Tag Archives: opinion

The Vacant Prayer Closet

I’d like to put something out there to all of you for discussion today. As the title suggests, it has to do with our prayer closet. Not the physical place we go to pray in private, but the practice of prayerful communion with the Lord himself. For the vast majority of Christians, the prayer closet remains a vacant place.

Today as I was sending an email reminder to our church that tomorrow evening is our monthly prayer meeting, I was struck by the discouraging reality of how few people ever come to a prayer meeting. This is not a phenomenon unique to our fellowship, but rather is more of a problem that continues to plague the modern church. And more importantly, I believe, prayerlessness is largely the reason for the ‘sensate’ lives lived by the majority of professing believers in the affluent West.

So, I must ask some questions, which I hope you will help me to answer.

1. Why wouldn’t a Christian, if s/he is truly that, want to pray and commune with the Lord and Savior of his/her soul?

2. Why wouldn’t a true believer find joy and look forward with excitement to the opportunity of locking arms with other brothers and sisters in Christ for a time of corporate prayer together, as we see with the early church in the book of Acts?

3. Is the lack of corporate prayer indicative of a lack of private prayer?

4. Is prayerlessness a sign of carnality, or is it a sign of something else?

5. Do you struggle with private prayer, corporate prayer, or both? If so, why do you think this is the case? If not, what are the reasons you enjoy participating and what would you say to those who do not share your experience?

6. Do you pray and attend prayer meetings because you want to be obedient to the Words of Jesus and the Apostles as they exhort us in the Scriptures, but nonetheless you do it reluctantly? And if so, what is your experience after you have participated? How would you encourage others who struggle to overcome the complacency or resistance of the flesh?

I’ve got many thoughts I would like to share on this, and I hope to encourage more prayer in all our lives, but the topic would become a very large post. Instead, I’ll break it up into segments. In the meantime, rather than ranting from my soap box, I prefer to know what uThink. Click on the ‘comment’ link below, and post your thoughts. Let’s discuss together this most-important topic.

Blessings in Christ to you today and throughout the week!

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Who do you say Jesus was, and why should it matter anyway?

Let’s face it, Jesus was not a peace activist. On the contrary, he brought division and conflict. This was not his intention, but it was inevitable. In Matthew 10:34 he said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

He didn’t mean he came to cause war, though many have fought them mistakenly in the name of Christ. Clearly, Jesus spoke metaphorically in the verse above. The very nature of his person and his PURPOSE in coming, is what would cut and divide, like a sword. His words were often sharp, and they cut to the heart, bringing pain and exposing the deeper issues of life. That is how truth is, is it not? As the saying goes, “The truth hurts.” Sometimes it cuts when we are trying to avoid it. But the truth about Jesus hurts even more, because it cuts in order to confront the problem of mankind, a problem most would rather pretend is not there. That problem is our sin and unwillingness to be accountable to God for our lives. Now, if my mentioning the word ‘sin’ has jolted you, then I rest my case. The truth hurts, and it even cuts.

What you think of Jesus will most definitely cut like a sword. Either it will cut you off from him, or it will cut you off from those who reject him. Make no mistake about it, the sword will cut and divide. The subject of Jesus simply arouses deep emotions in people. Even if you try to avoid the issue, you can’t. There is no ‘neutral’ ground. You either acknowledge who Jesus is and what he has done, or you don’t. To have no opinion at all about Jesus really is still an opinion. In essence it says, “I don’t think Jesus is important enough to warrant my time or energy to investigate.” Perhaps your view says that what one believes in life really doesn’t matter, as long as one is sincere. I’d like to talk about that view in future posts, and most certainly will bring it up. But for now, let’s get back to the words of Jesus.

In Matthew 16:13, Jesus asked a question to his disciples, “Who do people say that I, the son of man, am? To paraphrase, what are people saying about me? Who do they think I am? Do any have it right, that I am the promised messiah?

The disciples’ response in Matthew 16:14 is very interesting and revealing, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” First, notice how there were various views about Jesus. At that time, much like today, peoples’ opinions were at conflict with one another. And certainly they all could not have been true. On the contrary, according to Jesus (who had every right to correct false ideas pertaining to himself), all three of these particular ‘ideas’ were wrong. How do we know this? Well, the first obvious reason is that his name was not John or Elijah, but Jesus. And we also know that Jesus did not acknowledge the view that he was just another prophet. But the biggest clue comes to us from Jesus, who asked yet one more question in the next verse, Matthew 16:15, “But who do you say that I am?”

Do you notice how Jesus now makes the question very personal to the disciples? It was not enough to let others have opinions while they carried on with indifference. Settling for the fact that people are divided over the person of Jesus never relinquishes anyone from the need to take a position about him. The disciples had to make a decision for themselves. What did they think of Jesus?

Friend, this is the question we all need to answer. You don’t have to agree with my view, or anyone else’s for that matter, but you do have to agree with your own. What I mean here is that you owe it to yourself to at least have a view. One that is based on fact, and has been formed after careful, personal investigation. If what Jesus said and did is true, then he is the messiah and you need to make a decision as to what you will do with that information. If Jesus was a phony, or a loony, then none of it matters and you can just continue with life as before. But certainly, Jesus made some radical claims, into which we must at the very least investigate.

Notice how the apostle Peter answered the question in Matthew 16:16, “You are the Christ.” With this, Jesus rejoiced. He said in Matthew 16:17, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Did you notice that Jesus acknowledged Peter’s answer, as accurate? Therefore, Jesus claims to be the Christ, or messiah. In future posts, I’ll be sharing more about the messiahship of Jesus. In the mean time, think about and try to answer the question that Jesus asked. Answer it honestly. In spite of what others might be saying, who do you say Jesus is?

Though Jesus mentions the sword in the opening verse of this post, he also spoke of peace and promised it to his followers. But this peace had nothing to do with world peace from military ceasefires and everything to do with mankind and his creator. It is inherently dependent on one’s view of Jesus, for one must come to him for it.

Information Intravenously

Whether you like it or not, whether or not you have asked to be there or never even defined your position for yourself, rest assured that YOU occupy a seat somewhere in the marketplace of ideas. My desire here is for us all to discover where that seat is, and then to decide whether or not we really want to be sitting in it.

In spite of today’s bombardment of intravenously-fed information and media-driven morality, we need to stop accepting and promoting what seems most convenient before truly considering its validity or correctness. Too many of us have been taught to ingest but not to digest, or process, the information we receive. This is tantamount to an injection of opinions shot into our system so skillfully as to not feel the pinch. What’s worse is that we then allow it to run its course, circulate within us until it permeates our very thinking. This is tragic.

Folks, we need to ask questions about what we see and hear. Have you asked why public opinion says ‘this’ is right, or ‘that’ is wrong? Better still, who is the public? Do you know what drives certain political decisions? Do the terms ‘religious fanaticism’ or ‘fundamentalism’ strike fear or anger in you? Why? What are ‘hate crimes’? Do ‘love’ crimes exist? Why do ‘you’ exist? Are there any absolutes in our reality or is everything relative? These terms are served to us daily from various media and in various arenas, each time with a particular spin. If the spin is good enough, no one sees it coming.

But contemplating these and many other such topics may just wake us up enough to feel the pinch. If you have read this far on the site, it may be because you have already felt it, and perhaps recognize the need to understand and take YOUR position on issues that comprise the fabric of our society.

Remember, you are what you think!