Archive for March, 2010

The Scattering

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 by mike pollie

I just read something very interesting in the Bible today. It’s the account of the believers when Paul (then Saul) and his band of cronies went all over the place chasing them down to imprison them. I found it very cool that the Word doesn’t say that they went and hid in a cave somewhere. But it does say they were scattered. This all happens in the book of Acts mainly in chapter 8. There’s more of this later in the book also. But there is a good point here. When the going gets tough the tough get going. Now I know that’s an old saying. But, for real. Just take a look at what happened here. Saul and the Jewish thugs were out gettin’ those disciples of Christ.

The good thing is that God already knew it was going to happen and had plans for all of them. You see there’s a story in the Old Testament about a guy named Joseph whose brothers sold him into slavery. This sounds bad but for Joseph it was good. The first reason it was good for Joseph was the fact that their first plan was to kill him. Thank God I don’t have siblings like that. The next good thing was that Joseph eventually ended up in a position to save his whole family from starvation and ultimately death. But the point is that Joseph understood that God had bigger plans than humans. God was going to use the bad turn of events for Joseph for the good of many. You see we are so selfish that when bad things happen to us we get all mad like we are the ones being taken advantage of or something. I mean we are just big crybabies. If we could see God’s sovereignty and omnipotence in all we do we would live a more fruitful life I believe. Joseph lived through an attempt on his life, being sold into slavery by his brothers, false charges of rape by someone who actually tried to sexually assault him, being sentenced to jail (more than likely without chance of parole), and being duped by some people he helped while in jail. I mean we think we got it so bad when we got it good. A tire blows or we get sick or we don’t get a job. Ok maybe something big. A family member dies “before their time”. How bout that? We know time and all so we are the experts on when this person was supposed to die so we get all mad at God and stuff. We need to be like Joseph and see through the “bad” and focus on the good (Genesis 50:20)

Back to the real point of this chapter. Persecution scatters us for a reason. If you’re facing trouble in your life then look to God’s plan. Jesus said something really stupid if you don’t know Him. He said [in this world you will have a lot of trouble, but cheer up I have overcome the world] John 16:33. So yeah you’re going to have trouble. Jesus said big trouble. But we need to look past that. These early disciples of Christ were persecuted to the point that they left town. But that was God’s plan. You might say man “that’s messed up. God had to persecute them to get them to carry out His plan?”. Yes and no. The world persecuted them. Not God. Don’t get it twisted. But yes God did allow them to endure it to spread the gospel of Jesus. What good is a testimony without a test. I don’t know how many people know this but forest fires are good for pine trees. Let me tell you why. Pine cones are what hold the seeds for pine trees. But for the most part the seeds don’t really come out unless under intense heat. That’s the point. When the heat is on there is a high chance that the seeds will be spread. Peter says in 1st Peter 2:20 [What does it matter if you don’t complain when getting beat when you deserve it? But when you get beat for doing the right thing and don’t complain that is what God accepts]. Wow. That’s not the way we think at all. You can say I’m wrong about you all you want. And I’m going out on a limb here. I know I’ve already stated earlier in my book that I’m no psychologist but I do know people. Here I go with my blanketing styley again. You ready? We all do this. “Ow. Oh. Hey. Whoa. You talking to me?”. Yep, I’m talking to me. I do this. And if you don’t want to admit that you do it cool. That’s between you and God not me and you. Look it’s just in our nature to have our feelings hurt. And I don’t know if this will ever leave us on this planet. Even the great apostle Paul said he asked God three times to help him with some kind of problem he was having. But God said [My grace is all you need] 2nd Corinthians 12:7-9. That is crazy. What if God said that to me? I don’t know if I’ be as holy as Paul. Sorry I can’t say for sure what I would do. But I do know what I should do. I should be a man of God and a child of God and just praise Him for the life I have and continue to tell people how God brought me through it. That’s what the people who were being scattered were doing. They were sharing the good news of Jesus.

This is probably a good reason why “christianity” is taking such a big hit these days. Why’s that? Well I’m so glad you asked. Because a lot of “christianity” has been based on forced conversion and killing of those who don’t agree with “christians” rather than telling people that God loves them where they’re at and wants to show them a better way. You can say I’m wrong all you want but I won’t agree with you. Even the petty wars we have going on in this day and age all in the name of freedom and God are sickening to me. All those soldiers over in other countries killing instead of telling about God’s goodness just doesn’t make sense to me. People saying that it’s not as bad as it seems in war torn countries are just trying to water it down. Here comes the big one though. Our own backyard. Well they kicked the ten commandments out of school because they were bad I guess. And you might be a sympathizer with all those who say freedom of religion and all that junk but check it out. That should mean that the ten commandments can be in school. If that’s what was really meant by freedom of religion. They teach all other religions like they are right in school. They also teach the religion of evolution as fact these days. You know there are a lot of people who don’t know that, while they are teaching their kid at home that God created the world and everything in it, and created everything in it to create more and so on and so forth, the school is teaching that there was some cosmic dust ball that just exploded out of nowhere and we all slowly over millions of billions of years became humans. Now where did that cosmic dust ball come from? From nowhere, of course. None of this explains why some of the fish, bacteria, or monkeys decided they were happy just the way they were. I think that the duckbilled platypus is actually not a testimony to evolution as much as it is a testimony to God’s awesome creative ways. That duckbilled platypus keeps creating more and more duckbilled platypuses, not some other animal. But, that’s part of persecution. Now I don’t believe that you can prove God. I love Ray Comfort and creation science and all that stuff. But, you don’t prove God. The heavens declare the glory of God. God is proof enough of Himself. I believe that’s why He told Moses I AM THAT I AM. He just is and it’s not our job to prove Him. But when we are persecuted it forces us to look at new ways to share Him with those who hate Him. I believe that all who reject Christ hate God. I know that’s a blanket statement again but that’s the way it is. The Bible says [whoever doesn’t have the Son of God (Jesus Christ) doesn’t have life] 1 John 5:12. People say “what about those who haven’t heard”? I say read psalm 19. If you live at all then you’ve heard God. So when persecution comes in whatever way it comes just remember that it’s not about you. It’s about God. That’s some victory right there. Oh yeah. One more thing………………………………………….

James 1:2-5 [Count it all joy when you come into pressing troubles in life. That is an opportunity for your endurance to be strengthened and let this happen so that you will be complete and full and not be in need of anything. If you need wisdom about what’s happening then ask God and He will generously give it to you without looking down on you about it like you are stupid and unworthy.] <—–My version. Not literal at all. Walk in that and see where it takes you. Read Acts 11:19

THE LAW

Posted in Uncategorized on March 28, 2010 by mike pollie

The first, I believe, and hardest hump to get over is the law. We first get a glimpse of this in the book of Exodus 20:1-17. Yep, just like the Bob Marley song but the real thing. This is serious stuff. God is not kidding when He gives this law to the Israelites. The thing I will never understand about the law, and praise Jesus I don’t have to, is the fact that it can’t save you. Not unless you are able to do everything ever written in the law. But the Word says that we are cursed if we don’t do all that is in the law (Galatians 3:10). But we have even found ways to corrupt the law so who even cares anymore. I mean c’mon we say things like “oh well what’s a white lie hurt” or “there’s nothing wrong with looking at my neighbors things or wife and wanting to have it”. A lie is a lie and coveting (or heavily desiring others stuff) is coveting. We are all lawbreakers. Before knowledge of the law there is self righteousness. When faced with the law there is only one thing that can happen. We see our own sin and it becomes that much more ugly to us. We are either humbled or raging mad. The funny part is that we tend to get mad at the human messenger when the true message is God’s. But we won’t get mad at the sin in our lives. But, after we know the truth that we miss the mark, then it’s our choice to either accept it or not. Bottom line is that the law is good and we are not.

Self righteousness looks like this. Well I’m a good person. I’ve never raped, killed, or eaten anyone. Well hey you are a pretty good person then. Even if we have never stolen or lied or lusted or wanted something of somebody else’s so bad it consumes us. Course none of us have ever done that. Yeah I know I’m a sarcastic one aren’t I. Check it out man. When we compare ourselves to those we consider worse than us then we smell like roses. But we need to compare ourselves to the only perfect being. That being is God. You see the law is really just God trying to communicate His personality to us.

Here is what my final exam from God would look like if I didn’t know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Serve God and God alone-Failed

Don’t make anything else your God and bow to it-Failed

Don’t use Gods name for empty sayings or cursing-Failed

Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t work. Chill out all of you-Failed

Honor your father and mother so that you’ll have a good life-Failed

Don’t murder (before you answer this read Matthew 5:21,22)-Failed

Don’t commit adultery (read Matthew 5:27,28)-Failed

Don’t steal-Failed

Don’t lie-Failed

Don’t desire to have your neighbor’s stuff property or spouse-Failed

Well I don’t know about you but according to that I’m not going to pass my heavenly exam. Looks like I’m going to get hell’d back. Now maybe you’re a better person than me and you only failed a couple of those. Unfortunately for us Gods grading system doesn’t work like ours. See we can pass a class with a certain percentage of points in school. Our teachers in school realize no human is perfect because they aren’t perfect either. So how can they expect us to be perfect if they aren’t. God is perfect though, so He can demand perfection. If there is a heaven and it’s perfect then wouldn’t it be wrong to let imperfect people in? The answer is yes. The bad thing is that that’s only Gods personality. That’s just showing us what God is like. God doesn’t lie, He doesn’t steal, He is pure and holy. After this there is a whole mess of laws and special things that have to be done to please God and appease Him because we stink so bad at doing the right thing. All the sacrifices and days and months and years. I mean this is not what God wants for us. That my friend is bondage to sin. God wants us to be free. God is free. He created us in His image. But obviously we messed that up. In the 5th chapter of Matthew in verses 17-20 Jesus makes it clear that He didn’t come to destroy the law. The law is good. We are not. Stay with me here. Jesus came to do something we can not do. He came to fulfill the law. And further more He came to fulfill the prophecies about Him. Gods law is good.

Mark 12:29-31 sums it up pretty good. Love God and love others as yourself. That is not hard at all. The law is good. We are bad. Oh whoops sorry. We aren’t bad. Don’t listen to that bad man writing this book. We are all just good people who mess up sometimes. Yeah that’s what Hitler was. That’s what Hussein was. That’s what Manson is. Yep, just some good people who messed up. The point is clear. We miss the mark of God’s goodness. Worse than that we like to do the wrong thing. Watch out now because the truth hurts. I said it. WE LIKE TO DO THE WRONG THING. Sometimes we love it. Sometimes it’s what gets us off. And even when we want to do right we end up doing something wrong. The “Great Apostle” Paul wrote about this problem in Romans 7:15. We are going to take a quick look at God’s hard laws. (That’s sarcasm there)

1) Love The Lord Your God……..-Oh yeah I love God that’s easy man. Lets finish it though-……..with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength”. Unfortunately for us there is nothing before, in the middle or after this verse saying ” to the best of your ability”. Nope nothing there. Its cut and dry, black and white, night and day. This is a command of God’s. This means it is part of His personality. You see “God is love”. 1John 4:8. That’s the bottom line. And right before that verse it says this very tough saying. [He that does not love does not know God] Dude, that is tough as nails.

Praise be to God because he did two things for me to love like Him. He died for my sins so I don’t have to. And then He gave me His Spirit to live in me and help me. Jesus calls the Spirit the Helper in the book of John. This word is translated different ways such as; advocate, comforter, and helper. But, the literal definition of the word

paracletes (paracletes) in Greek is one called alongside to help. Without God, who is love, showing me how to love, I wouldn’t know how to love. God doesn’t just say, “I’m love” and leave it at that. If someone says they love me but never does anything to show it, well, I wouldn’t believe they love me.

HOW DO I KNOW GOD IS LOVE?

a. John 3:16 Love is a verb. Without action love is a lie. God loves us so much that His Son left His throne in heaven and came to this fallen earth to die for our sins. And you know that I don’t care what the other guys say. I’m going to keep saying it man. Jesus died for our sins. That includes all of us.

b. John 15:13 Jesus, who is God (John 14:9,10), said that [there is no greater love than a man who lays down his life for his friends]. Jesus laid down His life (John 10:17,18). Nobody took Jesus’ life from Him. Not the Jews, not the Romans, not the Gentiles. He willingly gave His life as a ransom for our lives. To save us from death and hell and ultimately from the eternal death in the lake of fire.

c. Romans 5:8 Not only did God give us the best by becoming man (Jn.1:14). But He died for a bunch of sinners who hate Him. Now let’s take a look at this concept real quick because people don’t like to think of themselves as “hating” God. But, when I choose anything over God, or even choose not to acknowledge Him as above all, then I’m hating Him. I don’t have time to go through all the implications of how I hate God. But, I know that it is a trait of all humans. All hate is, is rejecting someone. God said in Malachi 1:2,3 and Romans 9:13 that He loved Jacob and hated Esau. The term used here is also a term that was once used by Hebrews when adopting twins. If they didn’t have enough money to adopt both then they would have to leave one. It was said that they hated the one that they didn’t choose. Not out of dislike or hate as we think of it but just the fact that the one was rejected. Some translations actually use the word rejected as opposed to hated. This is true for the New living Translation and The Living Bible. Sin is anti-God. And anti-God is hate. God is love. Therefore when I choose sin I choose to hate God. So then, God chooses love and rejects, or hates, hate. I am the one to blame because I am the hater. The funny thing is that the only way we can love God is to first accept the love He showed to us through Christ Jesus (1 John 4:10). Ready for the first step to victory?

VICTORY STARTS IN ETERNITY

THEN BEGINS TO EFFECT THE TEMPORARY

Romans 10:9,10 says that if you believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. We first believe in God’s testimony of, and satisfying death of, Jesus on the cross for our sins and His resurrection to be saved. Then we confess that indeed we are saved. I don’t agree that you need to confess Jesus specifically to be saved because that’s not what the Word says to me. Belief saves. Confession confirms. Baptism publicly proclaims and identifies with our new life in Christ. If you don’t believe anything that is said about and by Christ in the bible then there is no reason for you to get baptized ok. Just go ahead and stay dry. I actually could see God looking down on people who get baptized as a show to others. That’s a pity.

1st John 3:23 says [ This is God’s command, believe in Jesus and………………

2)……………….LOVE ONE ANOTHER……………….

As He gave us commandment] (talking about God and specifically Jesus) John 13:34 and John 15:12.

This is the second law after love God with everything you got. Don’t lose me here. I can only imagine how hard it would be for a right handed boxer to become a left handed boxer. I mean I’m sure it can happen and they could probably become ambidextrous if they wanted. But any way you look at it it’s just not natural. Not to mention it would only be a fake form of left-handed boxing. The person probably wouldn’t see much point in it at all to tell the truth. We are all dominate at doing things one way. So goes the love one another factor. I don’t care what you say about yourself or others, (sorry if this is offensive. Really). But, this is not a world of love. God is love and the majority of the world does not serve God. A little bit of math and we can calculate the cold hard truth. This is indeed a world of hate. Yeah I know it stinks. But just because this is a world of hate and we are primarily prone to hate doesn’t mean we have to just give up and remain in that state. We can change. Let me rephrase that. Christ can change us. The truth of that is found, I believe, primarily in two key verses. The first is John 15:5 where Jesus says [I am the vine and you are the branches if you live in me and I live in you then you will do good things. For without me you can do nothing]. Now I paraphrased that verse so that it might make more of an impact. But, the end part I didn’t paraphrase. Jesus said “without Me you can do NOTHING”. Separate the word nothing and you got the words “no” and “thing”. Another verse is a common phrase for people when they get saved which is 2 Corinthians 5:17 “…If any man be in Christ he is a new creation”. This new creation means that I now have the capacity to love. That capacity is Christ in me. Galatians 2:20 says [I no longer live but Christ lives in me].

Here comes some more victory and the way to overcome this world of hate. Romans 12:21 says [do not be overcome (or conquered) by evil but overcome (conquer) evil with good. Woooo!!!! God is good. I mean that is powerful stuff right there. But, it is against all that we know. We know eye for an eye type stuff. We got the whole “you bumpin’ shoulders with me punk” mentality. Don’t act like you don’t know what I mean because we all do it. It’s called feelings. Without Jesus controlling our actions, feelings control us and that’s how people end up hurt really bad and or dead. The majority of violent crimes and murders in this world are committed by people the victim knows and usually has a deep relationship with. People aren’t that prone to just go kill someone for no good reason. Even terrorists kill for a reason, psychotic as it is. King David had Uriah killed because he had slept with Bathsheba (Uriah’s wife) and got her pregnant. Someone even said to King David [Hey man isn’t that Uriah’s wife?]. David pretty much told them to shut up and go get her anyway. Uriah was one of David’s most loyal warriors and he didn’t even show him love. On the contrary, David, being full of guilt and fear, had Uriah killed. In 2nd Samuel 11:14-24 you can read the whole story. Man that’s tore up huh? Boy I would never murder anyone. Especially like that and someone that close to me. Let’s switch gears and flip the script real quick. The Bible calls hate murder. Specifically in 1stJohn 3:15 it says [anyone who hates someone else is a murderer]. Thats pretty plain to me. I’ve murdered plenty of people including my own family. Have you ever murdered anyone? Do you still murder?

THE POINTThe point of all this is one thing. Love fulfills the whole law-Galatians 5:14.

DO NOT LIE

DO NOT STEAL

DO NOT MURDER (HATE IS MURDER)

Love fulfills the whole law because when we love someone we don’t hurt them. We have the capacity to love others because God first loved us. God loves us so much that He took on human flesh and died for us. Romans 5:7,8 says [not too often will a man die for a righteous man. Somebody might consider dying for a good man. But God showed us love this way, Christ died for us while we were still sinners]. Wow! God didn’t wait for us to come to Him and then decide to die for our sins. He already planned it. To tell you the truth God actually planned this since the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Now I even believe the Apostle Paul, who wrote this letter, was talking about himself personally at this point. Christ died for sinners not for righteous people. Ok? We deserve payment for our sins. Romans 6:23 says that payment is death. But then it goes on to say that “the gift of God is eternal life”. This life comes only through God’s Son Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior. Acts 4:12; 1st John 5:12.

HIS WILL OR WON’T YOU?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 28, 2010 by mike pollie


MICAH 6:8 [THE LORD HAS TOLD YOU WHAT IS GOOD AND WHAT HE WANTS FROM YOU. HE WANTS YOU TO DO THE RIGHT THING, TO ACT FAIRLY TOWARDS PEOPLE, LOVE OTHERS, AND WALK IN HUMBLE OBEDIENCE TO YOUR GOD]

Look, God wants you to do His will. It’s all up to you. So that’s where I got my question “His will or won’t you”. It’s really simple and kind of scary at the same time. We’ve already gone over the fact that God’s commands are not hard. It’s the fact that we have evil, flesh, or sin nature, in us. Whichever you would like to call it is up to you. I’ve already proved from the Bible that all three are put to the test and we all fit the criteria so we won’t go back there. But, one might ask, “what is God’s will?”. Well, number one, if you have to ask that you might need to read God’s Word a little more. Every good thing that comes out of God’s mouth is His will and He even explains it to us so it’s not a mystery.

There are many examples of God telling us what He wants from us. Up top you see Micah 6:8 where the Word pretty much says that God has already told us what He wants from us. And you know what, we know it ok. We know what’s good and what’s not. We know when we are being unfair jerks to someone. We know when we are not lowering (humbling) ourselves to God’s ways. But there is a lot more to God’s will. It’s not just commands and being a good person to those around us. It’s about doing what God desires. You see God may not want you to just go give out food to people on the street. He might want you to help the person you feed to find a job. God might not want you to just help someone pay their bill. He might want you to show them how to manage their money. It’s like the leading a horse to water illustration. You can’t make the horse drink. But if you just give the horse water everyday over and over again and one day you die without showing the horse where the water is then you kind of let the horse down. Now if you show the horse the water and they don’t go there then that’s their fault ok.

One thing in God’s will (and the biggest thing mind you) is that God does not want anyone to die and go to hell (2 Peter 3:9). He wants people to turn to Him and live. The number one thing we should minister to people is that God wants to have a relationship with them through His Son Jesus Christ. Without Jesus people can’t really do anything (John 15:5b). We can feed people. And clothe people. And even give them a place to live. But they are only the means to an end. The point is to quench their spiritual hunger. You know some children don’t like to eat vegetables even though they are good for them. Some kids on the other hand love them like I myself did when I was a kid. But the point is that even though they don’t like them, that doesn’t mean they aren’t good for them. Same thing goes with those we help physically. We really need to be helping them spiritually whether they think they need it or not. If they reject it it’s not our fault. And it is our job as Christians to let those we meet know that indeed they need Jesus Christ in their life. Most people won’t like to hear that. People talk about if we just tell those around us about Jesus they will want Him. That’s not entirely true. Jesus said that His path is narrow and very few people go that way but many people will go to be destroyed (Matthew 7:13). That’s just the way it is. Jesus (who is God) walked this earth for 33 years and had only about twenty people who were really committed to Him. I mean that’s tough. And He is God. But, then we look at events like the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon those gathered in the upper room (Acts 2). That day Peter went out and gave a sermon and 3000 people were baptized and added to the number. Now this may or may not mean that 3000 got saved. I’m sure there are many church members that are baptized and added to the directory but not to the kingdom of heaven. But we should never give up telling people about their real needs. Now to someone like myself, before I knew Christ, we have to be sensitive to the fact that unbelievers don’t understand or most often don’t care about the things of God. That’s why we just start with simple things. If a person is hungry we can say things like [well I’ve never seen those right with God forsaken or beg for bread] Psalm 37:25. That’s what Gods Word says and if we believe it and put it to use in our lives and explain that they can be righteous through Christ then we may lead them to Christ. There is an answer for every problem in the Bible. And they can be springboards to leading people to Christ. If they don’t accept Christ then at least we did our part. When our aim is to get people saved then we will be doing God’s will. Jesus told us (not asked) to “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” Mark 16:15 KJV. That’s pretty straight up right there. And furthermore it is even more that Jesus was saying what His followers will inherently do because of the Spirit in them.

What else does God’s will look like. Well obviously we need to recognize God’s law as doing His will. I mean He didn’t give us His commands only to show us how bad we are. He actually would like us to do them as well. They are all good and when we live a consistent (not perfect) life of doing God’s law then we are pleasing to Him. Jesus said of those who do God’s will that those are His mothers, brothers, and sisters (Mark 3:35). He also said that those who keep His commands are those who love Him (John 14:21). If you want to see Jesus show up in your life then you must do the will of God. Jesus said in this same passage that [whoever loves Me (Jesus) will be loved of the Father and I (Jesus) will love them and will show myself to them]. So there you go, it’s that easy. If you want to see Jesus do awesome things in your life you must do the right thing. And if we love Jesus then we love God and do the right thing. It just happens. And if we do these things then we will see remarkable things begin to happen in our lives. Now I’m not saying you’ll see new cars, big houses, fine china, and all the other worldly things we humans want. But, I can say you’ll know peace, you will be fed, you will be clothed,, and you will have shelter and so many things that the Word of God promises to those who love and serve Him by doing His will.

Maybe one thing that is not so obvious but then again should make sense is the fact that it is God’s will that we speak to Him. In other words that we pray. There are many aspects and ways of prayer. There are also many applications to prayer. But just like any relationship there has to be communication. I’m not talking about the impersonal prayers of some religions where people talk to God in the language and words of other people. That’s just weird. I mean c’mon God made us unique ok. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Can you imagine somebody making something so awesome and then just conforming it to everything else? No. Your prayer to God is as unique as you are.

**Consider revising**Like I said there are many aspects and ways of prayer. There is a corporate prayer that is not bad. I mean devout Jews who served the Lord prayed with the whole congregation. But, Jesus did say to go to your “closet”, as it were, and, “pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matthew 6:6 KJV). Now if you really want to examine this statement you’ll have to look also at the statement before this in Matthew 6:4. It says there to do your alms (give to the needy) in secret. Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does. Now it is good to pray in private of course. But it doesn’t mean, and Jesus wasn’t saying, that corporate prayer is bad. Jesus prayed in front of people. Jesus’ teaching here was more about the fact of doing prayer and alms to God, not to be seen or heard like the hypocrites. Was Jesus a hypocrite? Not at all. As God, that would be impossible. So now that we got that cleared up let’s move to the next point about prayer.

Prayer is talking to God point blank. If you don’t do it you are missing out. Go ahead and marry someone but then hardly ever talk to them. That’s a fake marriage in my book. Unfortunately for some spouses that happens. Even worse that happens between God and “christians”. And it’s not how long or how good or what times you do it. It’s doing it. If you told your spouse you would talk to them on some set schedule for a certain amount of time that wouldn’t show love. But, lo and behold, that would be religion. Talking to God every day is good and should be done to live a victorious life in this fallen world. The reason isn’t to pray God will do everything you want Him to. But, in fact, prayer is actually us telling God we acknowledge Him and desire to know His will. Even more so it should really be about us asking God to show us what it is He wants us to do for Him . And, even beyond that, because we really can’t do anything for God by our own strength, it’s asking what Christ wants to do through us by His power. God can do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20). Exceedingly abundantly might be one of those statements that I don’t think I can explain to a person but I know what it means. If I wanted to pretend I might know I would say that God can do so much more above and beyond anything we could even think to say or imagine and then He can still do better than that.

One of the best ways, I believe, to begin prayer is with praise and glory to God in thanksgiving and just letting Him know how awesome you think He is or rather know He is. Not that we are telling Him something He doesn’t know, but just to agree with Him in His awesomeness. Proverbs 1:7 says [ Great respect of the Lord is where knowledge begins, but fools disregard wisdom and instruction]. This is where we begin to receive what God has to tell us. Without putting Him first we end up putting Him somewhere else on the totem pole of our prayer life. When Jesus modeled a prayer for His disciples He started by saying [ Our Father which is in heaven, let your name be held as holy and sanctified (Hallowed in KJV)] Matthew 6:9. Jesus also starts with something kind of interesting. He says “Our Father”. So this is not just about Jesus or just about us. It’s also about others. If we look at Daniel 9:4-19 we will see Daniel praying for others as well as himself. And when he gets done in verse 20 amazing stuff starts happening. Read it for yourself because that’s not our point at this moment. Sorry for that. So many of the Psalms are really just prayers. And so many of them start out in praise to God. That’s where prayer, in my book (yes the one you are reading), should always start.

Second on the totem pole, I believe, is to invoke God. Let Him know you want Him to come into your presence or vice versa. I mean God is everywhere so who’s getting into whose presence? Anywho let Him know you are ready for His advice. “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally (generously) and upbraideth not (doesnt do the I told you so thing or look down on us like we do to each other)” (James 1:5 KJV). I believe that we should all keep short accounts with God and since we are so easily led to sin regardless of how “strong in the Lord” we are, we should confess sin to God somewhere during the first two steps on the pole. Because I’m including this in my “His Will or Won’t You” section, this is a good place to add “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done”. Regardless of what it is we want, we need most of all to desire God’s will in all things. If we truly desire His will then we will always see the right outcome to our prayers. I mean Jesus asked God to take the punishment away from Him that He was about to endure on the cross (Luke 22:42). It’s not wrong to ask God to ease us from pain seeing that even the Master asked for it. But, it’s better to say like Jesus [ do Your will though God, not my will]. Now that may seem kind of weird because Jesus is God. But see when God the Son became the man Jesus He laid aside some things. (Read Philippians 2:6-8 for info on this). We choose to do the things we do knowing whether they’re right or wrong. Jesus, being God, knew what the right choice was. One might say “well if someone has a gun to my head telling me to do something I have no choice but to do what they tell me to do”. Not true. You could choose death. Or at least fight back. There is always a choice. Jesus chose to do God’s will as a man. We have the free will to choose God’s will. Sometimes it’s not what we want to hear. The apostle Paul asked God three times to take something away from him and the Lord said [my grace is all you need] 2 Corinthians 12:9. I mean that sounds messed up kind of. God doesn’t answer our prayers with ouranswers. If He did why would we need to go to Him. There would be no reason for it.

There is something that God promises however. His Word says that, [if we ask for anything that is His will He hears us and if we know He hears us then we know that He will do what we ask]1John 5:14,15. You might be saying ” but I don’t really know what God’s will is for a specific issue”. That’s ok because God gave us His Holy Spirit which, being God, knows His will. [The Holy Spirit prays for us in “groanings” that we can’t even put into words] Romans 8:26. In verse 27 it goes on to say that God knows what the Spirit is saying. Don’t worry if you don’t know what you are saying. God does. And really that’s all that ever matters. He won’t just string us along like stupid animals. But sometimes we don’t need to know exactly what God is going to do in a situation. If we did know we would more than likely mess it up or try to get out of it like Jonah or something.

Now if you don’t seem to see a result to a certain prayer it’s not bad to keep asking God about it. I mean don’t base your whole life on one request but don’t give up too soon either just because things don’t happen immediately. Matt 7:7-11 tells us to keep asking and God will give it. It might not be what you wanted, but I can assure you it will be what you need. See God gives “good gifts” (Matt 7:11), “good and perfect” even (James 1:17). Luke 18 tells a story of a widow who wanted an unjust judge to avenge her. The unjust judge finally gave in to her because he was sick of hearing her voice. But God loves us so how much more will He help us in time of need. Our prayer life and dependence and trust in all God’s decisions might be the thing that brings someone to faith in Jesus Christ. What do we know? We really don’t know much (1 Corinthians 8:2). I don’t really know much I’m just writing what God has given me to share with other brothers and sisters who may be going through situations such as I have. And hopefully many that are lost will also receive this as well.

Now, after we acknowledge God’s awesomeness, confess our sins and ask for His will and His “kingdom come”, we can go to Him with our needs. Ok, it’s all about needs. Now I don’t think we should stick here too long because we should already know, and I know we’ve gone over the fact, that God will provide for our needs. But, just because we know that all our needs are provided for doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go to God to acknowledge His provision with thanksgiving and at the same time asking Him to provide for our needs in the future as well. Jesus, in his model prayer, said, ” Give us this day our daily bread”. Now, without making that statement seem to have a deeper meaning, Jesus was just saying supply our needs. I don’t believe that there is any reason to make it any more difficult than that but believe me I’ve heard it explained to death to where you don’t even know what you are talking about any more. In Proverbs 30:8 the writer there simply says (in my words) [just give me exactly what I need. Nothing more nothing less]. It’s funny because if you don’t go to God for what you need and try to attain it all on your own (now note here I said “what you need”), then you can’t and don’t have any authority to take up a complaint against Him if your needs aren’t being met. The Psalmist said [I’ve never seen those right with God forsaken nor have I seen His children begging for food] Psalm 37:25. And I know I’ve already said that but I wanted to point it out again. The reason is because it’s true. But, if instead of praying to God for your needs to be met, you go out and get a second job, then, well, you might not believe it. Jesus said that we shouldn’t worry about what we will eat or drink or wear (Matthew 6:31-34). In other words don’t worry about your needs. When you get the second job you’re doing the worrying. When you go to God and just do His will for your life and put your needs in His hands you’ll see that He will indeed take care of you. Put God first and He’ll take care of the rest (Matthew 6:33).

Now I’m not going through the “Lords Prayer” as some might call it. But if I was this is the point where next Jesus says “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”. Now all I got to say about that is that it’s a two way street. There are a lot of unforgiving “christians” out in the world and it has to stop. We need to forgive each other. We even need to forgive unbelievers. I was talking to my wife earlier and we were talking about how I can’t just tell people what they need to do. Well I want to follow Jesus and Jesus said that we can’t expect to see God’s forgiveness if we aren’t willing to show some forgiveness. Who are we to not forgive. Nobody has done “imperfect us”, the wrong that we’ve done to our perfect God. Not trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone here but at least we don’t have to die to forgive people. Jesus did. God had to become man and become sin for us so that we could become His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). That’s so magnificent that I can’t not forgive people now. Look I didn’t have the best childhood and I take a lot of the blame, but I wasn’t raised by the best parents. But, the truth is that I’m not them. I’m bought by the blood of Jesus. God forgave me while I was being a #@*&% to Him. So you know what, I forgive my parents for not having it all together and for making bad choices and not really being the parents that I would consider supportive and loving. I might even be wrong and it might be me. Either way the point is that we as believers in Christ must forgive others or we will block out the forgiveness God wants to show us. Now I’m not saying you aren’t saved if you don’t forgive people. I’m not one of those people who think that if you got a problem with something, whether it’s bold faced sin or just missing some points, that you’ve lost your salvation or some weird junk. Now if that problem causes you to doubt God and it just takes over your life then you might want to consider how sure you are about your salvation. You’ll come to one conclusion or another. Either you’ll come to find “yeah I’m saved” or “whoa I’m not really saved”. I know this because I’ve gone through it. There’s a song that talks about all these doubts and questions that this guy has about God but the punch line is so awesome. It says plainly “The one thing I don’t question is You (God)”. It’s ok to have questions about God and the bible and doctrine and even forgiveness issues. But it all should come down to God is who He is, the Bible is His Word and they are both true. If the Word says Jesus is God then He is God (John 10:30). If Jesus says He is the only way to get to the Father then I’m there (John 14:6). If we don’t believe that Jesus is God and trust in His death and His resurrection for eternal life, then unfortunately we are not going to see the Father because we don’t believe what He told us. If someone tells you to meet them somewhere at 5 and you show up at 8 without telling them you’re going to be late then chances are they won’t be there. I hope you get that point.

So here Jesus tells us to ask God to forgive us as we forgive others. This isn’t like the confession of sin that I talked about earlier. This is much deeper than that. This is pretty much a contract here. If someone steals from me and I can’t forgive them, I’d better watch out. Cause what happens when I do someone wrong and God just kind of doesn’t forgive me. Not only that, I think God does hold some things over our head until we get it. If we fail and come to God or go get right with someone or even just sincerely get it right in God’s eyes, then its gone from over our head. In a sense it’s not even God who holds stuff over our head but it’s us who holds stuff over our own head because of our disobedience to God’s Word. If this is an area of struggle in your life it is so easy to get out of. Just think of it, Jesus died for your forgiveness. The only thing you might lose is your pride. Ouch! I felt that myself. That’s what always hurts the most. A lot of times we don’t want to forgive people because we think that it makes us look like a punk. “Well they need to come to me and apologize”. “I didn’t do anything wrong”. “Why should I go apologize to them”. The answer to that is easy. You are a witness for the One who forgave you all the wrongs you did. Jesus left more glory in heaven then we will ever know in our whole life. Jesus said [if you go to offer a gift to God at the altar and remember you got some problems with another person you need to leave your gift at the altar, go to that person first and resolve that matter, and then come back and make that offering] (Matthew 5:23,24). We are told to offer up our lives as living sacrifices to God in Romans 12:1. How can we do that if we’re holding grudges against people especially if it is against our brother or sister. Even if you’re praying and think of someone to forgive or resolve something with then I’d stop right there and call them or something at least forgive them in your heart. But, don’t rub forgiveness in the person’s face like you’re somebody special or better than them. Jesus never did that to us so don’t do it to others. And I’m not scared to say you need to do this to have a victorious prayer life and a good walk with God in general. Think about it. That’s all I know to say about that part.

Another part of prayer which the Lord touched on is asking God to help us with temptation. Jesus said to ask God to “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). This has got to be vital to your walk as a believer. I think I might change the word believer to “knower” soon but who knows. We know God is real. We know God became the man Jesus to die for His people’s sins and to give us new life. Be born again already man! If you don’t want to be tried in life ask God to hold back the testing. See I don’t really think that Jesus was talking about asking God to not lead us into sinful temptation as we might think of it. But isn’t it usually the hard times or trials or pressure that makes us want to sin. The sin doesn’t just happen to us right. I’m not just sitting on the couch and suddenly porn just pops up on my tv without me knowing how it got there. If it’s there I’m responsible. But hey you never know maybe God might give you a wife so your normal sexual desires may be fulfilled or maybe God will give you better self-control. Who knows? I don’t know. That’s why it’s up to us to go to God. I don’t care what you think from a “religious” point of view. See I don’t believe in “christianity” as the world sees it which is as a religion, but I see our relationship with God as a personal relationship with public proclamation results. In other words just as a good husband doesn’t go grabbin’ other girls butts we don’t go grabbin’ the world or its ideas. You are the one who needs to go to God and say “God, I need your help” and, like the Word says in James 1:5, God ain’t gonna be like “oh no here comes such and such with that problem again”. He also won’t be like “I told you last time what to do but you didn’t listen so why should I tell you again”. That’s what the difference between humans and God is. I’m this way too so don’t think I’m just picking on non-christians. All these “bad characteristics” that I note in this book about humans are all true of myself ok. I’ve fallen short too. It’s never you you you. It’s us us us. But there is a difference here between not looking down on people when they come back for help and telling them the truth that the reason they may be in a particular predicament is that they aren’t doing what God has told them to do. If a child gets in trouble for doing the wrong thing then they have to realize why it is they are in trouble. If we and God fail to let our children know why they are in trouble then we are not good parents, are we? No, of course not. But the difference is when we make the choice to go to God instead of trying to cover up what we are doing wrong or can’t control on our own. When we don’t go to God is when we get in more trouble. Not that we can hide what’s going on in our life from God or anything, but He wont help us if we don’t ask. If your teenage son gets a girl pregnant or your teenage daughter gets pregnant, and don’t tell you that they need help to know what to do now, then there’s nothing you can do to help them. And the more they hide it the worse it gets. Now nobody wants these things to happen in their family and maybe you don’t even have a child but the point is not the specific problem. The point is that if we don’t go to God for help then it is our fault if He doesn’t step in to help out. And just like a good parent will help their child, God is ready to step in and help. Now I don’t know when God decides He just wants to step in and help out anyway. Just like with the pregnant thing, if the kids don’t tell, but the parents know, they might just go ahead and help. But you know what, I don’t want to test God like that. But I do time and time again. I’m like “I got this one God”. I’m sorry to be blunt but that’s just stupidity. Please don’t get offended because I said that’s stupid, because I’m talking about myself. But, I mean if the shoe fits wear it. So don’t be stupid (again I’m talking about myself), go to God and let Him help out.

I think it’s easy to see that it’s God’s will to go to Him in prayer. If you don’t believe this just go to the New Testament and look up all the times we are told to pray. All the times others pray. All the praying Jesus does. Man Jesus prayed for about 12 hours one time ok (Matthew 14:23-25). That’s unheard of. I don’t know what could have been going on there. And it’s not like Jesus was some old man with nothing to do. He was like 30 yrs old. 30 yr olds these days are busy with something. Even if you are homeless you still got things to do where it’s hard to get away for 12 hours alone. The only thing I think I have ever done for 12 hours straight is drugs, alcohol, and sleep. That’s just messed up there. I think the longest time I ever remember spending in full on prayer is like 30 minutes. Wow!! What a prayer warrior I am huh? Yeah right I’m more like a prayer chump compared to Jesus. God knows that we are no Jesus though. So don’t beat yourself up. The tendency to do so is there. And don’t let others make you feel like you can’t or don’t have a prayer life. Just pray what you got. Give it all to God. Don’t let it bring you down. Prayer with others is good. That, hopefully, will keep you in a prayer mindset at least. If you are married, or even just have a girlfriend or boyfriend, then pray with them. Me and my wife pray all the time. I’m not kidding. We pray all the time. At least twice a day we pray together. And no we don’t pray for hours on end. But you don’t need to pray on your knees in the dark with no one around you to pray. I do my best praying just looking up at nothingness. I actually pray best sitting or standing. I’m for real. I don’t know how people stay awake or keep their mind in the right place when they are on their knees or face with their eyes closed for more than 5 minutes by themselves. Sorry God. Sorry whoever is reading this. I’m just not that holy I guess. I don’t know what to say when I pray around others most of the time. I got like a basic prayer pattern of thanking and glorifying God, asking whatever it is we are asking for, praying for those less fortunate than myself (mainly for those that arent saved) and thanking God again. That’s Mike’s basic prayer. When I’m alone I don’t have that mind-set. I got some big questions and answers that I talk to God about and I can’t concentrate on my face or knees by myself ok. If you can do that then great you go right ahead. Like I said earlier it’s not where when or how we specifically pray. The point is that we do pray. And it indeed is God’s will that we do so. If we are knowingly outside of God’s will then He can’t be responsible for the outcome now can He?