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A Plentiful Harvest© DS

Last week, through the scriptures, we learned that we should live our lives by the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are:

…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

It is important to remember that “Fruits are the shown qualities of our lives and not the deeds produced.”

Also, we were taught that “what we sow, we reap”. If we plant good, we harvest good, if evil, we reap evil. It is essential, crucial and vital that we are doing what we do with a pure heart, not for our glory but for God’s glory; this is the most important condition to have a good harvest.

Some more thoughts:

The fact that we are not saved by our works but by grace, it does not mean that it is not vital to have fruits in our lives. As we live by the Spirit – the Holy Spirit – the Spirit’s fruits should be produced eventually. It is a natural outcome.

My personal understanding is that I cannot truly, fully change my own self. What I can do is to make a decision that I need to improve, keep myself within the Word of God, study, meditate, pray, fast practice fellowship use practical tools, direct my thoughts and make the appropriate choices at each moment,. The truth is that it is the Holy Spirit who will change me in time or instantly according to God’s unfailing wisdom.  He has the powerhouse and as it is written in Zechariah 4v6: “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Hosea 10v12: “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unploughed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.”

It is us who need to break the ground! Nobody else can do it in our place. We take the decision and make the choices. As we crack the ground, the Lord moves us to the next level, without even us understand it. 

2Corinthians 9v6: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

We do know that what WE sow, WE reap. It is not what our spouse sows, what our Pastor or friend sow, it is not what the Devil sows; it is what WE sow! This is an action that we should have control on. It is under our own power/willingness/desire or call it whatever you like. Good gets good, evil gets evil, generosity gets generously, sin brings destruction, sparingly produce thinly results. Our job is to sow righteousness and the harvest will follow.

We spend a lot of energy trying to figure out what we will sow and how the harvest will be, when it will be. It is a planning/program mostly than something that comes out of our heart, as the Lord asks us to plough. When it comes from the heart, it is spontaneous and absolutely natural. We do not plan it; we do not look at the assumptions, at the red tapes of it, at the deadlines. It is not a program managing! We do not calculate how many “seeds” we planted and equal it to “so much” produce.  The picture is not such as “I gave so much to that person, I am expecting so much from him or her”.

When actions come from the heart, they are performed through the qualities of Holy Spirit, equal to qualities of our personality, equal to Fruits of the Spirit.

Once upon a time, an old lady, Martha, was taking small steps towards her house door. She lost her balance and off she went on the ground. A young lady, Katie, was just passing by and run close to the elder woman, helped her to stand up, checked whether she was ok, any pain, any injury and made sure that the old lady arrived safely inside her home. Martha and Katie never met again. Katie never wondered why Martha did not try to find her, thanked her, brought her a gift or invited her in a friendship. Katie reacted spontaneously out of her “good heart” as we say. The Fruits of the Spirit – the qualities of her personality – acted for her. She never calculated the harvest before the action or later on. This is the way that we should envisage each seed we place. We need to trust the Lord that He will provide the best harvest in our lives no matter from where, by whom, in which way, how much and when. We need to trust the Lord that He is just and fair. We need to trust the Lord that He knows the perfect time, the perfect place and the perfect path.

We need to trust the Holy Spirit that He will continue to reveal the Fruits in our lives, to guide us in each step and counsel us.

It looks as if Christians wait for the Lord to do all. He could! He is able and capable. But we ought to remind ourselves that we are here on earth for specific reasons:

  • To worship the Lord;
  • To be His ambassadors;
  • To do His Will;
  • To fulfil His purpose in our lives;
  • To be His servants and work for His Kingdom;
  • To trust Him FULLY AND IN ALL;

We exist to serve the Lord and not for the Lord to serve us!

Above all, remember that the Greatest Harvest is to take place in the coming future and it will be a Harvest that the Lord will crop!

Revelation 14v15

“Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”

Matthew 7v20

“Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

The Fruits of each person is the way to recognize who is who. I highlight that it is not our job to judge others. The recognition is useful so we separate the false prophets from the honest ones. We have always the right of our own choices. We can choose what, when and where we sow, in whose field we will get involved, whom we will listen to, how we walk the path ahead us. We cannot blame anybody else for anything we despise in us or in our lives; not even Satan! When Jesus Christ was sacrificed for us, He gave us the chance of choices and freedom!

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 Tulips  ,© DS 2010

 

(Republished)

Looking at the flowers (see photo) as they started blooming, their story comes to my mind. They were just seeds [tulips grown from seeds often need five to eight years of growth before plants are flowering size. Commercial growers harvest the bulbs in late summer and grade them into sizes; bulbs large enough to flower are sorted and sold, while smaller bulbs are sorted into sizes and replanted. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip#Cultivation)]. I am not sure whether they came from Germany or Holland but anyway, I bought them here in Northern Ireland and I did plant the bulbs sometime around October 2009. To summarise, they were seeds and grew up to flowering bulbs within 5-8 years – somewhere in the world; they travelled up to a Garden Centre of NI and somebody (me) just chose and planted the bulbs 6 months ago. A long trip isn’t it? A trip that is long in distance and time. Around three months ago, they started shooting their leaves, the weather was still cold or to say almost freezing. They continue growing and recently their flowers spurted in the middle of the leaves. They were so small but so firm and so green. I could not remember what colours they should be but I waited for the surprise. And here they are: long stems, straight, strong and so red! Notice the photo more: still one is to come!

Now, I can watch them every day from my kitchen window, admire them not only for their beauty but for the long trip they took. I do remind myself as I look at them how many of us have experienced those long trips of dreams, desires and survivals.

One thing comes to my heart: Savour the moment! Each moment is so unique. Everything changes each second and savouring the moment gives dignity and honour to that moment.

We read in the Book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and verses from 1 up to and 11:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

The point that I am trying to make is to bring the story of those tulips in parallel with our stories and the purpose in our lives. Each one of us was created by our Creator in a unique way and for a unique purpose. Like the tulips, we started as a seed and we are growing till we flourish and come to the fulfilment of our purpose, to stand firm, straight and colourful as they stand. Few days from now they will start dying as flowers but their seeds will go back to the soil and their bulbs will multiply, next spring more tulips will come to visit my garden!

It is not an easy trip that they had till now. They travelled long distances, they went through freezing winters and they spend long periods in dormant condition. But each period had its purpose even if the Tulips (us) could not understand it. Reading again this famous part of the Book of Ecclesiastes we can realize that life is full of different times, times that come in contradiction, times that are unpleasant, full of conflicts but all pass and the times of love, peace, harvesting come as well.

Nobody has promised that the journeys will be easy but looking towards the purpose, we can start breaking the big pictures in more detailed ones and understanding each time’s objective.

Who could know what was hiding down there inside the soil when the bulbs were still underneath? Who knew whether they had survived the wild freezing winds and the snow? And one day their first leaves appeared and spoke to me: “here we are”; and still who could imagine their beauty when they presented their flowers, their hiding gifts? And still here they are, an evidence of their existence.

When we savour the moment as IT IS  and cherish it in our heart even when we do not understand it, we still get the knowledge of it at the proper moment and we savour this new moment and finally all the purpose will unfold in front of our eyes step by step, moment by moment.

That’s why it is important to savour the moment. No moments go waste. They most likely seem as just a seed but in time and through more moments they will become beautiful flowers, beautiful deeds, dreams will take place, visions will be fulfilled.

As we take pleasure, appreciate, value each moment we open the door to new opportunities, opportunities which bring us in higher levels. When we are delight in small moments we will become qualified to the next promotion. If we discard the moment, please, do not expect any promotion. It is about appreciation and recognition.

By savouring the moment we do give value to its purpose and existence. We acknowledge that is a part of the whole journey.

Enjoy each moment of this day and savour them all! They will never be repeated the same way! They are unique as we are!

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(THIS POST WAS WRITTEN NOVEMBER 2012, IT IS A REPUBLISHING)

You would wonder how the only thing I need to say concerns James Bond. Probably I am triggered by the latest James Bond movie, which I have not yet watched; but trust me; I have not missed any of the previous ones!

What is it so extraordinary about James Bond? What does he represent in our life? He is the hero! He is the hero who we expect to save us, or perhaps the hero we hide inside us? It might be just a good entertaining story, well written, well said and well-directed.

I have to say that the last two movies disappointed me a little. We watch James having a human and emotional side – but this is not James Bond. Our hero is not about emotions but about perfection, neatness, elegance, precision, achieving the impossible for Queen and country! It is the impossibility that attracts us, I think. Otherwise we could watch a romantic or an existential movie of the great 20th century’s Italian or French directors.

There is only one James: the untouchable, the one who is always ironed and clean, the one who has no bureaucratic issues with his boss, contrarily everybody just admires him. This is the hero I need to see, this is the hero I want to be! I want to achieve the impossible! What about you?

I admit, in spite of everything, that a hero never becomes a hero by being unemotional. It is just that we, I, prefer to see him strong and in control. Or all the above might be just my imagination as I write this article in my warm bed in a nice hotel just outside the Dublin airport in Ireland, and just a few hours before I catch my plane to Africa (the article was written on 1st November 2012). It might be the strength I imagine that I need for the new adventures ahead, for the new decisions to be taken.

Nevertheless, my true James Bond is not the one of Ian Fleming! My true Hero is my Lord, my creator, my provider, my protector, the one who is always in control, always neat, trustworthy and who, for sure, achieves the impossible, brings light and truth, covers me throughout and gives me a vision higher than any MI6!

We have a hero inside us – we carry the Holy Spirit, we the believers!

So, let’s allow this Hero to lit, let’s show our Hero God and let’s be James Bonds for our Lord!

Let’s allow Him to work with us, so we can do all heroic acts – and not only – through Him!

Amen!

Love,

Dimitra

 

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – Any unauthorised broadcasting, public performance, copying or re-recording will constitute an infringement of copyright.

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“two seagulls  (Christians ???!!!)…in conflict! Looking at different directions…”, DS

It is a fact: Christians, we live not always in unity! We do not always dwell in peace between us! We are not real followers of Christ when it comes to the way we understand the Word of God and its application. Obviously, our problem does not remain within our community, as we are part of a whole  society and planet Earth. That’s why Mahatma Gandhi said the famous quote:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

I assume that Gandhi had read the Bible or maybe not. We know that he was not a believer. When we are not believers – that means, not guided by the Holy Spirit – our capability reaches up to just read the Bible but the word is not alive to us – if you know what I mean. Gandhi and so many others might have read the Bible but when it comes to application of its value, they need to see relevancy between the teachings of Christ and what Christian communities act upon. When they do not see words and acts to come together…so, they wonder! Mark Twain said that we may be the only Bible that somebody else reads. We carry a great responsibility!

I will repeat one of my favourite verses (yes, I know, you are tired to read it often in this blog! sorry…)

Ecclesiastes 1v9 

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

We discuss about our differences within the Christian Community as it it something new. It is not! It was happening since the beginning of the existence of the Church. We read – a lot – in the Bible of how the first Christians quarrelling between them.

Of course, through the History of the Church – a period of 2000 yrs – we learn of all divisions of the Body, the splits, the wars, the killings. All take place sadly…in the name of God. Not a God that is debated between different faiths but the same God who we, Christians, believe in and the only Lord of lords, God of gods and King of kings.

Let’s have a look of what was happening 2000 yrs ago in the so called first churches. We might learn something that we can apply today. We might learn to focus on our similarities as various parts of the same Body, than dwell into our differences.

We are a family. Families are related by blood. We are related through the Blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. It is true that we do not chose our family but we always try to find a way to stick together and keep supporting each other. It is the same with the Body of Christ.

Let’s have a look on some issues in the first Churches:

1Corinthians 3v3-5

“You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task.”

We can see that there was conflict, jealousy of who was better, more righteous, more productive, who was bringing more people to the Lord. It seems that there was a competition within the Body, trying to prove who is better! They have forgotten that it is the Lord who saves, the Lord who creates, the Lord who heals. They forgot that it is not by might or by power but by His Spirit, says the Lord!

2Corinthians 12v20-21

“For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.”

2Timothy 2v14-18

“Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and
who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away
from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.”

James 4v1

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”

Honesty, I wonder what else can be added on the above verses! We read about quarrels, jealously, anger, slander, gossip, wrong teachings, creation of doctrines out of the Word of God! Wow, it is overwhelming! Does this description reminds you our days?

Do you really wonder why Gandhi said what he said?

The most important to keep practising is:

Happy Moments – Praise God.
Difficult Moments – Seek God.
Quiet Moments – Worship God.
Painful Moments – Trust God.
Every Moment – Thank God.

IT IS ALL ABOUT HIM and not about our doctrines and our self – righteousness!

Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – Any unauthorised broadcasting, public performance, copying or re-recording will constitute an infringement of copyright.

 

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Through prayer light comes in our lives, © DS

 

 

Last week as we discussed on Prayer –Part A, we agreed that we will use – just for our discussions sake – the terminology of “Personal Prayer” and “Collective Prayer”.

We understood, through the Holy Spirit, that we pray our personal prayers in our closet as being just us and the Lord. We do also pray our collective prayers with our fellow believers in Church or any place of fellowship. It was nicely said that even when we participate in a collective prayer, still it is a prayer between our own self and the Lord.

Matthew 21v13

“It is written,” he said to them” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’ “

The above scene takes place in the area of the Temple, where different traders were selling their products. Jesus Christ overturned the tables of the money changers and the ones where doves were sold! The same incident is repeated at Mark 11v14 and John 2v14. At John’s Gospel except the money changers and dove vendors is added that people were selling cattle and sheep. In few words, the Temple was used as a supermarket!

It always amazed me that, in all Gospels, when this scene is described, traders of doves are mentioned. My thought runs to the fact that dove represents the Holy Spirit as we know from the scene where Jesus Christ was baptised. In my heart, I remind myself how important person is the Holy Spirit; imagine that only the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not forgiven among all sins!  The thought is mostly how much we do respect or not the Holy Spirit within the Church. What I want to say is that in my mind – not biblically supported – speaking all times about the doves is like telling me to respect the spirituality of the Church and not to trade the Spirit.

It was written that the Temple, the House of the Lord, is a house of prayer. The House of the Lord during the era of the Old Testament was the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, the House of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, is us. We are used to call the Church – building – the House of the Lord most likely out of tradition or understandable terminology. The scriptures, still, say something different:

1Corinthians 3v16-17

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”

2Corinthians 6v16

“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

We are the temple of God. Our body is the house of the Holy Spirit. The house of the Lord should be a place of prayer. It is so great to know that at each moment, each second, we can pray to our God, talk to Him, make petitions, pray for us and others and just pour our hearts out.

Prayer is an open line with God 24/7. In our modern terms we could say that we are “on line” at all times with our Lord, our Creator, our Provider, our Comforter. We can say anything and everything to Him, a friend and a listener 24/7!

Philippians 4v6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

He has invited us to speak to Him about every concern, anxiety, issue, problem, thought and need. We can freely present all to Him.

Additionally, I see that believers do not pray just to pray. Yet, it is not a bad idea to pray for just to pray. Just to talk, communicate, being thankful and praise the Lord. Our prayers should be a way to praise and worship the Lord. Do you remember in Part A of our discussion concerning the outlines of a prayer? Prayers prayed in the Bible include praise and worship, thanking and acknowledgment.

I understand that believers also pray as they wait results out of the prayer. As the Lord spoke and said that we should present our requests to Him, as he said that anything we ask in His name will be done, it is absolutely natural to expect answers on our prayers. Nothing selfish about it!

There are different schools of believers with regard to when, how and if prayers are answered. Some say that all prayers should be answered as exactly were prayed. Others say that it is up to the will of the Lord if answers will be answered or not. At last, a number of them believe that all prayers are answered but not necessarily they way we were expecting, which I think it is the same as the second school. It is interesting to meditate upon to various scriptures and come to an understanding, to conclude how the Spirit counsels us on this issue, in our Christian life than arguing among us!

The Lord has made some very important statements with reference to successful prayer, such as:

Matthew14v31

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 

The above-mentioned scripture corresponds with the amazing story of Peter and Jesus. The Lord was walking on the waters and called Peter. He, without thinking, spontaneously followed the Lord and as a result he started walking on the water (something naturally impossible). But lasted only as long he did not doubt. It was a fact, he was doing it but still he doubted it. Imagine! In my own eyes, faith is absolutely connected with doubt. Or we believe or not. It is a black white situation and there is no grey in it.

Let’s read carefully more scriptures, they speak by themselves!

Mark  11v23

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”

James 1v6

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

To me, it is very apparent that doubt should not exist in our prayers otherwise as we wave we cancel the prayer itself. We need to stand after we have done all. We need to remember that He is God! 

James 5v16

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

This scripture speaks for powerful and effective prayer. Powerful and effective prayers belong to the righteous men and women. It is up to us to study, to ask, to meditate and learn as we grow in our faith how to be righteous in the eyes of our Lord and to practice what we believe. Amen! 

 

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 Through prayer we become bigger than the circumstances that surrender us © DS

Members of the Christian community understand Prayer in different ways, creating rather few arguments in connection with how to pray, what to say, how to present it, in which position to pray, how a prayer can be effective, whether God answers prayers and so on. We will try to explore some of these aspects. Let’s start with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our Counsellor who teaches us all!

Matthew 6v5-7

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

Prayer is probably the most important action of our Christian Life. Prayer is not only asking, it is a way to communicate with our Lord, it is a way to be in His presence, to show our love to Him and to hear His voice. It is the moment that we go in front of Him and we lay everything on His feet, we completely surrender ourselves to Him. Prayer is not something that we should take light. The above-mentioned scripture says a lot to us.

How we should pray?

It is written that when we pray, not to be like the hypocrites. This is a heavy word to be said. It is the Lord who speaks in this scripture and describes in details the meaning of the hypocrite: s/he is somebody who prays in order to show off, to declare how a good believer is and how well performs the rituals. Yet, the heart is not pure. S/he does not come in the presence of the Lord with humility to seek Him. We should go into our closet and pray in secret. Does this mean that there is an error when we pray in open, together with other people in the church or when in fellowship? I do not think so. It is important to study our Bible as a whole, not just verse by verse, thus all to come together. The Bible is “written” by the Holy Spirit and no man. There is no lie in it; there is no contradiction or unclear issue. We might not understand all, yet, it barely stands for not clarity. Travelling from book to book we come across incidents where believers were praying together, shouting their prayers in the presence of others and proclaiming their prayers for others. Some examples:

Acts 12v5:

“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” 

Acts 12v12

“When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.”

Acts 16v25

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

Acts 21v5

“But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.”

Reading all above scriptures, we notice that believers were praying not in their own rooms necessarily. It says also that the Church was praying for Peter, so it was not a prayer in a secret way; everybody knew that this prayer was taken on. Looking at the bigger picture, I could say that there are moments that the Spirit guides us to pray alone, in our closet, without showing off and as well, there are moments that the fellow believers need to pray as one body. I would call them “personal” prayers and “collective” ones just for the sake of our discussion.

Q: Does it look to you that there is a contradiction? What do you understand?

If we continue reading the chapter 6 of Matthew, we are directed to a specific prayer, the one called “Lord’s Prayer”. We pray this prayer as it is and the truth is that it is a wonderful prayer. There are believers who do not pray this prayer all times, every day or during church services. Are they in error? If we take literary what Jesus Christ said, it seems as an instruction. Is it a command to pray this prayer exactly as it is or reflects a frame of how the outline of a prayer ought to be? The Lord’s Prayer starts with acknowledging that God is our Father and it is addressed to the Father – one of the three persons of the Trinity – and continues by praising Him; asking for His will to be done. It carries on with our physical needs requests, our spiritual needs, seeking protection from the enemy and concludes with praising Him by recognizing His Glory. An important part of this prayer is the subject of Forgiveness. It includes our forgiveness for others as also the request for our forgiveness from Him. We cannot be forgiven without forgiving others. Our prayer in this way becomes powerful.

It seems mostly as a guideline of our prayers. In fact, through the whole New Testament we are introduced in different kinds of prayers and Jesus Christ, himself, asked us to pray in His name, something that does not exist in the Lord’s Prayer. Did He change His mind since His teaching at Matthew, chapter 6? I do not think so! Let’s see few scriptures on this issue:

Philippians 4v6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

1Timothy 2v1

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone”

We can see that there are prayers, prayers of petition, prayer of intercession, yet in the Lord’s Prayer there is for example no intercession. Checking in the dictionary I found that synonyms of Prayer are: Invocation, meditation, contemplation, devotions, chant, petition, supplication, appeal, plea and request.

And in John 14v14:“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Ephesians 1/17-23, John 17 (whole chapter) and much more scriptures, give us some prayer samples. The common element among all those prayers is that they are directed to the Father and I add, as per John 14v14, they should be concluded in the name of Jesus Christ, as He taught us.

Alike all our Christian life, the important “ingredient” of our prayers, as it emerges through numerous verses, seems to be connected with our Heart! Read:

Jeremiah 29v11-13

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

In the course of previous posts – “Deeds and Fruits” –  it was clarified that the Lord looks in our hearts to discover the motivations of our deeds and accordingly he prepares the harvest. It is the same with our prayers. In Jeremiah – and not only – He promised to listen their prayers, the prayers that come from the heart, full of purity, repentance and acknowledging Who the Lord is.

One more scripture will make it even clearer:

James 4v3

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

____________To be continued_______________________

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“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”

-Voltaire

This is the last post on the subject of Relationships. We discussed few things, few tools and few understandings on Relationships. We explore attitudes that benefit the building of any relationship; we examine the meaning of relationship and its definition.
We conversed on “tricks” we can use to maintain relationships, to improve communication and be more honest and human with our relations at home, work or community.

During the ending, we focused to The Greatest Relationship and our Relationship with our fellow Christian Brothers and Sisters.

Today, we conclude with our attention on our Relationship as Christians with people who have no faith or different faith, people who walk completely different paths in life.

Re-reading Voltaire’s quote reminds me what the Lord said to us:

Luke 6v31

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

I believe that this value apply to all “others”, believers or not. We can read further in

Luke 6v32-36

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love
those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what
credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from
whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to
‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to
them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward
will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the
ungrateful and wicked.

If you wish keep reading, it speaks about justice and so many other values that apply to all, no matter their faith.

In the Christian Community, there is a lot of pride, arrogance and a sense of superiority. I have seen it again and again. I am sure that you have noticed it as well. I have accepted that it is there and it will be till the end of times. The reason of its existence is the lack of humility.

We, Christians, consider ourselves princes and princesses of God Almighty, His servants and His friends. We are
absolutely correct, He said so! Nevertheless, it is nowhere written that our high self-confidence will be an obstacle of being humble.

Who more self-confident than Jesus Christ Himself, God Himself! Yet, He never stopped being humble. We need to
learn from Him. He was firm and bold when it was needed but He never provoked the no believers. When they provoked Him or they just asked questions, then, He was answering. He was basically going on with His own business, trying to bring people in to salvation, spreading the good news and focusing to His ministry than to any body’s else job, work, envies or whatever.

We have a tendency to spread the news of what others believe, how others act or what is evil. We reach to the point to
try to control the world, to become the keepers of the Universe!

We are here to be peacemakers! We live to build bridges and not to demolish them. Having a civilized conversation with
an unbeliever without pushing or without trying to intervene or try to prove how right we are, is so beneficial. Before we speak, we need to listen to them, to listen actively and to try to understand through appropriate questions what they really say and mean.

There is no reason to try to stop them expressing themselves. At the end of the day, we want freedom to express ourselves …so we need to be just and fair.

Do you know the expression -The Greeks and the Barbarians? If fact, it is not an expression per se but it was actually
meant for anybody who was not Greek! I think that Wikipedia explains in a nice way (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarian):

Barbarian and Savage are pejorative terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized.
The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a “barbarian” may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, insensitive person.

The term originates in the ancient Greek civilization, meaning “anyone who is not Greek”, and thus was often used to refer to other civilized people, such as the people of the Persian Empire.  Comparable notions are found in non-European civilizations.”

I wish to believe that we have made progress since then and we do not separate people to Greeks and No-Greeks.

We serve a God of love, a God of peace, a God of justice and a God who is capable to be the keeper of the Universe by Himself!

We do not need to spread the news of what others do but to spread the news of the Gospel, the Good News independently of what happens in the world.

We need to remember the way that Voltaire expressed it and I repeat it:

“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”

Nobody is obliged to believe in what you believe, they have a choice and a mind of their own. Allow them the privilege to do so, so, you have the same privilege! Also, if you feel important to get busy and scrutinize what they do wrong, be fair and support them when society goes against them for not reason, just out of fear and lack of knowledge or political reasons. We do not need new “crusades”, we should have learnt from the past!

Personally, I have not time for criticizing, scrutinizing and judging other beliefs, philosophies or thoughts. In fact, when time permits, I try to learn out of them and try to understand what they understand. It is so much work to be done till the Lord returns and we need to focus on the important aspects.

Amen!

 

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