Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be. Anyone who is emotionally involved – frustrated, brokenhearted, maybe even angry – about the way things are in light of the way they believe things could be, is a candidate for a vision. Visions form in the hearts of those who are dissatisfied with the status quo.

There is always a moral element to vision. Vision carries with it a sense of conviction. Anyone with a vision will tell you this is not merely something that could be done. This is something that should be done. This is something that must happen. It is this element that catapults men and women out of the realm of passive concern and into action. It is the moral element that gives a vision a sense of urgency.

Vision is a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be. ..Vision is a preferred future. A destination. Vision always stands in contrast to the world as it is. Vision demands change. It implies movement. But a vision requires someone to champion the cause….For vision to become a reality, someone must put his or her neck on the line. Vision requires visionaries, people who have allowed their minds and hearts to wander outside the artificial boundaries imposed by the world as it is. A vision requires an individual who has the courage to act on an idea.

Andy Stanley

Saturday, February 13, 2010

An Example of Scriptural Affirmative Prayer

L. Dwight Turner

Although we have published a good bit of material on how to construct and utilize positive biblical declarations or affirmative prayers, from time to time readers ask that we publish more of these prayers on line. In reponse to these requests, the following is an affirmative prayer, based on the passage of scripture from 2 Peter 1: 3-7. First, the scripture reads:

His divine power has given us everything need for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.

For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.

(New Living Translation)

The affirmation based on this passage of scripture is:

I am a child of the Living God;
His divine power has provided all I need
To live a life of godly excellence.

I receive and accept God’s great promises,
So I may participate in his divine nature.

• In Christ I am a new creation, filled with faith and goodness.
• In Christ I am a new creation, filled with goodness and knowledge.
• In Christ I am a new creation, filled with knowledge and self-control.
• In Christ I am a new creation, filled with self-control and patient endurance.
• In Christ I am a new creation, filled with patient endurance and godliness.
• In Christ I am a new creation, filled with godliness and mutual affection.
• In Christ I am a new creation, filled with mutual affection and love.

In Jesus most holy name, Amen.

Suggested use: Pray the first part of the affirmation daily, and also select on of the seven affirmative statements and use it for a day. In seven days, you will have prayed through the entire passage.

The value of this kind of prayer is magnified through three forces: positive intention, repetition, and faith. Have as your intention to bring about these positive changes in your life; after the first week, select on of the seven affirmative statements and pray it at least three times a day, preferably on arising, at lunch time, and before going to sleep. As the Master instructed us and as Peter tells us, have faith (even as small as a mustard seed) that God has already provided this blessing for you and you are, by praying in an affirmative manner in good faith, bringing that desired biblical quality into physical manifestation in your life.

Done with faith and consistency, this prayer will change your life.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Why I'm A Christian Optimist

L.D. Turner

I am often asked why I believe so strongly that Christians should be among the world’s most ardent optimists. I normally respond by saying that it is, more than anything else, due to the nature and the character of the God I worship. Most folks leave it at that. On occasion, however, an inquirer might want a bit more detail.

The reasons that I have adopted Christian optimism as my foundational philosophy of life are too many to mention in any short conversation and certainly within the framework of this article. Suffice it to say that once I began to take my walk with Christ seriously and put into practice as best I could a sincere desire to live according to his teachings, the Holy Spirit gradually revealed to me why optimism was the Christian’s inherent approach to life.

As I began to explore scripture through this frame of reference, it is as if the Bible became a living organism, consistently revealing its truths in relation to the nature and character of God. These revelations of God’s love, his faithfulness, and his integrity brought about a positive response in my being and this response flowered into an optimistic approach to life. Over time I came to understand that the optimal way to live is as a Christian optimist. Even our language reflects this reality as optimal and optimism have the same prefix and the same root.

As I said earlier, the confines of this article does not allow for a detailed list of the reasons why I am a Christian optimist. I do, however, want to list a few of the reasons below. Should you desire a more in depth study of the subject, I suggest that you study the Bible, focusing of the nature and character of the Father as revealed in scripture in general and in the persons of Christ and the Holy Spirit in particular.

I am a Christian optimist because:

The Biblical God is a God of love. Further, he loves me.

The God of Scripture loves me with a proactive love, not a passive, indifferent, and conditional type of love. The Bible reveals that God loves me enough to send his only Son to die for me so that I might have life to the fullest and, on top of that, have life eternally.

The God of the Bible further exhibits his proactive love by pursuing me. He chased me down when I ran from him. Consistently acting as the “Hound of Heaven,” the God I worship continues to come and find me when I have strayed from the sheepfold and, wonder of wonders, loves me still.

If ever there was a prodigal on this earth, it is I. Still, my God not only accepts me back after I wander here and there, he comes out on the path to meet me and, in spite of my faithlessness, he celebrates my return. Even though I am undeserving of his love and his grace, he gives it freely.

My God is a God of mercy, not justice. I shudder to think what life would be if I got what I actually deserve.

The Biblical God gave up a part of himself so that I might be forgiven; and he sent another part of himself so that I might live the kind of life he wants me to live. I am optimistic because I am forgiven and I am empowered.

God allows me to partake of his divine nature.

The Christian God has already blessed me with all that I need to live a holy life and has further blessed me by indwelling me with the power to make that life manifest on a daily basis.

The Biblical God has placed within me the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

he God I worship has made me a New Creation and has promised that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My God has said that he has prepared even greater things for me in the next world.

The God revealed in Scripture has told me that Christ will, indeed, come again.

Obviously, I could go on and on here but by now I hope you get the picture. As a Christian I have every right to be an optimist. In fact, I could be nothing other than an optimist. Sure, life has problems and will always have problems. The Christian life is not a pleasure cruise. Far from it. Yet in spite of this, I am an optimist because I know that I have the power within me to handle any situation that may arise. God has promised me that he will never make me face more than I can handle.

I am a Christian optimist because he that is within me is greater than he who is in the world.

© L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Have Heard Lord

I Have Heard, Lord

Lord, I have heard your Holy Word and I have understood. You are the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. You never grow weak or weary and no one truly fathoms the depth of your understanding.

You give power to the weak and strength to the powerless. I trust you, Lord, and, according to your promise, I will find new strength and soar high on wings like eagles. I will run and not grow weary; I will walk and not faint.

Even more Lord, I am blessed because I know you have called me back from the ends of the earth and have said, “______________ you are my servant. I have chosen you and will not throw you away.” For this I am ever grateful my God and I am not afraid because I know you are with me. I have abundant courage because I know that you are my God. I draw my strength from you and know that you are always there to help me when I need you. I am more than blessed my God; you hold me up with your victorious right hand.

[from Isaiah 40:28-31; 41:9-10.]

(c)L.D. Turner 2010/ All Rights Reserved