Tag: open door

Steadfast prayer for ministry!

Scripture reading for March 10th:  Numbers 19-21, Colossians 4

Key Scriptures:  Colossians 4;2-6 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.  At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison–that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.  Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”  

Disciples of Jesus are called to a life of prayer.  Ministry doors are opened through prayer.  Boldness to preach comes through prayer and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  Clear Gospel presentation comes as a result of prayer.  Gracious speech and words spoken in season come through those who are connected to Jesus through a life of steadfast prayer.  Paul, in prison for preaching, encouraged prayer for his ministry efforts–not release from jail!

Numbers 21:16-18 “And from there they continued to Beer; that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, so that I may give them water.”  Then Israel sang this song:  “Spring up, O well! –Sing to it!–the well that the princes made, that the nobles of the people dug, with the scepter and with their staffs.”  

Faith Confession and prayer:  Lord, You alone are the source of all ministry, empowerment, fruitfulness, and open doors!  I pray with the Israelites of old:  “Spring up, O Well!”  Fill me with living water to boldly preach Your Word.

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Salted Speech!

Scripture reading for September 11th:  Proverbs 15-18, Colossians 4

Key Scriptures:  Colossians 4:2-6 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it, with thanksgiving.  At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison–that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.  Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”  

Believers are to be people of prayer.  Pastors and missionaries need prayer and ask for it.  Paul’s specific request was for open doors to preach God’s Word, the Gospel.  He asked for boldness and clarity of speech for himself and for those he was writing to.  Salt seasoning of speech is for all believers.

Proverbs 15:1-2 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.”  

Prayer:  Lord, I ask You for open doors for Your Word today.  May my speech be bold for you yet filled with wisdom and compassion, seasoned with salt by the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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We are the aroma of Christ!

Scripture reading for July 30th:  2nd Corinthians 2

Paul had a painful visit to the church sometime before he wrote this letter.  (2nd Corinthians 2:1-2)  Some of those in the church that should have been a source of joy to the Apostle, were instead a cause of distress!  He wrote to assure the church of his love.  “For I wrote to you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.”  This is a pastor’s heart for those he loves and the heart of Christ for His Bride!

Paul encouraged forgiveness by the church towards the member that had been disciplined earlier. (1st Corinthians 5:1-2)  This man was evidently repentant and needed the love and restoration to fellowship that he had lost earlier through his sin.  The exercise of discipline and the grace to restore are needed in a healthy church!

Paul explained that he did not peddle the word of God for profit like many of the false teachers.  He preached the Gospel with sincerity as one sent by God.  God used him and all who would respond to Christ’s call to be special messengers.  “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; and to the other, the fragrance of life.  And who is equal to such a task?”  (2nd Corinthians 2:14-16)  None of us is adequate in ourselves, but carry this fragrance of the knowledge of Christ through His grace and stand between the living and the dead!

 

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Open door for effective work!

Scripture reading for July 28th:  1st Corinthians 16

“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”  (1st Corinthians 16:2)   As Paul concluded his letter to this church he loved, he directed them in their manner of giving to help him in his ministry.  Paul asked them to set aside some money each Sunday and save it up for when he came.  This was to be in proportion to their income.  God did not want all they had, only what they could cheerfully give.  That way, no pressure would be felt from Paul for an offering when he was there.  We should give purposefully, not out of emotion or pressure.

Paul planned on visiting this church and wanted to stay for a while when he could come.  But for the present time, he felt the Lord’s direction to stay in Ephesus.  “But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.”  (1st Corinthians 16:8-9)   God opens doors for his ministers.  But this does not mean that there is no opposition!  In fact, opposition may be greatest where there are open doors!

Paul also stated that it was a door for ‘effective’ work.  Acts 18 describes how Paul was opposed by the Jews after testifying that Jesus was the Christ in the synagogue.  He shook his clothes out and went to the house of Justice where the ruler of the synagogue, Crispus, came and believed resulting in salvation to his entire household!  The opposition did not keep Paul from effective ministry as the Holy Spirit worked through the Gospel to draw families to Christ!

 

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Jesus comes knocking!

Scripture reading for December 12th: Revelation 3:7-22

The last of the seven letters Jesus dictated to John on Patmos was to the church at Laodicea.  Imagine being a part of this church, thinking that you knew and loved Jesus, and then hearing from your bishop that  He was actually outside your door knocking to gain entrance!

“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit  you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:14b-16)  Jesus called Himself three powerful names.  As the ‘Amen’, He had said ‘yes’ to God’s Word and made it available to us through His sacrifice.  He was the ultimate faithful ‘Witness’ of God’s goodness and mercy.  He was also the ultimate and final ‘Ruler’ of God’s creation.  From this unique position of authority, Jesus made a startling revelation to this church family:  they were ‘lukewarm’ in their love for Him!

Jesus looks carefully at the heart of each of His beloved followers.  He desires full and complete devotion!  He was fully and completely devoted to the Father’s will on our behalf.  2nd Chronicles 16:9 states that God’s eyes search the earth looking for those who are fully sold out to Him in order that He might show Himself strong on their behalf!

These believers were deceived about their spiritual state.  They were evidently blessed financially by the economy of Laodicea.  They had good jobs and were prosperous and well-supplied.  But  Jesus warned them of their spiritual poverty and nakedness.  They did not see the true condition of their hearts and in His love, Jesus called out to them.  He always rebukes those He loves and disciplines the children He wants to receive.  (Revelation 3:19)  (Hebrews 12:5-11)

“So be earnest, and repent.  Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:19b-20)  Repentance is a change of mind which results in a change of action.  Jesus knows our deeds and is looking for complete change.  Examine your own life today in light of these verses!  Hopefully, Jesus has already found an open door!

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