This is a time of year when we want to spend time with family, or at least hear from them. Traditionally, the phone lines become too overloaded with calls on Christmas day and you just can’t get through. We have become well equipped with alternate ways to visit with people, such as computer programs (Skype, etc.), and cellphones by which we can text or Facetime. We spend a lot on equipment to allow it: computers, smartphones , and Internet access. According to the Financial Post, the average Canadian family spends $185 a month on communications.
Have you ever considered how remarkable our God is when it comes to our ability to speak to Him? He is the Master of communication. You can pray to him anytime, night or day. Daniel prayed without fail three times a day (Dan.6:10). Peter seems to have followed a similar pattern (Acts 10:9). Paul told the Colossians, “…since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you” (Col.1:9). He also said to the Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess.5:17). God is open to our prayers without cost. You will never receive a bill, and you will never exceed any limit of time with Him.
Somehow, God can handle all this communication. No computers jam up, no extra memory needs to be installed, and no new facilities need to be built. He has always had the ability to listen to the prayers of a limitless number of people – all at the same time! If everyone in the world prayed to Him to Him today, God wouldn’t miss a thing. None of our marvelous technology today can come anywhere close to that kind of ability.
Rather than discourage an overload of voices, God urges us to open up and pray to Him. “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8). God wants to hear from us, and hear regularly.
What a marvelous privilege prayer is.
– Tim Johnson
We get what we ask for. People ask for specific things for Christmas and their families usually comply. It would surprise us if we received something greater. At restaurants, we order certain foods and don’t expect anything extra; we get what we ask for. In fact, sometimes we get less because the menu always looks better than the real thing.
But with God it’s different. He doesn’t chop off anything extra to enhance profits, nor is He stingy and tight. He’s pleased to be generous. James said we can ask Him for wisdom and He “gives to all men generously” (James 1:5). There’s no disappointment from God, unless He thinks it’s not in your best interest to get what you’ve asked for. “You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). This aside, you will always experience generosity from God.
In Ephesians 3, Paul prayed for the church, trying to comfort their worries about him being in jail. He described the terrific things God had given Him to do throughout the Gentile world, hinting there are still important things to do even behind bars. God had gone beyond all of Paul’s expectations. Based on this experience, the apostle made the clearest statement in the Bible about God’s generous answers to prayer: “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph.3:20-21).
God answers us exceeding abundantly. The original language says something like superabundantly. This is pumped-up and enlarged abundance. How’s that for an answer to your prayers?!
But he doesn’t stop there. The apostle says, “beyond all that we ask or think.” Literally over and above. God can go beyond all that we ask, and grant us so much more – more than we ever thought or dreamed! Paul himself was given a second chance when he was baptized into Christ; he was given an apostleship. It was more than he asked for, or even dreamed possible. The Ephesian church didn’t have it easy, but God gave them great strength to become one of the most influential congregations of the ancient world. God did this for them.
Are you ready for the generosity of God when you pray? The best thing we can ever do for God is to believe Him. Do you believe He can do superabundance? Are you ready for it?
– Tim Johnson
Matthew tells us that Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights (Matt.4:1-2). I don’t know how a human being could accomplish such a feat of self-discipline, but Jesus did it. Perhaps his time alone in the wilderness was needed just before his teaching ministry began, thus he needed time to concentrate and pray. And into the midst of his solitude came the devil himself.
I couldn’t begin to imagine how hungry a man would be after fasting that long. A piece of bread must have seemed as valuable as gold. The devil challenged him to miraculously turn some wilderness rocks into bread, something Jesus could easily do. He wanted Jesus to prove Himself, that he was really the Son of God. Jesus refused. Continue reading
“And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.”
– 2 Cor.6:18
I talked to three of my grandchildren on Skype last week. One in Ohio told me all about a visit to the local zoo – and included all the animal noises. Two more, in Tennessee, showed me some paper hats they decorated in VBS. I’m happy they love to talk to us, even if it’s just over the computer. They live too far away to have personal visits very often, so Skype is a blessing to us. When several of our sons and their families get together, they often Skype us to have a conversation. Continue reading
We welcome everyone who has come to Barrie for our Young Adult Weekend. It is especially encouraging to have Jay, Linda and Jacob Manimtim among us, and of course Jay is our speaker today. The subject of the weekend is something every Christian needs, “A Closer Walk.”
Jude, who was likely the brother of Jesus Christ, had unique insight into this, as one would expect a brother to have. He didn’t brag about his family connection, nor did he act superior to those who had never met Him. In his short New Testament letter, Jude urged us to draw closer to the Lord, and thus avoid the destructiveness of those who would try to harm Christ’s people. Continue reading