Pray Without Ceasing – Revisited

Pray Without Ceasing – Revisited

This is never a fun thing to say, but I have to say it.

I was wrong.

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In February 2015, I wrote a post called Pray without Ceasing?  in which I questioned necessity of praying over and over for the exact same thing.  In this post, I said that after hours of searching, “I found only one valid example [in the Bible] of a person praying multiple times for the exact same thing.”

And I left it at that.  For two years, the content of this post was in the back of my mind, but I never found an example (other than Paul) of someone who repeatedly came to God about the same issue.

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A few days ago, I read Luke 18 which tells the story of a begging widow and an evil judge.  The judge had no concern for the widow’s wellbeing; he “neither feared God nor cared what people thought” (verse 2).  Because the widow was desperate for justice, she came to the judge regularly to plead her case.

She came regularly.  The exact translation says, “she kept coming to him.”  She didn’t make one earnest plea.  She didn’t hang her head and walk away.  She came, and when he denied her, she came again.  She kept coming.

After some time, the judge thought to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,  I will see that the widow gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”

Jesus explained the parable this way in verses 6b-8a:

Listen to what the unfair judge said. God will always give what is right to his people who cry to him night and day, and he will not be slow to answer them.  I tell you, God will help his people quickly.

If an evil judge is willing to help a poor widow, surely our compassionate Father will help His children.  This parable shows we can keep coming before the throne of God.  We can keep asking over and over again.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

-Hebrews 4:16

 

P.S. – Pine Cove just posted an article that I wrote on their blog!  Go check it out 🙂

Finding Whose We Are: Bought With A Price

Finding Whose We Are: Bought With A Price

Today I am writing about a topic that is often difficult to believe…mostly because I am a little bit like all of these people.

 

 

However, the truth is that I don’t have the right to do whatever I want.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

– I Corinthians 6:19-20

I spent my entire shower tonight trying to find the correct way to explain this passage (we all know that the best ideas come in the shower), and I am going to use a short, fictional story to teach this truth from God’s Word.

Once upon a time there was a young slave boy named Caliban.  Caliban’s master, Cy, was very cruel, and Caliban suffered greatly as Cy’s slave.  One day, a woman of the village named Gracella saw the hardship that Caliban endured under the lordship of Cy, and she felt very sorry for the boy.

Boldly, she approached Cy.  “I would like to buy Caliban from you,” she said. 

Cy gave a haughty laugh. “You don’t want this boy!  He is useless!  Besides, you could never afford to buy him from me.”

Gracella did not relent.  “How much would I have to pay to buy him?” she asked.

Cy scratched his head, as if he were thinking hard.  “I would say that he is worth 50 gold coins.” 

“Ah!”  Gracella was shocked at the high price.  She had 50 gold coins to her name.  If she bought Caliban, she would be completely money-less. Yet, to Cy’s amazement, the woman handed him every coin that she owned.

Gracella took Caliban back to her home, and she fed him.  Although she had paid so much for him, she never treated him like a slave.  She raised him as her own son, and he was free to live as he pleased.  Gracella never asked Caliban to do anything for her.  Yet, he was constantly with her.  Even when she grew old, he cared for her day and night.  He served her more carefully than he had ever served Cy.

The same story is true for us.  I Corinthians 6:11 says,

And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

We were once enslaved to the devil, listening to his endless lies.  Then we were bought with a price–a high price–the blood of Christ.  Now we are free from bondage to sin.  Because we have been bought with such a high price, we should desire to serve our new Master, the Master that set us free.  This service is rooted in love, not obligation.

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Christ is my Redeemer.  I am bought with a price.

Finding Whose We Are: Reconciled

Finding Whose We Are: Reconciled

Last week, I shared my first post in a series that I am writing with Emily and Naomi, and I discussed finding identity as God’s Workmanship.   God personally made every individual that is on the earth, but not everyone can find their identity in Him because not everyone has a relationship with Him.

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Finding Whose We Are: His Handiwork

Finding Whose We Are: His Handiwork

  • Career
  • Wealth
  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Accomplishments
  • Appearance

These are just a few of the many false identities that we are urged to embrace.

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Remember

Remember

I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.  I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.   – Psalm 77:11-12

I would be lying if I told you that student teaching is easy. On the days that I make students cry, on the days that I forget to give full instructions, on the days that my lessons fail, I am convinced that I should just switch majors.

If I had a dollar for every time that I wanted to quit…

Hanging above the desk in my dorm room is a quote from Nicki Koziarz:

Sometimes you just need to look back and remember the places God has brought you through.

Surrounding the quote are dozens of pictures. There are pictures from Africa, from when I wanted to completely give up on ever making a decent video. There are pictures taken only days prior to my overnight stay in the DFW airport. There are pictures from all 4 years of college when I was anxious for a multitude of reasons.

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And the Lord brought me through all of it. So every time that the Enemy says that I am flailing and aimless, I must look back and see what the LORD has brought me through. If He brought me through those struggles, he will bring me through this one, too.

What is Christmas?

What is Christmas?

It seems that in December, we click the “fast forward” button on our already busy lives.  In addition to scheduling parties, concerts, and family gatherings, we join thousands of shoppers at the mall so that we can find the perfect gift for everyone on our list.  We also manage to find the time to decorate our houses with trees, tinsel, garland, lights, ornaments, and figurines.

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Why do we smash more activity into our busyness?  Because it is Christmastime!

But what exactly is Christmas?

When I asked Google about Christmas, I found some poetic results:

  • wrapping, and sticking, and envelope licking
  • tree decorating and staying up lating
  • shopping and bopping and parties non-stopping
  • stocking filling and lots of good willing

While those answers might sound pleasant, I think there has to be more to the most expensive holiday in the USA than “Monopoly cheating and quality streeting.”

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I originally drafted a post about the etymology of the word Christmas (Christ + mass) and how that is associated to what Christmas is, but I realized that Linus from Charlie Brown explained it better than I ever could.

 

Christmas is not a season of bustling bodies and predictable presents.

Christmas is not a month of extravagant parties and family feasts.

Christmas is not long days of travel and competitive board games.

Charlie Brown Snoopy and Peanuts Gang Nativity by MagnetsbyAbby:
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Christmas is a moment that changed all other moments.  Christmas is the birth of Jesus.

Not a Savior, Just the Truth

Not a Savior, Just the Truth

Over the summer, I attempted to listen to the audiobook version of Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle.  As I criss-crossed the state of Texas, I quickly lost track of Vivian and Harp’s whereabouts, and I abandoned the book until early October.  Although I am only about halfway through the novel (and I probably won’t formally review it when I am done), the basic premise of the story has left my mind curious.

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This is the summary from the book jacket:

Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed “Rapture,” all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivian Apple isn’t looking for a savior. She’s looking for the truth.

That last line haunts me…

Vivian Apple isn’t looking for a savior.  She’s looking for the truth.

Not savior.  Just truth.

Let me give some background information.  This fictional book is in no way Christian nor does it reference true Christianity.  In the novel, the “Evangelical Church of America” is essentially a cult started by a man named Frick who dreamed that God chose him to protect select individuals from the rapture and Apocalypse.  Indeed, Vivian did not need that sort of deceitful “salvation.”

Nonetheless, it is easy to think that we don’t need a Savior, we just want the truth.  Furthermore, we want OUR truth, the truth that works for us personally.  That truth can be anything as long as it makes sense to us and meets our personal needs.

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Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” – John 14:6

Jesus is the truth.  John 14:6 does not say that He “could be” the truth or “might become” the truth or “was” the truth.  He is the truth.  That truth is not relative or changing.

So if Vivian Apple only needs the truth, she needs Jesus.

But,

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We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  – I John 4:14

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – I Timothy 1:15

The truth is that Jesus is also our Savior.  To believe the truth is to believe that He died for our sins, was buried, rose again, and is the Savior of the World.  You cannot separate the fact that Jesus is truth from the fact that Jesus is Savior.

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So if Vivian Apple needs the truth, Vivian Apple needs a Savior.