We’re all familiar with the Ten Commandments—honor your father and mother, don’t worship idols, don’t steal, keep the Sabbath, etc. God gave us the ten commandments, and we would be smart to obey them. But what about the commandments Jesus gave us? We’re familiar with His teachings, but were there things He commanded us to do, or not do?
Can you spare a little time to pray? Can you dedicate the next 31 days to seeing God be glorified all around the world, in every nation, among every people? This 31 day prayer guide will tell you everything you need to know to pray effectively for just that.
When Jesus told his disciples to go make more disciples (you can read his Great Commission in Matthew Matthew 28:16-20), He told them to go to every nation. The world translated nation is actually ethne, from which we get the word ethnic. I like the Wycliffe translation: “Therefore go ye, and teach all folks…” We call them people groups—a group of people with the same cultural identity, separated from other groups with different cultural identities because of their differences—languages, customs, socio-economic status, caste, or even a physical or political barrier such as a mountain range or closed border. Continue reading
The phone caller went right to the point: “Hi, can you help me? We’ve got five college students arriving to help in our ministry for a week. They’ll be here in two days, and the family that was going to host them had an emergency and had to leave town. Do you have room? And we were going to have a dinner and games night for them—can you host that too?”
Actually, having the guys stay here would be no trouble at all. We have a guest room plenty of floor space. College students can sleep on the floor, right? The dinner and games night would be a bit more work, but I figured that feeding five extra mouths was doable.
Five students, two of us. No problem.
I believe that God always answers our prayers—the Bible is full of examples, plus we have verses such as Matthew 21:22: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Yet, for many of us, our life experience tells us otherwise. Does that mean God lied? Is the Bible untrustworthy? Or, perhaps, is it our lack of understanding that’s causing the problem?
Many years ago, Pete and I dreamed of moving to someplace less urban than the middle of Silicon Valley. We were tired of the traffic, fed up with the smog, and yearning for a simpler lifestyle. We prayed, and it seemed as if God was saying yes, get ready, you’re going to move. Great! We’ve always enjoyed the northwest, so Pete spent several months investigating jobs in the Seattle area. Things looked positive, but then the doors started slamming shut. We were so confused. Hadn’t God given us the go-ahead? Had He changed His mind?
[Thanks to my husband for setting my mind on this track!]
There are certain “spiritual” practices that most Christians would agree are a Good Idea—practices such as reading the Bible, praying, and fellowshipping with other believers. If you stop and consider, you might add additional items to this list—meditating on God and His word, practicing hospitality, generosity (aka giving), and fasting. We often aren’t aware that those among us are fasting, but I’m sure they are. Jesus assumed his followers would fast; it just isn’t something that we’re supposed to notice. Continue reading
We were at our church’s Good Friday service, just a few weeks ago. Pete and I arrived “less early” than we usually do and found our usual spots already taken, so we ended up sitting further back than normal. No big deal, I thought. But as the service opened with the worship our church is noted for, I discovered that sitting in the back was a much bigger deal than I had anticipated.
The people around us weren’t participating.
Passover begins this evening. It seems especially significant that this year, Passover begins on Good Friday. After all, they both celebrate the same thing.
The very idea that Passover is still celebrated now, in 2018, amazes me. Over thousands of years (with minor exceptions, such as during the years leading up to King Josiah), the Jews have celebrated the Passover. Whether in Israel and Judea, or even when spread to the corners of the earth, they’ve faithfully reenacted God’s sacrifice and salvation year after year after year.