RECOGNIZE WORLDLY THINKING AND BE FREE

Our world has many distractions that keep our focus away from the true source of life, peace, and love. We want to fill-up on all the world has to offer, and wonder why we feel empty, anxious, and lonely.

Rick Renner expressed the following belief. Before we received the life of Jesus Christ, we are dominated, manipulated, and mastered by the culture in which we live.1 For example, the news outlets shape our opinions; advertisers influence our desire for things we don’t need; movies and TV shows numb our moral conscience; and social media shapes our attitudes. You will think worldly thoughts when you immerse yourself in worldly activities and around worldly people. 1John 5:19 tells us “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one,” so be wise in how you spend your time and what you put into your mind. The Apostle Paul explains worldliness in his letter to the Ephesian believers. Meditate on each line of the following passage. Ephesians 2:1-3 state,

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked,

following the course of this world,

following the prince of the power of the air,

the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh,

carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and

were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Did you know an evil spirit works in those who disobey God? Someone told me the “prince of the power of the air” is the devil controlling what comes into our homes via the airwaves, referring to the Internet, TV, and radio. Satan uses any worldly device to wage war in your mind to allure you away from devotion to God. He first blinds your mind so you are not aware of his attractive temptations. In 2Corinthians 4:4, the Apostle Paul states, “In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds….” The god of this world is the devil as described in Revelations 12:9, which states, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” A person deceived and blinded by the devil will say they are fulfilled and satisfied with worldly activities. However, many people realize the despair and futility of this lifestyle and turn to Jesus Christ, which happened to me.

The following questions are tough, but an honest answer is necessary for you to have victory over the unseen battles with temptations to love worldliness more than God.

??- Do you dress in the latest fashions, act like the world, talk like the world, and be controlled by worldly activities, such as drinking, tattooing, gambling, video gaming, sexual immorality, etc.?

??-Do you put into your mind evil images of death and lust in the form of pornography, ungodly TV shows, magazines, books, and movies?

??-Do you often skip church to go to a sporting or recreational events?

??-Do your favorite activities distract you from reading and meditating on God’s Word, praying, or spending time with fellow believers?

You might be thinking two things right now: first, none of these questions mean I’m worldly; second, I can still do these things and still love God. Now imagine if you lost all your possessions, beauty, prestige, and successes, would you still love God and be thankful? Or what if your favorite team or activity disappeared, would you feel depressed and lost? Because of this pandemic, I miss doing many activities I use to do, which has caused me to evaluate my priorities. Is this pandemic causing you to become depressed or re-evaluate your priorities?

The Bible does not say doing or having enjoyable things is wrong? But when you love and value them more than God, this is loving the world. 1John 2:15-17 explains, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17) And the world is passing away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Why does God tell us not to love the world or the things in the world? Do you think God knew mankind would worship and serve what they can see and touch and what appeals to their pride and pleasures of their sinful nature? One of His Ten commandments found in Exodus 20 was not to worship or serve anything created by man because God is jealous. God created us and wants us to love and serve Him only.

Examples of the lust of the flesh in 1John 2:16 could be our appetites, cravings, and desires for alcohol, drugs, sugar products, over-eating, sexual immorality, gambling, and greediness. The lust of the eyes includes those things we specifically see and covet, which may spark our lustful desires and appetites. Examples are pornography or wanting what someone else has, such as possessions, achievements, and advantages. The boastful pride of life refers to anything that promotes or elevates a sense of independence from God.

Independent thinking causes us to believe we can do our own thing, live a self-serving life, and have it our way. For instance, the pride of life is anything giving you the right to boast and may include gaining possessions to show a certain status; gambling to hopefully win big; success to show you are someone, or wealth to be admired. All of these are passing away, then you will spend eternity with God or in hell. So, if you don’t want to be devoted to God while on the earth, then why should He want to let you in His heaven?

The Bible warns against being enslaved or taken captive by elementary principles or spirits of the world, Galatians 4:3 states, “In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.” Colossians 2:8 states, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” And, Colossians 2:20 states, “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations.” These Scripture passages tell us, we can be enslaved to the elementary principles of the world, but in Christ, we have died to these elemental allurements. Now, these worldly spirits do not control us anymore. Being aware of your thoughts will prevent you from being taken captive by the evil spirits of the world. Memorizing the truths in God’s Word will help you distinguish between elementary principles of the world and godly principles.

Reflections and Application:

How were you dominated, manipulated, and mastered by the culture of this world?

Further Study/Footnotes:

1. Renner, Rick, (2007), Dressed to kill. Published by Teach the Nations, Tulsa, OK

RELATED POSTS:

How To Overcome Legalism And Judgmentalism

What Controls Your Thoughts?

ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

Bondage to Unseen Controls

Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

Part 1: How to Achieve Genuine Goodness?

Why do people riot, cause trouble, and even kill people? What is good about destroying businesses and stealing their merchandise? So, what has happened to goodness? This post and the next will explore what goodness is and how to achieve it.  I have to admit, I only had a vague idea of what it meant to be good. I was challenged by what I found in my research. I hope you will be challenged too.

What does goodness mean? Which definition do you think describes goodness?

  • Obey instructions.
  • Be moral or virtuous by choosing the right actions and thinking and having a “good” character.
  • Be kind; generous; unselfish.
  • Have excellent quality, like good workmanship.

What does the Bible say about goodness?

Obey God’s instructions:

Deuteronomy 12:28Be careful to obey all these words … that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.  Also, read Jeremiah 42:6.

Turn away from evil: good is the opposite of evil:

To do evil is to cause harm or trouble. God, instead, wants us to pursue peace with all men (see Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14).  He also expects us to love one another, so when we do not love but are unkind, impatient, or destructive, we do evil (see 1Corinthians 13). 

1Peter 3:11let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.

Romans 12:21Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

1Thesalonians 5:15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. And, Proverbs 17:13If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.

Proverbs 11:27Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to him who searches for it. And, Proverbs 12:2A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of evil devices he condemns.

Isaiah 1:17learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Be humble and generous and ready to share with those in need:

1Timothy 6:17As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18) They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19) thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Titus 3:14And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

Hebrews 13:16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Rely on God’s goodness, not your own.

Most of us are born, grow-up, and die as selfish, self-centered sinners; wanting our needs met instead of loving and caring for other people. So, how can we achieve the standard of God’s goodness? Only through the power of the Holy Spirit as you humbly renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word. If you are uncertain that you have the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, then pray and ask God to forgive your sins and ask the Holy Spirit of Jesus to come into your heart. Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit to do good.  Act 10:38 states, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

How should good deeds benefit others?

The good deeds we do are from faith in Jesus and are like the good fruit on a tree or vine (see Matthew 7:15-20). In John 15:5, Jesus states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

James 2:15-18If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17) So also, faith, if it does not have (good) works, is dead being by itself. 18)  But someone will say, you have faith, and I have (good) works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith out of my works.

1John 3:17-18But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18) Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Galatians 6:10So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith

Luke 6:33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

Hebrews 10:24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.

Matthew 5:16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

You can love your enemies and do good to those who hate you through the power of the Holy Spirit in you. And, God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil, and so can we through His goodness. 

Luke 6:35But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Luke 6:27— “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

We receive God’s goodness when we fear Him and take refuge when trouble comes:

Psalm 31:19Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!

King Solomon said at the end of his life in Ecclesiastes 3:12I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live.

Conclusion

I asked at the beginning of this post, what definition described goodness. The answer is all the above. When I began this post, I did not know much about goodness.  I learned it is good to obey God and do what is right, to share, and help others in need. One word of caution, your perception of good works can be a source of legalism and judgmentalism. To learn more, read my post called How To Overcome Legalism And Judgmentalism.  Doing good also raises another controversy.  Some people believe that being a good person and doing good works gets you to heaven.  The Bible says we are saved by grace and believing in the Son of God.  I write in my post called What Is Required?, we also need to do the will of our Father in heaven, which is to obey God’s instructions to do good works because of our faith. Those who riot and destroy are following their evil nature.  We all need the power of the Holy Spirit through believing in Jesus Christ to be genuinely good.

Do you obey God’s instructions in the Bible?

Do you sacrificially help others in need and share what you have with them?

Do you avoid evil and do good to others, even if they hate you?

All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

How To Overcome Legalism And Judgmentalism

Have you experienced legalism? Why are some church people legalistic and judgmental? Legalism began as a guideline created by church leadership to help the people in their congregations avoid worldliness. But the guidelines became a source of judgmentalism and conflict instead because of differing opinions of what is worldly. Those who thought they were sanctified and held to the do’s and don’ts looked down on those who did not hold the same convictions. The judgmental attitude offended a lot of people who then did not want anything to do with the church. Love must eclipse convictions.

Romans 14:1-6 explains how to handle differing convictions. Though the conflict is about food, it can apply to anything not specifically defined as sin.

1) As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions (also, see 2Timothy 2:14 and 23).

2) One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.

3) Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

4) Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 

5) One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

6) The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

How do judgmental people make you feel? Are you guilty of being judgmental? The key thought in these verses is that what is honoring to God for one person may not be honoring to God for another person. We are not to judge other people’s actions based on our convictions. What if a believer causes another believer to stumble and fall away from their devotion to God? God does not want us to cause anyone to stumble, so we should be respectful of the convictions of others. Romans 14:13 and 21 state, “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 21) It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” So, if watching PG-13 movies causes your brother to stumble, then out of love, don’t watch them. This can be applied to all worldly activities that do not glorify evil or draw you away from godliness.

Everything we do should be done in love1 and Romans 14:19 states, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and the things for building up one another.” Romans 13:8-10 also states, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9) For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10) Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” For example, the first four commandments explain how to love God and the next six commandments explain how to love people.

Exodus 20:3-17 – the 10 Commandments:

1. “You shall have no other gods before me. 

2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5) You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6) but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

3. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9) Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, 11) For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

5. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

6. “You shall not murder.

7. “You shall not commit adultery.

8. “You shall not steal.

9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Legalism began in the ancient world to help people know how to conduct themselves, so they don’t break the Ten Commandments. This is not a bad thing, except, it is a matter of interpretation. For example. Commandment four is to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” What you may believe this means may be different than what I believe. Who is right? What we do know is God took the seventh day to rest after six days of working, and He requires us to rest from all work too. Rest means to refresh oneself by sleeping, laying down, or relaxing. No guidelines were given, just rest for one day each week. Relaxing looks different for each person because relaxation is a matter of perspective. Some people find it soothing to cut grass. To them mowing the grass is not work but restful and rejuvenating. A long time ago, stores were not open on Sunday, and you learned you were not to shop on Sunday. So, does the Bible say it is a sin to shop on Sunday? Where did that belief come from and is it still the right belief? Romans 14:23 states, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he _(fill in the blank)_, because the ___ is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

Reflections and Application:

What is your experience with legalism? What rules were you taught to follow?

Do you have painful memories by someone who was legalistic and judged you? If yes, then read my short book to heal that memory so you can be free from that oppression. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

What do you think is honoring to God?

What does legalism cause people to do and what does the Bible say we should do?

Further Study/Footnotes:

1. Do things in love: 1Corinthians 16:14.

2. God’s rest: Hebrews 4:1-11.

This blog is from “Unseen Battles For Your Mind” by Joyce Holzman Hanscom (soon to be published).


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

What Is Required to Stand Before God?

What matters at the end of your life? What will God say to you when you stand before Him? What if God says, ‘I never knew you; depart from me.’ (Matt. 7:23)? The subject of this post is heavy, but necessary to ponder because we all will stand before Him someday, maybe today. Will He say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matt 25:21,23)?

Jesus said in His first sermon in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” What is the will of God? The will of God is to obey His instructions in the Bible and do what we know He has called us to do. God has called each of us to invest what He has given us into other people and not hide it.

Disclaimer: Our salvation and eternal destiny with God are not because of what we do or by our works but is by the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8-10 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Once we have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit seals us, and then we must work out our salvation by renewing our minds and doing His will.  See the blog posts called Forgiven and Saved? Now Renew Your Mind (Part One) and Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two).

What does God require of us?

Moses, the first leader of Israel, writes the requirements from God in Deuteronomy 10:12-13:

1. To fear God

2. To walk in all His ways

3. To love Him

4. To serve Him with all our heart and with all our soul

5. To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statues for OUR GOOD.

Micah 6:8 states, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

At the end of King Solomon’s life, he said in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14) For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. King Solomon did not always fear God or keep God’s commandments because he married foreign wives who led him to worship their foreign gods. In the end, King Solomon realized his error.

What does it mean to fear God? 

The Bible says in 2Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

The fear of God is to have deep respect, love, and awe that we demonstrate by doing good and obeying His instructions (Deuteronomy 6:2; 10:12; and 1 Samuel 12:14). The following verses describe how we are to fear God and the benefits:

Psalms 22:23 states ”You who fear the Lord, praise Him! …glorify Him, and stand in awe of Him, …”

1 Samuel 12:24 states, “Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.”

Proverbs 3:7-8 states, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8) It will be healing to your flesh (body) and refreshment to your bones.”

Proverbs 28:14 states, “Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity (the pit).”

Psalms 115:11 also states; “You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.”

Psalms 34:9 states, “Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack!

Fearing God is easy when you keep your mind focused on seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  See the blog post called How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? for more details.

How can I be assured God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

The Apostle Peter’s instructions in the next passage give us hope. Peter tells us to be diligent, which means to apply ourselves to accomplish something. Meditate on the words of 2Peter 1:3-11:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,

through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence,

by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises,

so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature,

having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (lusts).

5) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, virtue (moral excellence; right action and thinking; goodness of character), knowledge, self-control, steadfastness (perseverance), godliness, brotherly affection (kindness), and love. (my paraphrase)

8) For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9) For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

10) Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities, you will never fall.

11) For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A promise is an assurance we depend on. Verse 10 promises we will never fall if we practice faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, kindness, and love. Verse 11 promises we will enter the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ. Verse 8 promises if we have these qualities we will not be ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. How fantastic is this!

Conclusion:

Our life on earth is but a blink or breath compared to eternity (Ps. 144:4). So, being mindful of the day of judgment and what God will say to us, should be considered. In this post you learned that you are eternally secure when you do the will of God, fear Him, and diligently seek to add to your faith; moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

RELATED POSTS:

Self-control and Maturity

How Patience is a Sign of Maturity

Are you in control of your life?

Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory

Relationship and World Changing Kindness

Love From a Pure Heart


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayer topics are: the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus tells us “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  I wonder if I am seeking first the kingdom of God and what does that look like?   I found a variety of interpretations during my research that were interesting but not enlightening.  I would like to know what your thoughts are.

Context of This Verse

I began by looking at the context of this verse.  The context, history, and who the audience is helps us understand the meaning.  After Jesus is water baptized by John the Baptist, the Spirit of God leads Him into the wilderness to fast 40 days.  While in the wilderness, the devil tempted Him to sin, which He did not sin (see Hebrews 4:14-16).  After the 40 days, He begins His ministry.

Matthew 4:23 and 24, describe His audience, “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel (good news) of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.  24) So, his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them.  Seeing the big crowds following Him, he went up on a mountainside and preached His first sermon.  The picture with this post is of the mountains around the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus was ministering.

The Apostle Matthew records Jesus’s first sermon in Chapters 5-7. Luke also records His first sermon.  I wonder if this is the message He received from His Father while He was in the wilderness. Jesus begins His sermon with how they can be blessed (made happy).  He explains how they are the salt and light of the earth as they do good works (Matt. 5:16), and He taught how He came to fulfill the Law (see Romans 8:3-4). Other topics He preached in chapter five were anger, lust, divorce, oaths, retaliation, and loving your enemies.  Chapter six continues with giving to the needy, how to pray, fasting, investing in heaven, not being anxious.  Chapter seven continues with judging others, asking to receive, the golden rule, the fruit of false prophets, who will enter heaven, and obeying His words.

Matthew 6:25-34 is Jesus’s explanation why we should not be anxious but instead seek the kingdom of God first.  In Matthew 6:25 Jesus identifies the problem, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”  Then, Jesus explains the solution in verses 32-34, “For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” 33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  34) “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” The Apostle Paul told the Philippian church in Philippians 4:6-7: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication (requests) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Based on these verses, it is safe to say that being anxious is a natural reaction of our flesh when we don’t trust God.  Not trusting God is a sin because being anxious is not faith in God’s ability to help us.

Interpretation Based on Context

The key belief is our heavenly Father knows what we need, and He will give us what we need (see Philippians 4:19).  So, instead of being anxious about how to get our needs met, we are to seek Him and His righteousness.  Seek means to look for or inquire.  And the Greek translation for the kingdom is rule or reign.  So, if we seek (look for) the reign of God in our lives and seek to do what He says is right, then He promises to give us what we need.  James 4:7 says to “submit to God”  that is, be under God’s authority and yield by surrendering to the action, control, and power of God.  Romans10:3 states, “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

Romans 14:17 explains, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  Only as you renew your mind and submit to God, will you experience righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Your sinful flesh prevents you from entering the kingdom of God (see Galatians 5:19-21 and 1Corinthians 6:9-10).  So, you need to put off your sinful thoughts and put on His character of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. through the Holy Spirit.  Read my post on Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two).

During several tough times in my life, I submitted to God and His righteousness, and I can testify, that God does provide what we need.  One difficult time was enduring a nasty divorce and custody battle for two toddlers, and I had no job or a place to live.  God provided miraculously when I humbled myself and sought His help through prayer, praise, and pondering the scriptures. I do have to confess that I was going to walk away from my faith in God.  I was so angry at Him for not answering my prayers to heal my abusive marriage because I did not believe in divorce, that I told God I was going to not follow Him anymore.  He has only spoken to me a handful of times and this was one of those times.  He said, “What is the alternative?”  I thought about it, and I knew the devil would destroy me, and I probably would have committed suicide because I was so depressed.   Read my amazing testimony in Trust God to Keep His Promises.

To not be anxious, you must first submit all your concerns to God as you seek Him through prayer, praise, and pondering His promises.  Because I grew up in a dysfunctional home and married an abusive first-husband, I developed an anxiety disorder.  I share how God set me free in the blog post called  Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE.

Know for Certain You Will Enter The Kingdom Of God

John 3:3-8 Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

5) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 

6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 

7) Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 

8) The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 

The Bible uses the term “born again” two other places.  1Peter1:3-5 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven (the kingdom of God) for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  By believing that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the Spirit of God (see Romans 8:11), then His Spirit dwells in us, and we are born again by His Spirit.

      1Peter 1:22-25 states, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news (gospel) that was preached to you.”  God’s Word is living and abiding, which means when you internalize His truths, it creates life in your soul and will abide with you and help you to purify your soul as you obey its truth.

Painful memories and our sinful desires corrupt our hearts.  My short book on my website called, “Hope for Complete Healing,” was written to help you put off wrong thinking and sinful desires and put on right thinking and righteousness, so you can love with a pure heart.  Begin reading: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Part of seeking the kingdom of God is to seek for God to keep His promises.  In Ephesians 1:3, we learn that we are “blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”  Heavenly places are where God’s kingdom is.  And, when we are saved through grace by faith in Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2:6 states that God, “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  So, to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness is for our advantage and a matter of priority and position.

There is hope when we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, that God will provide what we need because He promised.

RELATED POSTS

Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?

WHY HEAL YOUR HEART AND PURIFY YOUR SOUL?

Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul

Psalm 91 Posts

All Scripture is from the ESV. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom.

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

Unanswered Prayer? Asking For God’s Will or Your Will?

I asked God to give me favor with my boss, so she wouldn’t lay me off.  Well, that didn’t happen.  Instead of getting depressed, I put my trust in God to direct my steps.  In the last post, I discussed the difference between faith and doubt.  Sometimes we may have faith to move mountains, but if it is not God’s will, then God will mercifully not grant our request. Jesus taught His disciples to pray for God’s will to be done.  Jesus prayed for His Father’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:39 states, “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’”

1John 5:14-16 states, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15) And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Reason six: Are you praying for God’s will or your own will?

What is God’s will?

Obeying God’s instructions in the Bible is His will. The list below describes several activities He wants us to do.

1.   Eliminate sin and perfect our character as we suffering the common temptations and troubles in the world. See James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-5. The Apostle Peter teaches us the following in 1Peter 4:1-2 & 6, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 6) For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.”

2.   Live in the Spirit as He does—the evidence we are living in the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (trustworthy), gentleness (meekness-humility), and self-control. See Galatians 5:16, 22-25.

3.   Be of sound judgment (wise) and sober in spirit (temperate; not self-indulgent but self-restrained). 1Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

4.   Remain fervent (showing a great warmth of feeling) in your love for others. See Proverbs 10:12; 1Peter 1:22; 1Peter 4:8.

5.   Be hospitable (friendly; entertaining of guests). See Hebrews 13:2; Romans 12:13; and 1Peter 4:9.

6.   Serve one another using the special gifts given to you. See Luke 16:1-2; 1Peter 4:10; and Romans 12:6.

7.   Rejoice always. See 1Thessalonians 5:16 and Philippians 4:4.

8.   Pray without ceasing. See 1Thessalonians 5:17 and Romans 12:12.

9.   Give thanks in everything. See 1Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 5:20; Ephesians 4:6 and 5:4; and Colossians 4:2.

10. Serve those you work for as though serving God. See Ephesians 6:5-8 and 1Peter 2:18.

11. Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution. See 1Peter 2:13-15 and Hebrews 13:17.

12. Do what is right and good for the benefit of others. Look up 1Peter 2:15; James 4:17; Revelations 22:11; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 13:16; and 3 John 1:11.

13. Abstain from sexual immorality. See 1Corinthians 6:15-20 and 1Thessalonians 4: 3-5, 7.

How do we know God’s will?

The only way to know God’s will is to meditate on His Words day and night. Joshua 1:8 states, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Also, read Psalm 1. Be careful of the wrong thinking that being prosperous and successful does not include temptations, trials, and suffering for Christ. Your number one goal or ambition for your life is to love and please God, love others, and to do His will to bring Him glory. We should not seek to be prosperous or successful by the world’s definition.

Know God’s perfect will by transforming unhealthy beliefs with the truths of God’s Word.  Romans 12:2 states, “… but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” When you do the will of God, you are not giving in to your sinful desires. Since sin begins in your mind, so you must transform your thinking to know the will of God. My book on my website explains how to do this.

I learned that when we pray for other people; we need to pray for God’s will, not our will.  God gave us a free will and He will not change our will.  We must be willing to change, and the other person we are praying for must be willing to change. So, when we don’t know how to pray for someone or what to pray, the Holy Spirit does, so pray in the Spirit. Romans 8:26-28, states, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27) And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” The Holy Spirit is in those who believe in Jesus Christ and received Him as their savior from eternal death and the wrath of God against sin. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and will intercede for us according to the will of God. And know that whatever happens, when we love God, He will use it for our good to accomplish His purpose.

Conclusion:

Understand what the Apostle John tells us in 1John 2:17, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” If you want to live in eternity with God when you die, you will need to do His will.  I pray for each person who reads this post, that you will seek to please God and to do His will. Know that each of us must stand before the judgement seat of God and give an account for what we have done while in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10).

RELATED POSTS:

Unanswered Prayer? Doubt or Faith.

Unanswered Prayer? Are You Presentable?

Unanswered Prayer? Are You Connected?

Unanswered Prayer? Why?

HOW TO PRAY USING THE LORD’S PRAYER AS A MODEL


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request. P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

Unanswered Prayer? Are You Presentable?

If you were to appear before a King or Ruler of a Nation and was given the chance to ask him or her to do something, how would you dress and act? Take a moment and visualize it. Would you be humbled, cleaned up, neat, polite, be conscious of customs as to not offend, etc.? Now, how is that different than coming before the King of the Universe in prayer? Do you think you can come before Him in pride and with an unrepentant, filthy heart and demand Him to give you what you want?

To continue the simple illustration of electricity. If prayer is the power cord and faith is the action of plugging into the power source, then hope is the expectation the power source will deliver results. So, if a lamp is plugged in but does not turn on, then you need to look for the reason. We know we are plugged into God through the Holy Spirit that dwells in us when we believe in Jesus Christ and received forgiveness of our sins.  One way our prayers are short-circuited is from unrepentant sin.

Reason Four: Unrepentant Sin short-circuits our prayers.

We cannot approach a Holy God in prayer if we are not presentable by having unrepented sin in our lives. What is sin? Sin is disobedience to the commands of God to love Him by keeping His commands and to love one another. Sin is knowing the right thing to do and not doing it (James 4:17). The following verses explain why prayers are not answered because of unrepentant sin.

Psalms 66:18 states, “If I regard wickedness (sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear;”

Isaiah 59:1,2 states, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.  2) But your iniquities (sin) have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear.

1Peter 3:12 also says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Psalms 34:14-18 explains, “Turn away from evil (to harm) and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15) The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16) The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17) When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18) The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Unrepentant sin includes not forgiving those who sinned against you because God instructs us to forgive. Matthew 5:23, 24, states, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” If you struggle forgiving those who did evil against you, please read my post on why we should forgive.

Wayne Jackson writes in “6 Reasons Why Some Prayers Are Never Answered” on ChristianCourier.com. “If you know that someone has a legitimate grievance against you, how can you sincerely approach God in prayer? Uncorrected problems with brethren are extremely detrimental. Peter certainly stressed that discordant home relationships could hinder prayers (1 Pet. 3:7). Where domestic wrangling and bitterness prevail, prayer can never be effective.” What do you think? Would you agree?

Solve the problem of sin through repentance and the work of Christ on the cross.

1John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Pastor Darryl Baker writes in “Abiding in the Word” blog, “Because of what Christ did in bearing our sin and the punishment of our sin, we no longer need to live fearful of approaching our heavenly Father. The sin that separated us is gone and we can now approach God with complete confidence. So as a believer we should daily draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. Don’t ever run from God, run to Him. If you have sinned repent, and run back to the Father for He awaits with arms open wide to help you get back on your feet again.” And he writes, “It is the devil who tries to keep us from approaching God by making us afraid to do so through wrong thoughts. Scripture teaches us to come boldly to the throne of grace, to find grace and help in our time of need. God is waiting to help us overcome whatever we may be dealing with in life, but we must draw near to Him to get that help. The door is open so don’t ever run from Him. He is your answer, He is your deliverer, He wants to help you; and most importantly He wants you to know Him.”  I agree, but we need to come before Him with a repentant and humble spirit.

Hebrews 4:14-16 states, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

15) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 

16) Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

James 4:6-8 says, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.‘ 7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8) Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

These verses are the theme verses for my county jail Bible study. I have the women memorize them. One inmate return because her roommate had alcohol in the apartment which meant she broke her probation. When she came to the Bible Study, she was excited to still be able to quote the verses above from memory. I encourage you to memorize Hebrews 4:14-16 and James 4:6-8.

Conclusion:

God is loving, merciful, gracious, and slow to anger. Psalm 103:8 states, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” He is also Holy and Just, Isaiah 5:16 states, “But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows Himself holy in righteousness.” So, we need to approach Him with humility and with repentance if we want him to hear our petitions.

RELATED POSTS

HOW TO PRAY USING THE LORD’S PRAYER AS A MODEL

Reasons One and Two Why Prayer Is Not Answered

Unanswered Prayer—Reason Three

How to Recognize and Eliminate Emotional Cancer


All verses are from the English Standard Bible.  If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom.

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S., experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

Unanswered Prayer? Are You Connected?

Nothing is more discouraging to our faith than not getting what we pray or hope for. The first two reasons why God may not give what you ask for are: 1) God may not be your Father and 2) what you are asking for may not be good.  Read Reasons One and Two Why Prayer Is Not Answered.

Now, if you know for certain that God is your Father, and you believe what you are asking for is good in the sight of God, then do you only pray when you are desperate or need something? Humans were created for relationships, and because we are made in the image of God, He wants a relationship with us.  A healthy relationship requires spending time and talking with those we love. So, the third reason why you may not be getting results from your prayers is not being in a  healthy relationship with God.

For example, if a lamp is not plugged into a power source the lamp will not produce light. By faith, you plug in a lamp to an outlet and expect the light to come on.  For the light to work, it needs to stay connected to the power source. Staying connected to God is to remain in Him. Are you always plugged into God and the Bible?

John 15:7 states, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

  1. Are you abiding in God and are His words abiding in you?

Abide means to remain in something. We abide in God in the same way we rest in a place of shelter. When we abide in God, we trust He will protect us and provide for us. We remain in the shelter of God by faith through continual prayer with thanksgiving, praise, and pondering Scriptural truths.

Psalm 91:1 states, “He who dwells in the shelter (secret place) of the Most High will abide (rest) in the shadow of the Almighty.” Read my post called Psalm 91:1–How to Dwell in Heaven Now to learn more about how to abide in heaven with God.

When we pray with thanksgiving, praising God, and ponder Scripture, then our spirit draws near to Him, and He promises to draw near to us (see James 4:8). Do you only pray to Him and read your Bible in church on Sunday morning and maybe Wednesday night service?  Do you say a nightly prayer after spending the day worrying or doing and thinking about worldly things?  If your answer is yes, then you are not abiding in God.

Do you abide in God’s Word by reading it every day and memorizing it? If not, resolve to begin today.  The mornings are the best time to read the Bible so you can meditate on what you read throughout the day.  Writing out a key verse and reviewing it throughout the day will help you stay connected to God. 2 John 1:9 states, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God (in their hearts). Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”

How do I know if I am abiding in God?

1John 3:18-24 explains how you know if you are abiding in God.

18) Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

19) By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;

20) for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

21) Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;

22) and whatever we ask we receive from him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

23) And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

24) Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this, we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

Do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ?  Do you want to know if you have resentment towards anyone, then read How to Recognize and Eliminate Emotional Cancer.

If you have a hard time loving people, then read Love From a Pure Heart to become free to love others well.  1Corinthians 13:13 states, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1John 3:17 explains, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees a brother (Christian brother or sister) in need, yet closes his heart against them, how does God’s love abide in him?

Conclusion

Prayer is our connection to the living, almighty God, and is the channel through which we receive power, wisdom, direction, and healing. Prayer is not only asking for things. You must remain in connection with God through continual prayer with thanksgiving by faith, reading His Word, and loving your brothers and sisters in Christ. If your heart does not condemn you then you have the confidence to be connected to God. Ephesians 3:11and 12 states, “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

RELATED POSTS:

How We Know God Will Never Forsake Us?

HOW TO PRAY USING THE LORD’S PRAYER AS A MODEL

If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom.

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

 

Unanswered Prayer? Why?

We all have experienced times when we ask, plead, and beg God for something and do not get what we asked for. I have requests that I am still waiting for God to give me. I struggle spiritually in the area of prayer and why my prayers sometimes do not get answered. Are you sometimes not sure how you should pray? Do you wonder why God does not answer your prayers?  I have decided to study what the Bible says about prayer and the reasons why our prayers may not be answered the way we want them to be.  So, over the next several posts, I will reveal what I discover in God’s Word.

The Bible says, He will give us what we ask for, so why doesn’t He? Matthew 7:7, 8 states, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8) For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Jesus spoke these words during His sermon on the mount.  Verses 7 and 8 are clarified in verse 11, where Jesus explains, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” This verse identifies two reasons why God does not give what we ask for in prayer.

Reason One: Is God your Father?

Some people say that everyone is a child of God because we are created in God’s image.  Being made in God’s image does not make us children of God. The next three verses explain who the children of God really are:

John 1:12 states, “But to all who did receive him (Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Did you receive the forgiveness of your sins and the Spirit of God to be your Lord and Savior and believe in Jesus’s name?

Romans 8:14,16 explains, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 16) The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Are you led by the Spirit of God and do what is pleasing to Him?

1 John 3:10 states, “By this, it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” Do you practice right thinking and behavior and do you love your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus?

If God is your Father, do you believe He would give you something He felt was not the best?  Did your earthly father give you everything you asked for? Did you become offended when you didn’t get what you asked for?  I did.  It is natural to be upset when we don’t get what we want.

Reason 2: Is your request something good?

James 1:17 tells us “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  You may want something you think is good, but you don’t know the potential problems. God knows all things, including the future, trust Him to give good things, not what you want. Isaiah 46:10 states, “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times to things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’”  God has a good purpose for you and your future. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” What you are asking for may not be part of the wonderful plan God has for you. So, you need to do what Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Do you trust the LORD with all your heart and are willing to accept the better plan He has for you, though you do not understand?  I do not understand why I am being laid off, but I trust God has a good purpose for me and will direct my steps.

You may say, but Psalm  37:4 and 5 say, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5) Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.”  Are you delighting in the Lord? What does it mean to delight in the Lord?  Have you committed your way to the LORD and submitted every part of your life to Him? Do you desire what God considers good?

God’s timetable is not the same as ours. He knows better than we do when the best time is for our prayers to be answered. Hebrews 6:13-15 explain how we may have to be patient and wait. In the story of Abraham, God promised a son to Abraham. But Abraham became impatient when Sarah didn‘t bear him a son, so she gave him her servant to be his wife. Abraham and Sarah tried to fulfill the promise of God themselves, and the result was disastrous. We are still seeing the disastrous results of their not trusting and waiting for God. Fifteen years after God promised them a son, He fulfilled the promise when He saw it was best.  Will you trust God today with the desires of your heart and wait for Him, even if it takes fifteen years or more?

From billygraham.org:

Q: Why doesn’t God seem to answer my prayers?

A: So often we are inclined to think that the only answer God can give our prayers is “yes.” We need to remember that “no” is an answer also. “No” is certainly an answer of love on the part of our Heavenly Father when we ask Him for things which are not really for our good or for His glory. God does not always give us what we want; He gives us what we need. Just as a good parent does not grant all the requests of his child, God does not answer every request in the way we desire.

Conclusion:

The first two reasons why our prayers may go unanswered are that God may not be your Father and what you are asking is not good to God, who gives the best. First, make sure God is your Father by believing in His Son and receive the forgiveness of your sins that was purchased by Jesus on the cross. Invite Jesus into your heart and to be Lord of your life.  Second, accept that no answer is also an answer, and God sometimes does not give us what we ask because it was not good in His sight.

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HOW TO PRAY USING THE LORD’S PRAYER AS A MODEL

HOW TO PRAY USING THE LORD’S PRAYER AS A MODEL

Do you struggle with how or what to pray? You are not alone, even the disciples struggled. Jesus prayed to His Father in heaven all the time and explained how to pray to the Father in Matthew chapter 6.  This prayer model, I think, came from a conference called “Praying for One Hour With Jesus” by Larry Lea. I have modified it to help me in my prayer time and I hope you find it helpful.  Prayer is essential for staying close to God and not drifting away into dangerous waters where all kinds of evil lurk to destroy you.  If you would like the PDF of this prayer format, then send me a request through my contact page.  In my next post, I will address some of the reasons why our prayers do not get answered.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

Begin your prayer time with worship and praise (Ps. 100:1-5) and remember that He is your Father through the blood of Jesus and believing in His name.  (Gal. 4:4-6; Rom. 8:14-17). Hallow (regard as holy) the names of God…

    1. Yahweh Tsidkenu – The Lord who is our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6)
    2. Yahweh M’Kaddesh – The Lord who is our Sanctifier (Ex. 31:13)
    3. Yahweh Shalom – The Lord who is our Peace (Judges 6:24)
    4. Yahweh Shammah – The Lord who is present with us (Ez. 48:35)
    5. Yahweh Jireh – The Lord who is our Provider (Gen. 22:13,14)
    6. Yahweh Nissi – The Lord who is our Banner or Victory (Ex. 17:8-15)
    7. Yahweh Rohi – The Lord who is our Shepherd (Psa. 23:1)
    8. Yahweh Rophe – The Lord who is our Healer (Ex. 15:26)

“Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Now set your priorities for the day, determining that God’s perfect Will be accomplished in the following areas. (1 John 5:14-15)

MON.   Your nation (political and judicial leaders) (1 Tim. 2:1-2)
TUES.   Your family (mate, children, other family members)
WED.   Your Church (Pastor Eph. 6:20, Col. 4:4; leadership, fellow saints)
THUR.  Missionaries
FRI.      You (Rom. 12:1-2)
SAT.     Your Neighbors and Friends

“Give us today our daily bread.”

Present your needs to God. (Notice that Jesus took for granted that we would pray daily!)  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6).  Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving (Col. 4:2).  Matthew 6:34 says “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

  “Forgive us our sins as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.”

Make sure nothing is impairing your relationship with the Father.

    1. Ask God to forgive you and cleanse you from all sin. (Matt. 18:23-35, 1 John 1:9)
    2. Forgive others who may have hurt or offended you. (Matt. 6:14,15)
    3. Prepare to be forgiving to all those who would offend you that day.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Seek to be “led by the Spirit” throughout the day.

    1. Pray and expect that God will lead you by the Spirit and His Word. (Rom. 8:14)
    2. Pray that forces beyond your control won’t lead you into trials (2 Peter 2:9)
    3. Pray for yourself and others to be delivered from evil temptations. (Luke 22:31-32)
    4. Put on the armor of God so that you might stand against the wiles of the evil one. (Eph. 6:11-18)

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power, and the glory forever.”

Affirm the absolute Lordship of Christ in all things.

    1. Confess the victory you have as a member of God’s kingdom. (Luke 12:32)
    2. Declare by faith that the power of God will be manifested that day. (Ps. 21:13)
    3. Proclaim God’s glory to cover the earth. (Ps. 72:19)

Another prayer model I use almost every day is Who God is — Daily A-C-T-S Prayers

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