Posted in Christianity, God, Gospel, hope, inspiration, Jesus, salvation

Authentic Prayer From James MacDonald

God’s Invitation

Each of the promises from God can usually be summarized in a word. Here’s the first one: Invitation. Look at Jeremiah 33:2, God Himself is giving the invitation: “Thus says the LORD,” which is God’s way of saying, “Jeremiah, take a memo.” This title, ”LORD,” is God’s personal, covenant name. That’s God making a covenant commitment to you. If you have turned from your sin and embraced Jesus Christ by faith for your forgiveness, God has made a covenant with you. He has said, “I have sworn by My own name” (see Hebrews 6:13-20). God has promised to do some things for you. Now it doesn’t matter what you’ve done because God has made some commitments regardless of your past. 

The enemy would say to us, “Because of what you did, it’s over with you and God.”

But God says, “I am the LORD. I have made a covenant with you.” Our relationship with God may look like simple exchange of affection between two parties, but the truth is we can’t keep up our end of things. We can’t match anything God does for us. But God does His part even when we fail to do ours. Paul captured how this works in 2 Timothy 2:11-13, “If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.” God has made a covenant with us and He will not deny Himself. This is an awesome promise. 

Prayer: Father, I quiet myself before You right now in awe and fear, knowing I desperately need Your constant help in the dying with You and living with You part of that promise. Thank You for revealing to us that You will never deny Yourself, despite our faithlessness. I’m living and believing that You’re holding on to me so much more than I am holding on to You! And for that, I am forever grateful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

2 Timothy 2:11‭-‬13 KJV

Posted in hope, inspiration, Jesus, salvation

Bible App Word Of The Day

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 KJV

Posted in Christianity, God, Gospel, healing, hope, inspiration, Jesus, salvation

Authentic Prayer From James MacDonald 

Moses’ Vertical Call

When I hear the name Moses, I picture a giant in faith with a long grey beard and weary eyes as he stands on a mountain with arms outstretched. I revere that vision of Moses, but I resonate more deeply with the Moses of early Exodus. Rash and aggressive, younger Moses tried to accomplish his calling in the flesh, ending quickly with a corpse buried in the sand. Forty years later God gave Moses a second chance but he seemed stuck on lesson one: “I can’t.” 

In Exodus 3, God appeared to Moses “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (v.2) that burned but was not consumed. In response to God’s call, Moses refused to be God’s messenger of deliverance, wallowing in his own inadequacy. I’ve done that too; have you?

Have you struggled to embrace what God wanted you to do and for a time refused to do it? I spent the first two years of college refusing to be a pastor, in fear I would lack the patience and the perseverance with people. I also resisted God about starting a church from scratch, as I feared I would end up preaching to twelve people around a card table. I understand Moses’ initial refusal to do a big job. But God pressed in as He does with all of us. In the end God’s greatest provision for Moses’ or my or your sense of inadequacy is simply and profoundly His presence with us. The answer to Moses’ persistent pattern of “I can’t” was not “Yes, you can, Moses” but “I can, I will, I AM.” 

Prayer: Father, I confess that my first instinct is to refuse Your call and even try to run away. I realize that I’m stuck sometimes in fearful, horizontal thinking and forget that You invite me to look at everything from Your vertical point of view. Help me remember that Your call always comes with whatever else I need to do and be what You ask of me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture Reference:

Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.  And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

Exodus 3:10‭-‬11 KJV

Posted in Christianity, God, Gospel, hope, inspiration, Jesus, salvation

Authentic Prayer With James MacDonald

Call to Me

The average person speaks 34,000 words a day. You talk a half a book every day! If we’re all talking a half a book a day, is there even a page of dialogue with God? When was the last time you gave half a chapter in a single day to the God who says, “Call to Me?” Notice the word call. That’s an invitation to intensity. God invites us not to whimper to Him. God is not, “Say something to Me.” 

“How do you want us to talk to You, God?” 

“I want you to call.” That’s an expression of urgency, intensity, and fervency. It’s an invitation to shameless and loud intimacy! God says, “Call to Me.” 

The implication of God’s invitation is that it allows us to call any time and all the time. The situation in which Jeremiah found himself when this invitation was issued holds a significant lesson for us. “The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time while he was shut up in the court of the guard” (v.1). That’s a way of saying he was under guard—in prison. In one way or another he was restricted. Based on parallel experiences, we can say we sometimes find ourselves in some kind of a prison. We can identify with being “shut up in the court of the guard.” 

We listen in as God says, “Hey, Jeremiah, how’s it going for you today?”

“Not great. Things are not looking up. What do you want me to do now?”

“Call to Me, son; call to Me.” 

Can you hear God extending that same standing invitation to you? “Call to Me, My child!” 

Prayer: Father, You knew where Jeremiah was and how he was feeling when this was written. You came to him. Thank You for all the times when I’ve been so consumed and distracted by my circumstances and You’ve “shown up” in some unexpected way that caught my attention. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture Reference:

Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,  Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name;  Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Jeremiah 33:1‭-‬3 KJV

Posted in celebration, Christianity, God, Gospel, healing, hope, inspiration, Jesus, salvation

Authentic Prayer From James MacDonald

Stirred Up to Pray

Paul gives us a term that really helps us describe the kind of prayer we’re going after—unceasing. Unceasing prayer brings the glory of God down. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says we are to “Pray without ceasing.” That doesn’t mean you’re not doing anything else. It means that just as you are always physically breathing in and out as you go about your day, you should always be spiritually in a conversation with God. Always talking: “Yes, Lord;” and “See that, Father?” and “Help me, God,” and always, always in an attitude of prayer. 

When it comes to prayer, God Himself is in the stirring-up business. He doesn’t do it for His own good but for our good. We need to pray unceasingly because it is immeasurably good for us! Let’s look closely at God’s move to stir up Jeremiah (and us) to prayer: “The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time while he was still shut in the court of the guard. Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it—the LORD is His name: ‘Call to Me, and I will answer and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known’” (Jeremiah 33:1-3). Within these verses are four distinct promises from God to Jeremiah related to prayer. Do you see them?

And when you do pray, ask God to bring the people and events into your life that will stir you up to pray even more. Stirring things are around us every moment, but we need the eyes and heart to see them.

Prayer: Father, continue to stir me toward a consistent attitude of prayer so that my sensitivity to immediate and momentary times for prayer is increased. Help me not only to pray without ceasing but to jump to special invitations to pray. Thank You for drawing near to me as I draw near to You! In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Scripture Reference:

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:23‭-‬25 KJV