When You Pray For Others

When You Pray For Others

When you pray for others. Jesus taught his followers to show care and compassion to others, which includes praying for them. It was a radical teaching then and applies today as well. Jesus taught us how to pray for others in Luke 11:1-13 and how it benefits us too.

When you pray for others. It helps you look beyond yourself.

Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him. (ESV, Luke 11:5)

Thinking about, caring, and praying for others doesn’t come naturally. But Jesus regularly demonstrated it in his life and taught his followers to do the same. And when we do, our own problems seem less pressing as we see them from a different perspective.

Notice the man in the story asking his neighbor for bread had none in his house. Why? Did he neglect going to the store or lacked the money to buy it? Did his guest showed up unexpectedly? And wasn’t a midnight run to the neighbor inconvenient for him too? Regardless, he was on a mission to see to his guest’s needs.

But then, isn’t that how many of life’s difficulties happen? Unexpectedly? And in this particular story, Jesus seems to be saying prayer is your first, urgent response. Not your last.

When you pray for others. Pray with bold persistence.

I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. (ESV, Luke 11:8)

The Greek word for “impudence” is anaidĕia, which means shameless audacity, shameless boldness, and persistence. When praying for others, we are to ask boldly with selfless motives and trust God for his answer.

You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (ESV, James 4:2-3)

We don’t know how prayer works or the reasons for God’s answers. But we know Jesus prayed regularly and tells us to do the same. Boldly and persistently. In other words, nag God with a determined sense of urgency.

Consider Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before his arrest and crucifixion. He knew his mission as the Son of God was to sacrifice himself on the cross for our sins. And yet, he asked God to spare him from it. If the Father had said “yes” and spared Jesus, there would be no hope for us today.

Prayer blesses you too.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 

We often approach prayer as presenting our grocery list of wants to God. But it’s more than that. It connect us intimately with our Heavenly Father. To confess our sins, seek his will, and align our plans as participants in his divine plan. That’s why our prayers should reach beyond ourselves to a global level. Because the more you consider God’s world mission, the better you see your place in it.

Of course, it doesn’t mean our determined persistence eventually wears God down until he says “yes.” Prayer is one of the great mysteries of God we will never understand. He answers them according to His sovereign will, not ours. We pray because Jesus taught us to. Then trust God’s goodness and faithfulness to His promise. And share in the blessing when we see Him at work.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview. This blog is originally published here.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group??

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

A Study Of Colossians 4:12-14

A Study Of Colossians 4:12-14

A study of Colossians 4:12-14 affirms the importance of prayer, maturity and assurance in following God’s will, and loyal ministry workers.

A study of Colossians 4:12-14 affirms the importance of prayer

V.12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers…

Paul affirms Epaphras twice in this letter for his dedication to ministry. In 1:7 and again in V.12. Epaphras came to faith under Paul’s influence, then started the Colossian church and ministered in a pastoral role. He visited Paul in prison to express his concern about the false teaching that was negatively impacting the Colossians, and it prompted Paul’s letter to the church.

The Greek word for “struggling” is agōnizŏmai, which means to struggle, labor fervently, contend with an adversary. In other words, Epaphras was emotionally and spiritually invested in the Colossian church. And his prayers reflected the heart of a loving pastor fiercely battling spiritual forces on behalf of his flock.

A study of Colossians 4:12-14 affirms the importance of maturity and assurance in following God’s will.

That you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 

The Greek word for “mature” is tĕlĕiŏs, which means complete in mental and moral character. Not perfection, as in no sin. But it describes a disciple of Jesus who is growing and maturing in faith. The Greek word for “fully assured” is plērŏphŏrĕō, which means to carry out fully, completely assure, entirely accomplish, most surely believe, and make full proof of.

There’s a progression of thought in the word order–mature, fully assured, and will of God. As you grow in faith as a Christ-follower, you increase in knowledge and trust in God. This in turn, produces a greater sense of assurance in your understanding of God’s will.

However, in western Christianity, we tend to over emphasize God’s unknown will for each believer and ask: What is God’s will for my life? Although here, Paul may be speaking corporately. What was God’s will for the Colossian church?

Certainly, he had in mind the false teaching that was threatening the church. God’s will did not include false teaching in the church about Jesus Christ. But even considering God’s will for a church is limited. Instead, we should first ask, “What is God’s will for the world?”

A study of Colossians 4:12-14 affirms the importance of loyal ministry workers.

V.13 For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.

The Greek word for “worked” is pŏnŏs, which means to toil, hard labor, and anguish. In other words, Epaphras physically exerted himself to the point of perhaps, painful soreness. Because ministry has a physical component to it too. Programs are planned and organized. Curriculum material prepared. Facilities cleaned and set-up. And it all takes work. Although for Epaphras, it was obviously a labor of love. In addition, Laodicea and Hierapolis were neighboring cities that apparently, also had Christian churches. And Epaphras ministered there as well.

Paul mentions Luke with a tone of affection as the “beloved physician.” And again in Philemon 24 and in 2 Timothy 4:11 as Paul’s only companion. In Acts 27, it appears Luke traveled with Paul on his sea voyage to Rome and likely on other trips as well. We also know Luke was a Gentile who also authored the New Testament books of Luke and Acts.

Paul mentions Demas one more time in 2 Timothy 4:10 as a deserter in the middle of a missionary journey, “because he loved this world.” Indeed, a sad legacy to leave in scripture.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview. This blog is originally published here.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group??

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

When Jesus Walked On Water

When Jesus Walked On Water

When Jesus walked on water, he both frightened and amazed his disciples. The story is recorded in Matthew 14:33-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:16-24. Here are some lessons it teaches us today.

When Jesus walked on water. The storms of life can shake your faith and fill you with fear.

After feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus sent his disciples off in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee and he went off alone to pray. Later in the night, a storm arose and the disciples struggled in the boat against strong winds and waves. So Jesus walked out to them on the water.

Was this an impulsive, original idea by Jesus? Maybe not.

  • You alone stretched out the heavens and trampled on the waves of the sea. (ESV, Job 9:8)
  • Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? (ESV, Job 38:16)
  • Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. (ESV, Psalm 77:19)

These passages indicate Jesus had previous water walking experience, perhaps during creation, and this was just another casual sea stroll to demonstrate his divinity. Although when the disciples saw Jesus they thought he was a ghost and it frightened them even more. At least until Jesus spoke and they recognized his voice.

Isn’t this true for us? The storms we encounter in life shake our faith and cause fear? But notice, Jesus didn’t wait for the disciples to cry out for help. He saw their distress and went to their aid. It’s reassuring to know he takes the initiative on our behalf too.

When Jesus walked on water. Follow Jesus and you might get in over your head.

You have to love Peter. A guy who acts first and thinks later. He does at least recognize he can only walk on the water by Jesus’ power. And give him credit as the only disciple brave enough to get out of the boat. He does great at first while he focuses on Jesus. But then he begins to think about it. Second guess himself. Focus on his circumstances rather than Jesus. And begins to sink.

Although once again, Jesus grabs on and pulls him to the surface. And it wouldn’t be the last time Peter’s impulsive behavior led him into choppy waters. It’s a familiar story for us too. When difficult circumstances test our faith we tend to focus more on the circumstances than on Jesus. And may feel like we’re in over our heads.

But even when it feels like you are alone and abandoned, you’re not as David reminds us.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (ESV, Psalm 46:1)

In fact, God does HIs best work through us when we acknowledge our weakness and call on Him for strength. And when God demonstrates His power through our weakness, we are more likely to give Him the glory.

When Jesus walked on water. When you provide the faith, Jesus delivers the power.

Jesus chastised Peter for his little faith. But maybe with a smile? Because Peter demonstrated faith through his actions.

And this is exactly what Jesus’ half-brother talks about in James 2:14-26.

You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (ESV, James 2:18)

James isn’t saying to demonstrate good works to earn salvation. He’s telling Christ-followers now that you’re saved by grace through faith, you should demonstrate that faith by your actions.

Exactly what Peter is doing!

Of course, it wasn’t Peter’s first miracle rodeo with Jesus. He had just witnessed Jesus feed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Watched him command a lame man to pick up his bed and walk. Lazarus to wake up from the dead and come out of the tomb. And many others.

Yes, faith is important and Jesus said we only need faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain. And so too, is the importance of prayer. But the lesson in this story is the importance of remaining focused on Jesus. Because even as people of faith, the storms of life make that difficult.

But when Peter’s faith failed in the middle of the storm, he called out to Jesus who pulled him from the swirling waters. And we can trust God’s faithfulness. He will do the same for us.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group?

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

Sin According To The Bible (Part 1)

Sin According To The Bible (Part 1)

Sin according to the Bible. It’s an important Christian teaching. Why? Because after Jesus Christ, it’s one of the most important Christian doctrines. In fact, it’s the reason Jesus came to earth. And understanding what the Bible teaches about it is important for determining your eternal destination. So, it’s a big deal. Here’s are some things to know about sin.

Sin according to the Bible. It wasn’t always this way.

The Bible teaches we are born with sinful nature. Live our lives in its toxic environment like fish swimming in polluted water. And personally succumb to its influence. Yet, so often, we deny it for what it is. But instead, blame other things and people for what we intuitively know is wrong within our own hearts.

But it wasn’t that way in the beginning. In Genesis, God called his newly created world “good.” And he planted a garden for Adam and Eve to live in that provided for all their needs. It was unmarred. An ideal environment without pain, conflict, and suffering. And they could eat the fruit from any tree in the garden except one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Which is exactly what Adam and Eve did. With that first act of disobedience, sin entered the world. And everything changed.

Sin according to the Bible. What is sin anyway?

The essence of sin remains the same: disobedience to God. But that first, seemingly, small act of disobedience grew like a cancer into more serious forms. For example, Adam’s son, Cain committed the first capital offense by murdering his brother Abel, out of jealousy.

As mankind’s disobedience increased and took different forms, God provided the Ten Commandments through Moses to establish moral order. It was simple and to the point. It listed the basic things you should do to honor God and the ones you shouldn’t to get along with other people. Don’t lie, steal, murder, covet and commit adultery.

However, the list of sins expands greatly in the New Testament. And Jesus made it clear that sin is not limited to our actions. Many of them come out of our hearts and take place in our thoughts.

Today you can picture sin like an iceberg. One-third of your sin is above ground where it’s visible. But two-thirds is below the surface within your heart and mind where only God sees. That’s why God looks upon the heart. And the apostle Paul reminds us we are all guilty of sin.

Sin broke our relationship with God, one another, and our world.

The impact of that one act of disobedience was immediate and is recorded in Genesis chapter three. Adam and Eve immediately became self-conscious about their appearance, realized they were naked, and covered themselves. So it changed their relationship with one another.

Next they shamefully hid themselves from God as he walked through the garden. So, it also changed their relationship with Him. It even impacted their relationship with the environment and animals. The environment changed from hospitable to hostile and required hard work to survive. And their relationship with animals went from friendly to predatory.

Do you see the fallout from that one act of disobedience? Every sin can trace it back to the source. It is the singular focus on ME, MYSELF and I.

The worst part, however, is that sin separates us from God, not just in this life, but for eternity. Unless there’s a way to fix it.

Fortunately, right after God kicked Adam and Eve from the garden, he began working on a Plan B.

We’ll continue that discussion next week.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

Looking for a Bible Study for yourself or small group?

Check out Philippians Bible Study For Individuals and Groups.

Jesus Is The Source Of True Freedom

Jesus Is The Source Of True Freedom

Jesus is the source of true freedom. Although America is a land of political freedom, it’s home to many forms of oppression. According to estimates:

  • 15 million struggle with alcohol abuse
  • 23 million struggle with a drug addiction.
  • 40 million regularly visit porn sites

Plus there’s gambling, gaming, prescription drugs, sex trafficking and many other types of physical, emotional, and psychological bondage. But Jesus delivers us from it all.

Jesus is the source of true freedom. He delivers you from an oppressive lifestyle

Jesus sat by a well one day and when a Samaritan woman came to draw water in the afternoon, he asked her for a drink. Other women from the city did this chore together in the cool of morning. But she came alone in the heat of the day. Why? Jesus points out the reason during their conversation. A lifestyle choice that made her a social outcast.

There is probably more to the story because you get the impression that she is trapped by circumstances. But Jesus gains her attention with an offer of hope. If she knew who he was she would ask him for “living water.”

And his offer extends to us today. When you recognize Jesus for who he is and ask, he will satisfy your thirst for freedom from oppressive circumstances.

Jesus is the source of true freedom. He delivers you from mental, emotional, and psychological oppression

A man who was mentally tormented by demons presented himself to Jesus. Mentally deranged and incredibly strong, he was a danger to others and inflicted harm on himself. So he was homeless and ignored by society, left to fend for himself, and made his home among the tombs where he cut himself with sharp stones.

Someone must have told him about Jesus. Because in a moment of mental clarity, driven by hope, he runs to and falls at the feet of Jesus in an act of desperation. Jesus casts out the demons and the man regains a sound mind.

This is not to suggest that the mental illness we know today is all caused by demons. Or reject modern treatment methods that calls for medication and counseling. But it is to claim that the authority and power of God reigns supreme. He knows your heart, mind, and soul. And He is the absolute source of physical, mental, and spiritual wholeness.

Jesus delivers you from the oppression of sin

One day Jesus taught a crowd of people in a home. So crowded that four men who brought their paralyzed friend for Jesus to heal, cut a hole in the roof and let the man down on a bed. Amazed by their faith, Jesus healed the man. But first, he forgave his sins.

The religious leaders present were appalled by his declaration. Only God could forgive sin! But Jesus assured them he was God and could both heal the sick and forgive their sin. Which he did then and does now.

However, we must first recognize we’re sinners who are ruled by sin. Because sometimes we convince ourselves we’re really not so bad. But sin holds us captive and separates us from God. And we are only set free when we seek God’s forgiveness. Which he does with joy and celebration.

Jesus is the source of true freedom. He delivers you from eternal death

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he demonstrated God’s ultimate power over death itself. And he did so again when he rose from the dead three days after his crucifixion.

That’s why he calls himself “the resurrection and the life.” Death cannot hold him or those to whom he gives life.

But life is more than physical existence on earth. It is also spiritual and eternal. And you experience the abundance of it through Jesus. It’s more than a religion or philosophy of life. It is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

When Jesus said, “then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” he was talking about HIMSELF!

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.