Sunday, December 31, 2017

Timothy, Tell the Men to Lead in Worship and Prayer (1 Timothy 2:8, Men Only)

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer,
without anger or disputing
(1 Timothy 2:8, NIV)

Keep in mind that the apostle Paul here is continuing his instructions concerning prayer which were begun in verse 1. Here, in this verse, Paul gave instruction on who is to do the praying and how they are to pray. He wrote, “I want…” Previously, he said that God “wants all men to be saved” (v.4), but now Paul “want men” to pray. He is expressing what he would like to see take place in the church.

And this is interesting, “men” here is not refer to mankind in general, but men in specific contrast to women. Paul, based on my reading of his epistles, is clearly pointing out that the leadership and responsibility for prayer in the public worship service is upon the men, not women. This definitely doesn’t mean that a woman cannot pray in public worship service, far from it (read 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul gives instructions for women to do so), but the headship and leadership of men is to be recognized. Again, keep in mind that Paul is giving instructions for the public worship service (church service, if you would like to call it), not a service specifically called for prayer. Women should not hesitate to participate freely in such a service as long as the headship of man is recognized. This is God’s will.

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer…” Although lifting or raising hands while worship is harmless even good, I don’t think Paul is talking about bodily posture here. Our heart posture in which we offer prayers matter more than our body posture: “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened” (Psalms 66:19, NLT). “Holy” refers to quality of life, not a part of the body. The heart must be clean and the life holy if prayer is to be heard. Sins have cut we off from God (refer to Isaiah 59:1-2), therefore, holiness is necessary for effectual prayer. Remember, we can be holy because through and in Christ we have been made holy (read Hebrews 10:10). We are and we can be. There also must not be “anger or disputing” or as Eugene Peterson paraphrased, “not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God.” Anger against one another and/or resentment against God also can cut us off from Him and makes prayer unacceptable.

So, when we pray to God – when men pray – men should take the headship, leadership and godly examples in the public worship service. We must examine our hearts daily and confess our sins so that it will not cut off our relationship with God. And ask the Lord to fill us with His holiness, peace and mercy as we lead others in prayer. Where are men of God today? Be one.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Be Strong, Polycarp, Play the Man

Like the scene straight out of Gladiator, Polycarp was dragged into the Roman Colosseum. Discipled by the apostle John himself, the aged bishop faithfully and selflessly led the church of Smyrna through the persecution prophesied by his spiritual father. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer,” writes John in Revelation 2:10, “Be faithful, even to the point of death.”

John had died a half century before, but his voice still echoed in Polycarp’s ears as the Colosseum crowd chanted, “Let loose the lion!” That’s when Polycarp heart a voice from heaven that was audible about the crowd: “Be strong, Polycarp. Play the man.”

Days before, Roman bounty hunters had tracked him down. Instead of fleeing, Polycarp fed them a meal. Perhaps that’s why they granted his last request – an hour of prayer. Two hours later, many of those who heard the way Polycarp prayed actually repented of their sin on the spot. They did not, however, relent of their mission.

Like Jesus entering Jerusalem, Polycarp was led into the city of Smyrna on a donkey. The Roman proconsul implored Polycarp to recant. “Swear by the genius of Caesar!” Polycarp held his tongue, held his ground. The proconsul prodded, “Swear, and I will release thee; revile the Christ!”

Eighty and six years have I served Him,” said Polycarp. “And He has done me no wrong! How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” The die was cast.

Polycarp was led to the center of the Colosseum where three times the proconsul announced, “Polycarp has confessed himself to be a Christian.” The bloodthirsty crowd chanted for death by beast, but the proconsul opted for fire. As his executioners seized his wrists to nail him to the stake, Polycarp stopped them. “He who gives me strength to endure the fire will enable me to do so without the help of your nails.”

As the pyre was lit on fire, Polycarp prayed one last prayer: “I bless you because you have thought me worthy of this day and this hour to be numbered among your martyrs in the cup of your Christ.” Soon the flames engulfed him, but strangely they did not consume him, Polycarp was fireproof. Instead of the stench of burning flesh, the scent of frankincense wafted through the Colosseum.

Using a spear, the executioner stabbed Polycarp through the flames. Polycarp bled out, but not before the twelfth martyr of Smyrna had loved out John’s exhortation: be faithful even to the point of death. Polycarp died fearlessly and faithfully. And the way he died forever changed the way those eyewitness lived. He did what the voice from heaven had commanded. Polycarp played the man.
[Quote from Mark Batterson’s Play the Man (2017), page 7-9. Published by Baker Books]

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Book Review: Steve Jobs’ Life by Design (2014) by George Beahm

Steve Jobs’ Life by Design: Lessons to Be Learned from His Last Lecture (2014) 
by George Beahm

I have half a dozen of books about Steve Jobs. I simply like him due to his personality and resilient. No one outside Biblical story have an inspiring come-back power like Steve Jobs. This man just don’t give up. And in this book, the author George Beahm, portrait the life of Jobs with simplicity and narrated his successes and failures – and absolutely Jobs’ genius – based on his 2005 Stanford University’s 114th Commencement Ceremony address. You must watch this 22 minutes address which is available on YouTube. Here Jobs summarised everything he had learned from life – framed in three simple themes: Connecting the Dots, Love and Loss, and Death. 

Your time is limited,” he preached, “so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Speaking directly from the heart (written on papers, of course) Jobs’ elegantly simple talk was then became his Last Lecture. You must watch it. In essence, “he challenges us to make a dent in the universe by discovering our own passions and having the fearlessness to pursue them.” Iconoclast. Visionary. Adopted. Drop Out. Fired. Genius. 

My favourite quote making-famous by Steve Jobs is: “Stay Foolish, Stay Hungry.” I’ve printed it and framed it on the wall of my working table. “Stay Hungry” mean an expression of a desire for knowledge, for enlightenment, for continuous learning, not so much a hunger for success in an increasingly materialistic world. “Stay Foolish” on the other hand mean a state of mind as free as possible, without constraints, an unburdened mind, capable of thinking clearly and creatively; in short, a free thinker. Or, in Apple’s terms, someone who would “think different,” the theme of an Apple ad highlighting artists like Picasso, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Einstein, and others. Steve Jobs said during his speeches, “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

I love this book because the author divided the commencement address speech into 22 smaller and enjoy-reading chapters. I bought this book for only RM19.90, hardcover at BookXcess bookstore. Oh yeah!

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Book Review: Wild at Heart, Discovering the Secret of A Man's Soul (2001) by John Eldredge

Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of A Man's Soul (2001) 
by John Eldredge 

Introduction: "We need permission. Permission to be what we are - men made in God's image. Permission to live from the heart and not from the list of 'should' and 'ought to' that has left so many of us tired and bored. Most messages from men ultimately fail. The reason is simple: they ignore what is deep and true to man's heart, his real passions, and simply try to shape him up through various forms of pressure..."

Chapter 1 is bang bang brutally true: "Christianity, as it currently exists, has done some terrible things to men. When all is said and done, I think most men in church believe that God put them on the earth to be a good boy. The problem with men, we are told, is that they don't know how to keep their promises, be spiritual leaders, talk to their wives, or raise their children. But, if they try real hard they can reach the lofty summit of becoming... a nice guy. That's what we hold up as models of Christian maturity: Really Nice Guys. We don't smoke, drink, or swear; that's what makes us men. Now let me ask my male readers: In all your boyhood dreams growing up, did you ever dream of becoming a Nice Guy?"

"What is a Christian man? Don't listen to what is said, look at what you find there (in the church)... You'd have to admit a Christian man is... bored... But God made the masculine heart, set within every man, and thereby offers him an invitation: Come, and live out what I meant you to be."

After John concludes what God's desire for men, he then continue: "There are three desires I find written so deeply into my heart I know now I can no longer disregard them without losing my soul. There are core to who and what I am and yearn to be. I gaze into boyhood, I search the pages of literature, I listen carefully to many, many men, and I am convinced these desires are universal, a clue into masculinity itself. They may be misplaced, forgotten, or misdirected, but in the heart of every man is 1) A desperate desire for a battle to fight; 2) An adventure to live, and 3) A beauty to rescue. I want you to think of the films men love, the things they do with their free time, and especially the aspirations of little boys and see if I am not right on this."

Do you like what you read, men? Oh, this is only the first chapter. This book is filled with true stories, men's struggles, practical advices and biblically challenging. I almost cry when I read chapter about The Father's Voice, two chapters on A Battle to Fight make me think hard about my life, and chapter on The Wound is soo true. Man, wow! I recommend wholeheartedly this book for men (I'll get this audiobook to listen over and over again). Buy it and it worth all your ringgit!

[P.s: There are lots of John's videos on YouTube about this topic on manhood. Go and watch it. I also subscribed to John's podcast Ransomed Heart to listen to his talks and interviews. My first encounters with John was thru his amazing book Beautiful Outlaw on the person of Jesus. In the Evangelical circles, John is somewhat controversial especially on some of his teachings. I've checked and I found out nothing serious]


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Book Review: The Hidden Value of a Man (1992) by Gary Smalley and John Trent

The Hidden Value of a Man: The Incredible Impact of a Man on His Family (1992)
by Gary Smalley and John Trent

As a man, the authors writes, whether you realize it or not, own two “swords,” two form of power – a silver-handed sword called man’s positional power, and a gold-handed sword called man’s personal power. Positional power is “the clout, control, prestige and authority that come to a man because of where he works or what he does. It’s his job title, his resume… it’s the number of academic degrees he has earned… it centres on an image… and doing whatever it takes, to whomever, to increase and maintain the image of excellent.” Personal power on the other hand is “the ability to develop meaningful, fulfilling relationships; a willingness to do whatever it takes to strengthen our families and find the help we need to overcome any strains in our marriages.” Both are important, but men today lack personal power, the gold-handed sword, said the authors. “When you speak of a man’s personal power, you immediately think of words reflecting character like warmth, sensitivity, dependability, determination, genuine compassion and caring.”

Deep down, men may realize something of the power they have to touch the lives of their families, wives and children. But because we don’t understand how does it work and when to use it, we stumble along the way. We sometime have no real concept of the damage caused by our actions, our words, our absence, even our silence (just like my dad). As with smoking or alcohol abuse, we don’t see the damage immediately. So it’s easy to think that because everything looks fine on the outside, problems aren’t building up on the inside. Both authors are counsellors tell real-life-stories about how a child’s heart is within a man’s reach, the strength of a fulfilling marriage is within a man’s reach, and the destruction of our society lies within a man’s reach. “When will we realize we’re so powerful that we can’t ‘do our own thing’ without affecting everything and everyone around us?” For good and bad, for better and worst.

I’m not married yet, but I read this because I want to change my way of using my silver and gold swords, to equip myself in Biblical manhood, to improve my family relationships, and as preparation for marriage life. Successful in the world of work is important, but men also need to be successful at home. This is even more important. This remind me of 1 Timothy 3:5, “For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” Great question!

This book is divided into 14 chapters, namely:

#1 The Hidden Value of a Man
#2 The Two Swords of Value in Every Man
#3 When We Fail to Pick Up the Gold Sword
#4 Creating Your Own Gold Sword
#5 Seven Reflections of the Gold Sword, Part 1
#6 Seven Reflections of the Gold Sword, Part 2
#7 Being Male May Be Hazardous to Your Family’s Health
#8 The Little “e” Can Spell Big Trouble
#9 Women Who Hide Our Swords
#10 Healing the Hole in Our Hearts
#11 When Actions Don’t Measure Up to Words
#12 The Hidden Power of Friends
#13 What to Do When Nothing Else Words
#14 Master of the Gold Sword

I love how this book end with Jesus Christ, the Master of the Gold Sword. Wow! I bought this book at second-hand book fair at The Hill, Kuching for only RM3.90.

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Book Review: The Message of 2 Timothy, Guard the Gospel (1973) by John R. W. Stott

The Message of 2 Timothy: Guard the Gospel (1973) by John R. W. Stott

I love The Bible Speaks Today commentaries because it's characterised by a threefold ideal: to expound the biblical text with accuracy, to relate it to contemporary life, and to be readable. God still speaks through what He has spoken, and that nothing is more necessary for the life, health and growth of Christians than that we should hear what the Spirit is saying to us through His ancient - yet ever modern - Word.

Okay, the book. I've read this book twice. Very good! I simple love how John Stott expounds the Word especially 2 Timothy. John writes, "During the gestation of this book I seem to have lived inside the second letter of Paul to Timothy in imagination I have sat down beside Timothy and have tried myself to hear and heed this final charge from the aging apostle... On each occasion I have been impressed afresh by the timeliness for today what the apostle writes; especially for young Christian leaders. For our era is one of theological and moral confusion, even of apostasy and the apostle summons us, as he summoned Timothy, to be strong, brave and steadfast."

Indeed, this book is not just timeless but also timely for me.
My favourite is 1 Timothy, no doubt.

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Book Review: Battlefield of the Mind, Devotional (2005) by Joyce Meyer

Battlefield of the Mind: Devotional (2005) by Joyce Meyer 

I know that Joyce Meyer are called 'false teacher', 'false prophet' and 'The Reptilian Anointing' person on YouTube, even on the Internet. I know that. But I read her books anyway. If you were to check all the writers and speakers and scrutinized all the things they said, be it John Piper, John MacArthur, Francis Chan, etc., you name it, you'll always find error and fault in them. For me, to read a book, I must look at the big picture or theme and not to be bogged down with small details. Unless I read the Bible, then I must be both look at big picture and examine the details. Okay?

First, I listened to audiobook Battlefield of the Mind, then I read this devotional book. What a blessing! Proverb 23:7 say, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." Meaning, whatever we focus on, we become. Wherever we put our energies or our attention, those things will develop. Where the mind goes, the man follows! Powerful Biblical principle but not many Christians take care of their minds. Hey, we must not forget that the mind is a battlefield. On the back cover: "Life catches us off guard at times. We might find ourselves in doubt, afraid, and confused. Sometimes, it even feels like we're under attack - and that's because we are! A war is waged in our minds, and the enemy uses every tool at his disposal to weaken out outlook and our relationship with God. But we have been given the power to fight back. And we must fight back one day at a time, one battle at a time."

These 100 insights from Joyce Meyer (filled with Bible verses and as I checked, she handled it reverently and in simple terms) will change the way we think. Each reading offers us strength, encouragement and most important, triumph in the battlefield of our minds! I read 5 insights a day, so I finished the book in less than a month. This good!

[P.s: another book that I would like to recommend on the subject of the mind is by James Allan entitled As A Man Thinketh. I know, I read these controversial books... Well, I'm a rebellious reader]


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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Timothy, There is Only One God, One Mediator and Your Salvation is Here (1 Timothy 2:5-7)

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle – I am telling the truth, I am not lying – and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles
(1 Timothy 2:5-7, NIV)

One God” is our most important Christian theology of God. Not three but one. Not the same as the god of Islam, Allah. Far from it! I heard some people, even Christians, thought that all – Moslems, Jews, Christians, etc. – worship the same god. They said, “It doesn’t make any difference how you worship just as long as you are sincere.” Eh, sincerely wrong doesn’t make you right. The only God is the God who revealed Himself through the Scriptures. He is not obscure and unknowable, but He is reaching out for men and can be known by “one mediator… the man Jesus Christ.”

One true God can only be found through only one way: the mediator, “the man Christ Jesus.” It’s not, You try to get to heaven in your way and I’ll go mine, but we’re all working for the same place. No. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Fathers except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the mediator, the only one, mean He is a ‘go between, one who stands in the middle.’ This is exactly what Jesus has done on the cross. He is in between a holy God and sinful men, uniting us through the sacrifice of Himself for our sin (if you like to appreciate Jesus as Mediator, read Hebrews 1-3). Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all men.” This is amazing! “Gave” means He does it voluntarily, not a victim yo (read John 10:18). “Ransom” means He brought us with a price, His own blood. And “for all men” means for all, everybody! Even the worst of the sinners!

Notice here, Paul was ordained to be three things: “a herald” or a preacher, “an apostle” or the sent one, and “a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.” The Gentiles are the non-Jews – you and me. The Gospel to which Paul was commissioned knew no racial or ethnic bounds. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for me regardless of my race (an Iban) and my nationality (Malaysian). This is “the testimony given in its proper time” and “the time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Galatians 4:4). To me, this statement give special meaning to Paul’s statement that: “now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Let me recap: there is only one God, there is only one way – Jesus Christ, this offer is to everyone, and this is an invitation to you:

Now is the day of salvation,
Would you like to know the only one true God intimately?
Come through Jesus Christ, the Son.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Timothy, Our God Saviour Wants All Men to Be Saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth
(1 Timothy 2:1-4, NIV).

Honestly, when I pray so often the material and physical needs come first (recall prayer requests during prayer meeting you attended lately). The early Christians certainly had reason to pray for their physical safety and for their material needs. However, in praying for those in authority, verse 4 demonstrates that which is important to God – was important to Paul – and should have priority in our prayers, namely, for their salvation.  Of course we should pray for wisdom for governmental leaders that they will be kept from temptations of bribery, rule justly and other temptations which are uniquely theirs. But most important of all, we should pray for their salvation. Not just their but also for “everyone” or “all men.”

Here we read, “God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved.” Question: Why today aren’t all men saved? Can’t God do anything He wants? Some Bible translations translated “wants” to “will” and “desires.” The word “desires” (thelo) is the best translation in context here. God desires all men to be saved. God’s wish or desire just like in 2 Peter 3:9, God “not wanting anyone to parish.” Not that all men will eventually be saved someday (I don’t believe in universalism) but it simply stating God’s desire. God is not a God who force salvation on anyone. God through Jesus Christ has provided salvation for all, He desires all men to be saved, but the choice is ours to receive or reject His Son. You see, Jesus Christ is ultimately that “knowledge of the truth.”

When we pray for leaders (and anyone else) for their salvation, we are praying in the will of God and it will be “good and pleases God.” During Paul’s time, Roman emperor was called saviour. In contrast to the saviour of the Roman emperor is the Christian’s saviour – “God our Saviour.” For the Romans, the emperor might be a saviour in the sense of providing temporal security and prosperity, but for Christians – Jews, Romans and Gentiles believers alike – only God can provide eternal salvation. So pray, pray and tell, pray and live, pray and share, pray and preach the Gospel! “This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth

May God’s desire be done. Amen.

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Timothy, Pray Especially for Governmental Authority that Persecuted You (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness
(1 Timothy 2:1-2, NIV).

The apostle Paul first urged Timothy and the church to pray “for everyone.” This, I think, doesn’t mean that everyone on earth is to be mentioned individually name-by-name, nor it mean a general, all-inclusive kind of prayer. Not too details I guest and not too general but be specific in prayer. This also mean that all of us –believers and not-yet-believers – come under the umbrella of intercessory prayer. As I write this, someone(s) is praying for me! Thank you.

This is the hard part. A specific order is given here to pray for governmental authority – “for kings and all those in authority.” That covers every government officials from the highest to the lowest. Paul, throughout his epistles, proclaimed that God is absolutely sovereign! This mean that, for reasons I might not necessary like or know, He has placed government leaders in their place, even the ‘bad’ ones (Think Malaysia). Historically, when this letter was written Roman Emperor Nero was on the throne. I assumed if Paul and all the faithful Christians who were persecuted (even martyrs) by the religious authorities and government leaders for preaching the Gospel could pray for them especially the brutal Nero, surely, we should and ought to pray for our government leaders no matter what political party they might be! Because of the persecution they were experiencing, it would have been easy and logical for Christians to allow hate to come into their hearts. But Paul knew – Jesus exemplified and taught him – that the best counterfeit for hate is love in a form of prayer. If you pray for your enemies, you’ll learn to love them.

What are the aims for such prayer? Paul wrote “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” This desire was very real to the early Christians because of their suffering at the hands of the government. In Malaysia, we may not suffer physically like those during Timothy’s time but for sure economically we’re suffered (even that is not close to anything the word suffering imply in the Bible). As Malaysian Christians, we face only little persecutions especially Sarawakian Christians. So far we are quiet safe and peaceful. This we shouldn’t take for granted and thank God for it. But on the other hand, we as Malaysians are facing embarrassment and injustice mainly due to our government leaders. Let’s pray especially for our Prime Minister and the government officials. Let’s pray for our spiritual leaders as well.

Pray for our leaders and soon you’ll learn to love them too. I’m trying. This doesn’t mean that we affirmed their bad conducts and never have to voice our concerns and fight for justice, no! Of course not, remember Micah 6:8. It simply mean that when we pray for them, we learn to love them as individuals as how God sees them, us. Remember this: “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 and from verse 13 to 20 are all about prayer). This is a spiritual warfare, pray! 

Lord, may we live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Amen.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Timothy, the First Thing I Want You to Do - Before Preach, Teach and Lead - is Pray (1 Timothy 2:1)

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers,
intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone…
(1 Timothy 2:1,

The first thing I want you to do is pray.
Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know” (The Message)

My NIV Bible begin chapter two with a title Instructions on Worship; and NLT Instructions for the church. Okay, if the apostle Paul is going to talk about the church he certainly will start out with either preaching, teaching or church service order, right? Wrong! “The first thing I want you to do is pray.” How different from us, from me. No doubt, we affirm that prayer is the most important thing in a church and the highest privilege of a Christian, we said. But we live as if it didn’t amount to much at all. The busier we become the less time we spend in prayer. I once leading a prayer meeting, and if you had too, I can be sure that (most but not all) it is the poorest attended meeting of the week compare to Christmas party, family outing and youth concert. Where are the prayer warriors?

Now, back to the text. Paul uses four words to describe prayer: requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving. The first is “requests” or “supplications.” It is an expression of need, coming helplessly to our Heavenly Father to bring all our needs to Him. The second word “prayers,” is the general word used for prayer and it carries with it the idea of worship and reverence or the fear of the Lord. The next word is “intercession.” Simply put, it mean to pray for and on behalf of other people. If you read verse 2, Paul asked Timothy to pray and intercede “for kings and all those in authority.” I think one of the reason many people (especially netizens) complaints and criticize our political leaders (yes, they are wrong most of the time) is because they didn’t pray for them. If we understand what it means to intercede for others, we would pray more and criticize less.

The last word is “thanksgiving.” I like to highlight this word because I sense that people of God today lack the attitude of giving thanks. Two things that, if people said it, it make them super rare these day are: “I appreciate you” and “thank you.” After people send you home, say “thank you”; after someone helped you, say “thank you”; when God answered your prayer, say “thank you” (even before you received it, say “thank you”). Hey, thanksgiving is a form of prayer! It is interesting that one of the sins mentioned in Romans 1:21 that cause God’s wrath against mankind is that they “neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him.” Yes, thanksgiving to God is not natural to our old natures, so we need to cultivate it in our hearts.

So Timothys, “the first thing I want you to do is pray.” Do it.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Things I Wish My Father Knew (The End) Dad, God is Your Father

Perhaps after sharing
these thoughts,
you, dads, have found yourself
growing closer
to the Heavenly Father
with who you have already
established a relationship.

Or, maybe, you have come
to a realization
that you do not yet have
this close personal tie
with the Heavenly Father.

You can know Him!
Not as God way up there,
but a Father who wants
a close, caring,
personal relationship
with you as His child.

You commit your life to Him
as His child.

He commits Himself to you
as your Father.

There are responsibilities,
but the joys are unlimited!

You can establish
Such a relationship
By having a conversation with Him,
A personal, one-to-one prayer.

Pray below prayer as a model
to help you express
your heart desire:

Dear God,

I confess that I am a sinner,
unworthy of Your love.
Please forgive my sins
and cleanse my heart
from all sinfulness.

I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for my sin
and that He rose again
so I might have eternal life.

I need Your forgiveness,
Your cleansing,
Your love,
Your wisdom,
That I may become
a godly father –
one who is pleasing to You.

I ask You to become
the Lord and Master of my life
and to help me guide my family
in the pathway that leads
to eternal life.
Thank you for being my Father
and for the privilege
of being a father myself.

I pray this in the name of the Father,
the Son,
and the Holy Spirit.

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Things I Wish My Father Knew #15 Only the Very Best for His Children

A loving father works hard
to provide for his family.

Providing for the present
with an eye toward the future,
he wants for them
only the best.

God also wants
only the very best
for His children.

With a protective hand
on your present
and an eye toward
your eternal future,
God provided
the very best for you.

Acting according to
His Father’s will,
Jesus the Son took upon Himself
the sins of all
who would trust in Him.

The Son of God died on the cross
and then rose from the grave,
so that all who believe
might be provided
with the best!

Eternal life!
Provisions of a loving Father.

Praise be to
the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy
He has given us
new birth
into a living hope
through the resurrection
of Jesus Christ
from the dead
(1 Peter 1:3)

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Things I Wish My Father Knew #14 Indeed, A Costly Commitment

When the bills started coming in,
you probably realized
that having a family
was going to be
a costly commitments.

Those financial obligations
are only the beginning
of a father’s investment
in the life
of his beloved child.

It seems like a lot to ask
of a father,
doesn’t it?

Yet, a loving father
willingly pays the price.

The Heavenly Father
also counted the cost
of providing believers
with membership
in His family.

He willingly paid the price –
the death of His
only begotten Son.

It seems like a lot to ask
of a Heavenly Father,
doesn’t it?

But, our loving Father
willingly paid the price!

Because of His great love for us,
God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ
even when we were dead
in transgressions –
it is by grace
you have been saved.”
(Ephesians 2:4-5)

What, then, shall we say
in response to this?
If God is for us,
who can be against us?
He who did not spare
His own Son,
but gave Him up for us all –
how will He not also,
along with Him,
graciously give us
all things?
(Romans 8:31-32)

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Things I Wish My Father Knew #13 Yesterday's Failures, Tomorrow's Victories

Perhaps as you look back
over your life,
you see many failures.

Your family life
has not been
what you had hoped.

Your children
have disappointed you,
or maybe you
disappointed them.

Or, perhaps,
you have simply not met
your own expectations.

One of the best things
about your Heavenly Father
is that He is
a God of beginnings.

He will
forgive and forget
the past.

He will
give you joy and purpose

And He will
lead you boldly into

Trust the Lord to take you
from yesterday’s failures
into tomorrow’s victories!

Trust in the LORD
with all your heart
and lean not
on your own understanding;
in all your ways
acknowledge Him,
and He will make
your paths straight.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)


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