’s where His power came from. Most frustrations are caused by our misconceptions: prayer is not a magic wand; it is not an act of desperation; it is not a tug of war with God nor is it a ritual to relieve guilt. These are some foundational truths about prayer.

So, this week I want to put forth some questions that people have asked me, and try to answer them.

What Prayer Is and Is not:

Prayer is not some mystical process whereby we call out to some force.  Nor is it a kind of power with which we create things or speak them into existence, ordering God around like some bell-hop who art in Heaven.  Prayer is communicating with and hearing from God. 

True prayer is what happens when our will is aligned with the will of God, and we pray accordingly. Prayer is our connection to Heaven and Heaven’s connection to us—that is why you should always keep the lines open!

There is no greater privilege for anyone than being able to personally talk with and speak into the ears of Almighty God.

How should we Pray?

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18 NKJV).  Notice the use of the word “all” in this verse.  We are to pray on all occasions, with all kinds of prayer and requests, and for all the saints.

Is there a certain way or position we should be in to pray?  People in the Bible prayed standing, lifting up their hands, sitting, lying down, kneeling, lifting their eyes toward Heaven, bowing, and pounding their chests.  What works for you?  Just pray!

Is there a certain place we should pray?  Scripture tells us, “I want everyone everywhere to lift innocent hands toward heaven and pray,” (1 Timothy 2:8 CEV).

People in the Bible prayed during battle, in a cave, in a closet, in a garden, on a mountainside, by a river, by the sea, in the street, in Hades, in bed, in a home, in a prison, in the wilderness, and inside a fish.

Does Jesus tell us when to pray?  People in the Bible are found praying early in the morning, in the mid-morning, in the evening, three times a day, before meals, after meals, at bedtime, at midnight, and day and night.  People pray when they are young, when they are old, when they are in trouble, every day and always.  In any position, at any time, in any place, and under all circumstances—prayer is good and needed in the life of the Christian

Are there certain types of Prayers I should Pray?  The Bible identifies several different types of prayers we can pray.  One model for how we should pray is captured in the acronym ACTS.  Each letter stands for a specific aspect of prayer, arranged in a very natural order.

·         A: Adoration (worship)

·         C: Confession (of specific sins)

·         T: Thanksgiving (gratitude)

·         S: Supplication (specific requests).

Adoration:

Jesus essentially taught us the same thing in the Lord’s Prayer, which begins, “Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9 KJV).  This puts things in perspective for us.  A good example of this type of adoration is found in Psalm 95:1–7. When we take time to praise and worship God in our prayers, we are placing God where He rightfully belongs.  As a result, our problems and needs come into their proper perspective.

Confession:

The closer we draw to God, the more we sense our own sinfulness.  When Isaiah came into God’s presence, he said, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5 NIV).  The confession of our sin removes any barriers and clears the air of anything that would cause God not to hear our prayers. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us” (1 John 1:9 NKJV).  This is, once again, modeled in the Lord’s Prayer. After “Our Father which art in Heaven,” we find, “Forgive us our sins” (Matthew 6:12 KJV).

Thanksgiving:

Our immediate response after confession should be thanksgiving. We should be thankful that God would indeed cleanse and forgive us. David said, Blessed is the person whose disobedience is forgiven and whose sin is pardoned.”  (Psalm 32:1 GWT).

Should we give thanks because everything is going perfectly in our lives or because we are in a good mood?  No, we should give thanks because God deserves our praise. Psalm 118:1NIV says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For his mercy endures forever.”  As another translation puts it, “His love endures forever.” By giving thanks, which is simply expressing gratitude for what we have, we prevent our focus from shifting to what we do not have.

Supplication:

If we are faithful in the first three steps, the last step will not have debased into giving God our spiritual shopping list.  Too often in prayer we start with requests instead of spending time in adoration, confession, and thanksgiving first.  Yet, God does want to hear our needs and requests.  Scripture tells us, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.   Then you will experience God’s peace...”   (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT).

We are also promised, “And my God shall supply all your need... “(Philippians 4:19 NIV). 

Do not neglect this vital part of your Christian walk.  As someone has said, “Prayer is the breath of the newborn soul, and there can be no Christian life without it.”

Prayer means hope.  Prayer means help.  Prayer means relief.  Prayer means power.

Make Every Day Count!

Barry

Come this Sunday and don’t stay home, learn how to pray with us

Mercy Is A Ministry

Friends
 
I want to tell you how much I love you.  Carolinas Cornerstone Church is a great place to be.  I have watched our church become a Mercy giving place.  Thank you for all you do.  Thank you for stepping up and helping people when they need help.  One of my favorite verses in all the Bible is 1 Corinthians 12:7 Message, “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is:  Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.”
 
When I think about Mercy three people come to my mind.  The Good Samaritan, Mother Teresa, and the Apostle John.  
 
Why would someone risk their own safety, upend their schedule, deplete their bank balance, and become dirty and bloody to help a person of another race and social class?  And why would Jesus tell us, “Go and do likewise”?
 
The Good Samaritan did not ignore the battered man on the Jericho road.  Like him, we are aware of people in need around us—the widow next door, the family strapped with medical bills, the homeless man outside our church.  God calls us to help them, whether they need shelter, assistance, medical care, or just friendship.
 
Mother Teresa, at the age of twelve, felt strongly the call of God.  She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ.  At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India.  After a few months training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun.  From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta.  Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children.  Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.
 
On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, "The Missionaries of Charity", whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after.  Now that is Mercy!
 
Do you have a real heart for people?  Do you feel tenderness toward others?  Are you concerned with finding ways of showing kindness?  You may have the gift of mercy. 
One of the people who best exemplifies the gift of mercy in the New Testament is the apostle John.  One of the foremost characteristics of the person gifted with mercy is love, and of all the apostles, John is the one who wrote the most about love -the love of God, the commandments of Jesus to love one another, and extensive admonitions to the early believers about love.  John valued love highly and often referred to himself as "the one whom Jesus loved."  To have been loved by Jesus was the highest reward and the most meaningful mark of identification that John felt he could claim for himself
 
Mercy is love in action.  Mercy is not just talk.  Mercy is not emotions.  It’s not just feelings. It’s certainly a whole lot more than pity.  Mercy is compassionate.  It’s showing compassion to other people.  Do you realize that everyone has the gift of Mercy?  It is yours!  God wants you to have plenty of it.  Jude 1:2 NIV says, Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”
 
Why should we show mercy to people?  It is a way to show the love of Jesus Christ.  People need the Lord!  There is nothing else that can fill the BIG HOLE in our life but HIM!
 
Jesus was the very embodiment of God's love - He was God's "only begotten son," sent to this world as an expression of God's infinite love for mankind.  Jesus always acted in a merciful, loving way to people in need. He saw and responded to inner needs as much as to outer material or physical needs.  His desire and goal was that mankind be reconciled to God the Father and experience God's forgiveness and unconditional love.
 
John 3:17 NASV "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved"
 
If you ever doubt the mercy of God, just look at the cross.  The bond between God the Father and God the Son is closer than any human bond ever could be.  Think of your relationship with your spouse, parents, or children and multiply the strength of that bond exponentially.  That’s just an idea of the kind of love the Father has for the Son.  Yet despite that bond, the Father showed us mercy by sending His Son to die.
 
God loves you with a loyal love that’s full of mercy.  He’s not just some cosmic grumpy old man who sits up there in the sky waiting for you to mess up so He can judge you. No, He’s a loving father who earnestly desires for you to know and love Him.
 
But He also gives you and me the responsibility of telling others about Him.  And the best way to tell others about His mercy is to demonstrate it every day.  So, let the world see the love of Jesus Christ both in you and through you.  When you live like that around others, they will see a window to the character of God.
 
2 Corinthians 4:1 ESV says, “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.”  Please don’t give up, you are changing the world for Jesus!
 
Make Every Day Count!
 
Barry
 
Pray this prayer today:
“God, I want your blessing in my life, and I want to be a merciful person.  I think of shortcomings and weaknesses in my own life.  I pray that rather than just hearing the Word, I would do something about it.  Give me the courage to be merciful.  Give me the strength this day to step out in faith and do radical, premeditated acts of mercy that point others to you.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.”