Monday, December 9, 2019


Pray for myself? Right away that sounds counterintuitive!

I thought the Christian life is about giving to, and praying for, others - putting others first?

Of course this is true. In fact, it is one of the foundational truths of our faith and our love for others is what often sets us apart from other religions and groups. However, a wise pastor once taught that we should actually pray for ourselves first!

I'm not taking about covetous prayers for our own selfish desires and cravings. It is not wrong to have desires and pray for them. But when they morph into selfishness it can become very ugly. We often need God's wisdom to know where to draw the line!

What I am referring to is a prayer to "get right" with God!

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

We often quote the first part and the last part of that verse - but leave out the middle part: "Seek first the kingdom of God... ...and all these things will be added to you."

But there is a middle... "...AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!"

We are to pray that we are RIGHT WITH GOD! In other words, "Straighten me out God." Then I will be ready to help fix the world!

David asked God to search him "to see if there was any wicked way in him" - then to - "lead him in the everlasting way!" (Psalm 139:23-24)

A few days ago, I was making a prayer list and it kept getting longer. They were valid and unselfish requests. But God brought me back to this truth. Until we seek His righteousness (not our own) and walk in it, we will not be very effective for His Kingdom! The more God has a grip on our own hearts, the more use we all be for the Kingdom of God!

Simple, right?
HIS righteousness working in us is what is needed to truly further His Kingdom! Our first order of prayer and our highest calling is to get in line with God, His righteousness and His will - dying to ourselves and allowing God to fill us with His Spirit!

In fact, God has a very negative option of who we are, in our own righteousness...

Isaiah 64:6
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Man often tries to use his human intellect to imagine what God wants and then endeavors to act accordingly, thinking God will be pleased. The world around is a monument to how futile that mindset is!

But God tell us to SEEK HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS! Then He promises to also reward those who diligently do so! (Hebrews 11:6)

Then, and only then, will... "all these things will be added to us!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


James 5:16b

There are various types of prayer and various levels of prayer.

For example, sitting by a tree or in your favorite chair is one type of prayer.


17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed FERVENTLY that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
James 5:17-18 (ESV)

We can observe that Elijah's prayer was far different from that of sitting and conversing with God - although both can be rightly said to be defined as types of prayer. Elijah's prayer was SPECIFIC and FERVANT!


The book of Genesis records the story of two twins, Esau and Jacob. When they were grown, Jacob stole Esau's birthright through deceit. Jacob fled from Esau to escape his wrath.

Many years later, they were about to meet again. Jacob sent gifts ahead to appease Esau. Jacob was left alone in his camp that night and encountered a visitation from God in the form of a man. 

Jacob wrestled with that God / Man until daybreak...
25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” BUT JACOB SAID, “I WILL NOT LET YOU GO UNLESS YOU BLESS ME.”
27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:25-28 (ESV)


We may pray "conversational" prayers - simply walking and talking with God.

We may pray "maintenance" prayers - prayers that keep us from going backwards, minting our position with God.

Or we may pray Elijah prayers - prayers that are specific and servant

Or a Jacob prayer - "I won't let you go until you bless me!"

Or Daniel prayers - fasting and seeking God even with the impending threat of being thrown into the lions' den for doing so!

Or Jesus' prayer in which the Master sweat great drops of blood!

Breakthrough prayer is undoubtedly the most difficult type of prayer. It is the kind of prayer that keeps on seeking, pressing, asking, knocking and preserving with great intensity and fervency!

The promise form God is that this type of prayer will avail much!


There is a an urgent push today by many in the science world to find a new earth. They believe that our current earth has been so polluted with non-decomposing garbage and toxic fumes that it is beyond salvaging.

Theoretical physicists claim we must get started immediately. So they are on a mission - to find this new earth, "Earth 2" if you will. Others want to establish colonies on Mars.

This new earth is pictured as a utopia, a perfect place where men will live in harmony, all needs will be met and peace will rule!

There is one major problem with this imagined utopian paradise - SIN! That terrible shadow seems to crop up everywhere. And "Earth Two" will be no exception!

Two things are notable regarding this endeavor.

The first is that it has already been tried! In a sense God created a new earth in the days of Noah. Though it was actually the same earth, God started with a few righteous people and destroyed everyone and everything else. Noah and his family were in the ark for over a year (though it only rained for 40 days and nights).

Within a very short time, Noah was getting drunk and some of his sons were looking at their father's naked body. (It has been said that the sense was that they looked upon him with lust). No long after that, SIN revived and manifested in killing, idolatry and the world embarked on a course that would soon resemble the pre-flood world.

We have no reason to believe that the new earth we imagine in our day would not take the same shape. We may have already discovered in our personal lives that SIN cannot be left behind through the process of geographical relocation!

The second is that God already has a plan for a new earth:

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a NEW EARTH, for the first heaven and THE FIRST EARTH HAD PASSED AWAY, and the sea was no more.
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Revelation 21:1-3 ESV

(Theologians believe that the earth will be recreated rather than completely destroyed.)

There will be a glorious day when God Himself will come to dwell among His people!

Until that day, sin cannot be eliminated through human endeavors. Only God Himself will be able to recreate this new earth that will be free of sin. In that day, we will truly live in peace and harmony and far from any trace of sin.

Until that day comes, sin can be dealt with only through the Power and Presence of The Living God. We must first be born again and then take dominion over sin by the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Even if man were to achieve finding and inhabiting "Earth 2," it would give him no power over the influence of sin that would travel right along with him!