All posts in Christmas

HABITS and PRAYER

“IF YOU MAKE PRAYER YOUR HABIT IN THE BEGINNING, YOUR HABITS WON’T PREY ON YOU IN THE END”

I want to ask you 5 Questions:

  1. H – Heart.  What’s inside?
  2. A – Arriving.  Are you on the way?
  3. B – Battle.  Are you fighting alone?
  4. I – Intimacy.  Do you know GOD intimately?
  5. T – Transformation.  Are you a new creation?

We are creatures of habit and our habits reflect what is going on inside us; what we value and what we choose to make a part of our life.  We may have certain genetic propensities that make our choices more difficult but God is able to give us victory in this life and the life to come – if we will ask in prayer!

REMEMBER:  Prayer means to ask.

Hebrews 4:15-16

“For we do not have a high priest who is not able to sympathize with us but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

God commands us to develop good habits

2 Thessalonians 1:11

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”

But our nature is fallen and we also develop bad habits

Romans 5:8
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “

So my first question is “do you know God?”

– not, do you know about God but “do you know him personally?”

If the answer is “no,” I am going to help you solve that problem

PRESENT GOSPEL VERY SIMPLY and INVITE TO RESPOND AT END

If the answer is, “I’m not sure,” we can find the answer by looking at the fruit of our life…

If the answer is “yes, but I’m not following him as I should,” I’m going to ask you to decide to make a change (right now) as you listen to my words

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

[Let me just take a moment here to distinguish theologically between your STATE and you STANDING before God –

-Your STATE is your current condition before you are fully sanctified

-Your STANDING is how God sees you now based on His promises and how you will be in heaven when you are fully glorified]

My second question is a little tougher to answer

– do you know God intimately?

  • Are your thoughts about him continually?
  • Do you pray?

Psalm 50:15
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.”

  • Do you desire to serve him?
  • Are you willing to make sacrifices to be his follower?
  • When you fail do you immediately come to him for forgiveness and restoration?
  • Do you find yourself seeking out others who want to be obedient to Christ?

James 5:16

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Our prayer subject is “habits”

But you see we can never behave as we should unless we are changed from the inside out. Our hearts must be changed

Jeremiah 17:9

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure…

Who can understand it?”

And even after we have surrendered our heart to God, we must moment by moment surrender ourself to obedience

1 Corinthians 9:27

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

I’m not talking about the intolerance toward certain behaviors, but SIN; breaking God’s commands.  Are you deliberately and intentionally living outside of God’s favor?  Are you telling yourself that you can get away with “that” because times are a changing or God doesn’t care?

There is no easy path to discipleship –

Jesus calls us to follow Him … and die

Luke 9:23
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

Your habits are a reflection of your heart and your heart is a reflection of your relationship with Christ … and yielding to the control the Holy Spirit over your life

MY TESTIMONY

I am 60 years old and have been a Christ-follower most of my life but It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I began to grasp the concept of surrendering my life to the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • How about you?
  • Have you given yourself to Jesus?
  • Have you fully surrendered to His Spirit?
  • Will you do so now?
  • Will you recommit yourself to be his devoted follower?

Earlier I said that the fruit of our life reflects what is going on inside

It’s very important to understand this in the right way.  We do not change our habits by strength of discipline or hard work but God changes our habits by first changing us from the inside out

STEVE McQueen STORY – “Can I still drink beer?”

Mark Twain said it this way, “habit is habit and not to be flung out the window by any man, but to be coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”

Take the first step now as we pray and surrender yourself to God’s Spirit in your life.  Tell a friend about your struggle and work hard to overcome those things which so easily entangle you.

Hebrews 12:1

“… So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.”

Let’s Pray

Summarize in closing prayer

  • Heart.  It all begins with what’s inside. What is the source of your power?
  • Arriving.  Heaven is for arriving but are you on the way?
  • Battle.  The fight is not yours.
  • Intimacy.  How well do you know God?
  • Transformation.  If we are in Christ, we are a NEW creation – because God says so.

See the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TuGPj9oLIQ#t=32

—————————————

Daniel Southern

This material is copyrighted and may not be sold or redistributed without the express written permission of the author

I Remember

Christmas holds some of my greatest memories.  I remember everyone getting together for the holidays and having a ball with the entire family at my Grandparent’s home and Aunt Ginny’s farm.  I remember falling asleep in the car and having my Dad carry me to my bed.  I remember all those who have passed away and who I look forward to seeing again. I remember the cold weather in Michigan, snow, sledding, deer hunting, turkey dinners, favorite recipes and a lot of love.  I really don’t remember the hard times or any pain.  I guess I have a lot for which to be thankful… and I am.

What I really want to remember is that this is the day we celebrate the greatest miracle of human history.  I know some people think it’s just a nice story or a myth, but I believe in the real incarnation of the Creator into human form; the manger, the shepherds, the angels and the birth of the Savior of mankind. Yep, I believe it all and have built my life on the veracity of this story and God’s claim on my life.

I have a friend, who says he used to believe all this but now doesn’t.  He is sick of people like me who are so locked in to worrying about what “God says” in the Bible and how we want everyone else to live. Well, I think what he is really sick of is being reminded of what God wants from him. I remember what God says about his love for us.  But for my dear friend, it is just too “Fantastical.” I wish he would remember when he believed.

At Christmas, I remember my childhood and how simple life was then.  I remember my country and how great it was to be an American.  I remember my friends, my school days and my church.  I remember it all.  I remember what God has done for me and I am grateful.  Thank you, dear Lord.  I remember you!