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Monday
Sep262016

The Package Is on Its Way!

My son was supposed to have been born on September 27, 1998. But that day came and went. As the nurses were monitoring him every couple days after his due date, I remember my doctor saying, “We see the package and it looks fine.” Then he laughed and said, “When he’s being delivered,
you’ll know.”

As my son grew, I would pray for the bumps and bruises he’d encounter. In the fourth grade, he began having problems in math. I prayed for him to succeed and not fail. By the end of the fourth grade, he had improved a lot. When that year’s report card came in the mail, I held the evidence of answered prayer in my hands (he earned a B!).

When we pray, there is sometimes a temptation to believe that God the Father is like the unjust judge in Luke 18. In Andrew’s book, A Better Way to Pray, he uses this example. When we see God this way, we are believing that we have to be persistent—as if we are wrestling an answer away from Him that He doesn’t want to give. And if we “trouble” Him enough, He’ll “avenge” (answer) us, just to get us off His back (Luke 18:5).

As Andrew says, “That’s not what this passage is saying. God is not like the unjust judge” (pp. 67-68). Andrew explains how Jesus uses this example because He is pointing out a wrong attitude about prayer. “This parable is a contrast showing us the absurdity of such thinking.” Then Andrew says that in Luke 18:8, Jesus basically straightens them out: “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily [meaning when His children pray] . Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (brackets added). In other words, the delay is connected to our lack of faith. It never comes from the Father who answered all things in His Son on the cross in anticipation of our needs—over 2,000 years ago!

Andrew explains that if you see God as an unjust judge when you pray, “…you’re approaching God in an adversarial relationship…and believing what Christ did wasn’t enough” (p. 70). Wow! You might just have to let that sink in. How can you and I pray in faith while seeing Him that way?

Imagine that you call your sister and tell her you are leaving the post office, and you had just mailed her a gift. Then an hour goes by, and she calls you up, crying, “You lied! I went to the mailbox and it wasn’t there.” What would you think? Would you be angry? Then she calls you the next afternoon, but this time she’s angry. “I just went for the mail and the package is still not there! Are you sure you really mailed it?”

This is how we sometimes act toward God when His promises don’t show up right away. I know our Father is not angry with us when we do not understand Him or the wonderful gift He’s given us in prayer. In fact, because of what Jesus did for us, He invites us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of
need”
(Heb. 4:16).

If you’ve ever been unsure about how God responds when you pray, Andrew’s book A Better Way to Pray can help you grow in confidence toward Him. It’s available in CD, DVD, book, and study guide formats. It’s available in Spanish as well. I also encourage you to watch Andrew as he teaches A Better Way to Pray on the Gospel
Truth
broadcasts.

If this has blessed you, post a comment below.

Monday
Sep192016

Testimony Power

I believe that a big part of being in heaven will be our hearing both the well-known and unknown stories of believers on earth. That’s why testimonies are so powerful; they carry the convictions of the people who lived them. I was an eyewitness to many amazing demonstrations of God’s love during the most recent Charis Bible College missions trip to England, and I believe that these demonstrations will be talked about in glory for all of eternity.

For example, one night at a church youth group, one young man’s urge to commit suicide was taken away. Something about his face actually changed when he was delivered. At Dovegate Prison in Staffordshire, one inmate who had committed murder was filled with the Holy Spirit as a student ministered the love and acceptance of God to him. And at St. Peter’s Church in Walsall, a student prayed for a woman who had crushed bones in her hips and legs, and the woman was suddenly able to bend and dance without pain. These displays of God’s goodness were so wonderful. Yet I witnessed two miracles that demonstrated God’s love to me in a special way.

The first happened while the Charis team was at a healing service in the beautiful town of Harrogate. Arceli Abernathy was asked to teach. She received a word of knowledge that the Holy Spirit wanted bones to be healed. She noticed a young woman with crutches and a splint boot get up to leave. Arceli called out to her, “Jesus wants to heal you today, sister.” Although reluctant, she agreed to let Arceli pray for her.

She had a right foot injury where a ligament had never healed, and her foot was visibly deformed. Before anyone could say a word, Arceli undid the boot splint and took the crutches from her. She commanded her to walk in Jesus’ name. In front of the whole church, the young woman’s foot became straight. The congregation broke out in revival, and everyone came running to the front to receive healing. It was as if the ceiling had opened and miracles were being showered on God’s people.

The second great demonstration was a private one, for an individual: God healed and saved an eighty-six-year-old man named Gordon in the city of Walsall. He was hunched over and pushing a walker, so we asked if we could pray for his legs. Gordon couldn’t hear well, and he shouted back and pointed that it was his knees. I was overwhelmed by a sense of God’s love and care for him. I knew that the Lord had sent us there to prepare him for his future.

After we laid hands on him, Gordon was walking quite easily. But he still couldn’t hear well enough to repeat a salvation prayer. I put my hands on his ears and commanded him, in Jesus’ name, to be able to hear. When we shouted to see if he could hear us, he was pretty startled at how loud it was. We all laughed.

I felt so happy that Gordon could hear and that he had asked Jesus into his life. I ask the Holy Spirit to remind me of him often. When we are all in heaven, I’m going to go looking for Gordon. I know I’ll see him there.

If this post blessed you in a special way, please leave a comment below!

Monday
Sep122016

El Pípila—A Lesson on Prayer

As I was thinking about my prayer life, I remembered the story of El Pípila.

The drum of war resounded throughout the land. It was 1810, and Mexico was fighting for its independence from Spain. Insurgent troops were threatening to take over the city of Guanajuato. Several Spanish troops and loyalist leaders had barricaded themselves in the old grain storage building, the Alhóndiga de Granaditas. Tall walls and big wooden doors made it a good fortress for the loyalists.

To break into this building, the insurgents decided to burn down the eastern door. Juan José Martínez—a local miner renowned for his physical strength—was chosen for the task. He was known as El Pípila. It is said that he tied a large, flat stone to his back to protect himself from the bullets and made his way through the enemy’s fire to get to the door. Once there, he set the door on fire, and as it burned to the ground, the insurgent troops marched right in and took the spoil that was inside the building.

At times I’ve felt like “El Pípila” in my prayer life. Praying for others has felt like a heavy load on my back. What I should have identified as simply a burden to intercede turned into a false responsibility for the salvation, spiritual growth, and safety of the people around me. I’d mistakenly thought that if I didn’t carry this load on my back, the Enemy would win. Can
you relate?

Weariness can set in if, after praying for healing or financial provision for a long time, you don’t see the desired results, or if you engage in spiritual warfare but your problem only gets worse. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re not connecting spiritually in your prayer time. The truth is, when we think we’re praying, sometimes we’re actually doing religious works to obtain favor from God. But God has a better way to pray!

Andrew’s teaching helped me see that God wants us to be believers, not heroes in our own strength.

In his book A Better Way to Pray, Andrew says, “Prayer is communion and fellowship with God. It’s saying, ‘Father, I love You’ and hearing Him answer, ‘I love you too!’ It’s listening to Him in your heart and feeling His pleasure as you spend time with Him. If you did that, you wouldn’t have to spend much time asking for things because they’d just supernaturally show up” (p. 105).

Andrew has also said, “Two thousand years ago, Jesus purchased everything that you [or your loved ones] will ever need, so the New Testament person comes and stands in the finished work of Christ. You aren’t trying to get Christ to finish His work. He’s already done it” (brackets added).

This is liberating! Realize that asking for things is not the purpose of prayer. Change your focus to use prayer to love God and fellowship with Him—abide in the light of His glory and grace. Drop that heavy load from your back. Free yourself to worship God, and the fire of His Spirit will burn down the door to the Enemy’s camp so you can walk right in and take the spoil!

In his teaching A Better Way to Pray, Andrew shares principles that will improve your prayer life and help you experience the freedom and joy that come only through knowing God in spirit and in truth. You can order this teaching as a CD or DVD series as well as a book (English or Spanish) or a study guide. Your prayer life will never be
the same!

Please leave a comment below if this has blessed you!