Day 23 in the School of Prayer: Be Righteous!

imageThe prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

Ask and it will given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:12-13)

Saved is saved but saved is not always righteous. When salvation is graced upon us, we are recipients of the righteousness of Christ. This transfers places us in right standing before the Father, cleansed and released from our bondage to sin. A newborn in the world, weak and needing to mature. Many Christians never leave the cradle and then ponder aloud why their prayer seems to be weak and ineffectual.

The fact that their lives bear no fruit may have something to do with it.

Our Savior repeatedly teaches us that we are to be growing into a life of increased righteousness and piety. We are to be diligent about becoming better at keeping His commands and obeying all that He has taught us. Only with this obedience will come the power in prayer that we so earnestly desire. We cannot have one without the other. Christ must be first and foremost in our life before our prayer will have the depth and response that it was meant for. Anything else would cheapen the unfathomable price of the grace we receive.

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Fourth Sunday in Advent ~ Change Comes

image First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:5-10)

The end of Advent brings the beginning of everything else…everything changes because of the single moment in history when Jesus sets aside his crown and comes to walk among us. A single moment…a holy birth…a changed world. God set aside the futility of the old sacrificial system, a set of laws that man could not satisfy in his own power and provided the perfect lamb.

One single moment changed everything…God elected to place the perfect lamb in our midst…He elected to become the perfect sacrifice for those who would believe and obey…the single Christmas moment changes everything.

Has it changed you?

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Passion Week: The Great High Priest

The author of Hebrews exhorts us with this passage of promise:

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb 4:14-16)

On this day of Holy Week we consider the sacrifice of our Lord. He gives His life so that we might gain ours. In giving His life to rise again, Jesus shows that His dominion extends beyond our greatest fear – death – while not dismissing our lesser fears of failure in sin. He stands on our behalf knowing the human struggle against temptation and offering His strength in place of our own to overcome the weakness of our will. In every time of need, His grace is available to us if we will only reach out and take hold of it. As we reflect this Good Friday, we can consider how this confidence that he builds in us can lead us to make a similar sacrifice in our own lives. Be blessed.