Dear Student of the Word,
This week we are one step closer to concluding our New Testament studies as I send along the final installment from John's first epistle. Your next study will focus on John's other two epistles and then we will move on to Paul's letter to Titus. I am excited that these are coming to an end, the fruit of nine year's work! Thank You, Lord!
This week I wrote on day five of this seven-day study, which you can download at the bottom of this entry:
Our role is not to debate whether or not this is true. Our objective is to declare this truth to include as many people in the family of God as possible! We are to invest anything we have to see the truth declared among the nations and ethnic groups of the earth. This work is called missions work.
Missions work can take place at home or abroad, but it must take place. You must play some role in that work, whether you give, pray or go. What are you doing to see the message of the gospel reach others who don’t know or have not heard? What more can you do? Do you see the urgency of this work, for if Jesus is the only way to the Father, then that is the good news that must be preached and broadcast? This is why the early church was so passionate about declaring that Jesus was the Way!
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off (Acts 13:1-3).
5:14 – God hears you when you pray, not because you are praying properly or by the correct formula, but because Jesus has paved the way for you to be heard. God hears you because of the work Jesus did. When you pray in Jesus’ name, it isn’t a formula, but rather a reality. You come to the Father and He hears you because of Jesus. He answers your prayer so that Jesus may be glorified and the work of the Son verified as heaven’s choice and favor.
Do you realize what John wrote here? When you pray, the Father hears you! Whether or not you get the answer you like, whether or not it feels like He hears you, the truth is that He hears you. You accept that in faith and you pray and keep on praying. The less you feel like He hears, the more fervently you should pray. Jesus told this parable and asked a question at the end. How would you answer that question for your own life and family? If Jesus returned today, would He find faith in your “world”?
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' " And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:1-8).
5:15 – If God hears, then God grants. That is why you can pray and thank God for your prayer being answered before you see it answered:
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
Are you regularly asking God for the same thing, or at some point do you begin to thank Him for what you asked? This isn’t forcing or manipulating God into answering your request. It is a relationship with Him that enables you to know you were heard and then to thank Him for the answer. Does that make sense?