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Labor to Exhaustion

The whole temperament of the world is to get away from our bodies making any kind of sacrifice. Our goal is to make our bodies comfortable. The health and wealth syndrome is predominant in our world today. We want to take care of the body and make it last forever. While we are making the body comfortable, Paul tells us to make our body a living sacrifice. Do we know w...

Don't Waste Time Defendin...

Jesus didn’t try to write a theological treatise to defend his messiahship. He didn’t send John a list of all the fulfilled prophecies of the Old Testament to prove that he was the Messiah. He said to John’s delegation, “Go back and tell John that the blind can see, the deaf ear, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the dead are raised....

A Daring Faith

Halford E. Luccoch said, “How sad, that we have not had the exhilaration of earthly explorers who marched off of their maps.” They had no maps in certain areas of the world in ancient days. There were certain waters that were not chartered. Earlier explorers had the joy and the exhilaration of going into areas that were yet unknown. Modern man generally pr...

Messing Up God's Plan

I had lunch with a man this week. At lunch as we talked, I shared the Lord with him and he made his profession of faith. His wife told me a little bit later, “I came by early to try to tell you not to ask my husband any of those questions because I thought it would make him mad.” But lo and behold, the Spirit of God had prepared his heart so he was ready a...

Persecuted for Christ

Christians have been liable to such ridicule since that time. Scribbled on the walls of Pompeii there is a picture of a man—a Christian kneeling before a crucified donkey-headed figure, and below it, there are scribbled the words, “Alexamenos worships his god.” If ever people make mockery of our Christianity, it will help us to remember that they did...

Sacrificial vs. Superfici...

One of the signs of the decadence of our church is that people have to be coaxed so much into giving what they ought to give freely. If you want to see the church coax people for gifts, turn on the television. You think I’ve got a thing against television preachers nowadays—and I am one. Write in and get TV Offer #37. Send us an extra gift, and we will sen...

Good Theology Is Good Liv...

Knowing the Bible can clear up a lot of the confusion and the clutter of life. I read the comic strip Peanuts sometimes. Lucy was frightened one day. It had rained and rained and rained and she was afraid that there was going to be another flood like in Noah’s day. Charlie Brown calmed her fears by telling her that God had promised in the Book that there wo...

Two-Handed Religion

In his interesting little book on Christian fundamentals, This I Believe, Louis L. Austin writes: “The Lord gave us two hands. One to hold to him, the other to our fellow man.” Two-handed religion. Loving God with heart and mind and soul—loving your neighbor as yourself. They go together and you cannot separate the two. Love is not mere sentiment and...

Keeping It Simple

Perhaps you have heard the story about the preacher who was delivering a deep theological sermon one day when his wife scribbled a note on a piece of paper, folded it up, and handed it to the usher who delivered it to the pastor while he was preaching. The pastor saw on the note the word “KISS.” He thought that was nice of his wife to send a love note whil...

Today's Devotional

What Is Prayer?

What is prayer?

First, it is asking God for what we need. Jesus taught us to ask for things (Luke 11:2). If God is really our father and we are really his children, it cannot be wrong to ask him for things.

Second, it is praising God for who he is. Jesus often turned to God for gifts, but at times he turned to him just for the sake of fellowship. Prayer is not merely asking God for things. We do not make our human friendships mere matters of convenience, approaching a friend only when we desire a favor from him and never going near him at any other time. No friendship could survive long under these mercenary terms. Nor can our friendship with God survive on this basis.

Third, prayer is thanking God for what he has done. Gratitude and praise often drove Jesus to his knees. His prayers were not marked by quarrels, protests, and aggravations.

Prayer must go beyond our own needs. Jesus taught us to pray for others. He prayed for little children, for his disciples, for Judas, for Peter, and even for his enemies at the cross.

We aren’t trying to coerce God. Instead we are trying to be open with him. We are not telling God what to do—we are telling him what we think we need. Prayer is not an effort to change God but it is loving communication with him. God has linked himself to prayer and works in response to it. And he is pleased when we pray.

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