Social Justice And The Gospel

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The Scripture

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. – (1 John 5:19 ESV)

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free..” – Luke 4:18 NIV

“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” – (Luke 5:32 NLT)

The Issue

The whole world lies under the power of the evil one. That’s why Jesus came; to set spiritual captives free. The perfect life, atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ makes all of this good news. In fact, its great news when we consider that all of us, except for Jesus, are broken and sinful people. No one has ever been able to deliver themselves from sin – we all need a Savior for that. We are not capable of doing enough good works in our own strength to earn our own salvation. Being born into this world without sin makes Jesus uniquely qualified to reconcile us to God.

This good news, that seems to be too good to be true, comes with a catch. Or better yet a commitment. This commitment starts on God’s end. By His divine power, he enables us to grow in godly character. He is committed to us. But, regardless of what some may say – Jesus requires total commitment to his Lordship to inherit his Kingdom. I’m not talking about works-based righteousness, actually, its grace empowered living. He clearly taught that those that lose their self-absorbed lives, will find true life in Him. In other words; you can’t receive his forgiveness, without acknowledging his Lordship. This is real and radical Gospel-centered Christianity.

As subjects of the Kingdom of God, we must take on his worldview – all of it. We are all terribly flawed people, but God is patient with us. Jesus is not asking for perfection from us, just a desire and willingness on our part to obey him.

I contend that both liberal and conservative politicians use the name of Jesus to manipulate sincere people to advance their political agendas. It’s imperative that we ask the Holy Spirit for discernment to know when we are being used for political purposes.

In the Bible, we see the social justice side of Jesus that demands justice for the poor and the oppressed. And the fact is; if you don’t see this side of God in the Scripture, you have been blinded by a materialistic and distorted view of God’s Kingdom.

On the other hand; if you champion the cause of social justice for the oppressed and overlook what the Bible teaches about sexuality and the taking of innocent life,(through abortion or any other unjust killing) you are living in deception also.

The fact is; taking up our crosses and following Jesus on the narrow road of life, involves suffering and self-denial.  Jesus bought us with the price of his own life. So, we don’t have the right to live sexually immoral lives anymore. Nor do we have the right to ignore the plight of those in poverty.

God is gracious to forgive us when we ask him, as long as we don’t justify the kind of behavior he forbids. We are now a new creation in Christ and are called to do good works. Which means we seek to alleviate the pain of humanity in the power of the Holy Spirit and live holy lives as we work in his name.

Prayer

Father, help us to be who we say we are – real Christians. In Jesus name, Amen.

A Call For Prophetic Intercessors

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I took this picture in a prayer chapel at a Church in Germany.

 

“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30 NASB)

“So, what is prophetic intercession, and how does it work? Prophetic intercession is the desire to pray, given by the Holy Spirit, for a person or situation about which the intercessor may have little information. Such prophetic prayers express God’s heart. The Holy Spirit nudges the intercessor to pray so that God can intervene in the situation. This matches the prayer Jesus taught His disciples: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NKJV). (1)

The Dilemma

We all live in a broken world full of broken people. From Donald Trump to Pope Frances, we are all broken from one degree to another. Porn stars, politicians,  and preachers all need to experience redemption and restoration. The fact is, the world needs the forgiveness that Jesus offers. We are living in a day that is so saturated with hatred, division, and partisan political agendas, it has become much more difficult to discern truth from falsehood. Many professing Christians have fallen into the trap of political correctness and have embraced the morals of ‘this present evil age.’  While many believers are just afraid to proclaim the truth in order not to seem offensive to our culture.

A Response

It’s time we seek to gain God’s heart and  perspective on current events and people. This can only be accomplished through biblically saturated individuals who engage God in prayer. God desires to intervene in our personal, national, and global situations, but his method of intervention usually requires us to engage him with our prayers, petitions and intercession. God is sovereign, and he doesn’t need our help, but he desires for us to co-labor with him to advance his Kingdom agenda. This requires an increased sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s promptings can easily be ignored, or go un-recognized because of the unnecessary mental clutter in our lives. If we will consistently ask God, he will give us his heart of compassion so that we can share his truth in love. And, we can become the kind of people who can discern what God is doing in the earth.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, would you grant your people repentance and help us to remove those things that hinder our ability to be led by your Spirit? Give us spiritual discernment about the times we are living in. And give us Your compassion for people, as we learn to labor in prayer on behalf of others. In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

 

(1)Goll, James W.. The Lifestyle of a Watchman: A 21-Day Journey to Becoming a Guardian in Prayer (p. 110). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Without The Cross Christmas Is Meaningless

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“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;” – (1 Corinthians 1:27 ESV)

Without the death, burial, resurrection, and the ascension of Jesus Christ to the right hand of God the Father, Christmas would have no meaning. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like Santa Claus and Christmas trees, and both giving and receiving gifts. My best memories of my childhood are of waking up on Christmas morning and opening my presents. I usually gathered with my two best friends later that morning, and was amazed at how similar the gifts we had received were. One year we all had army uniforms, and, another year, amazingly we all had received similar cowboy outfits (our mothers obviously conspired together.) I say all that to say; I’m not an Ebenezer Scrooge type person.

But, if Jesus was just another great teacher and moral leader, I don’t believe it would be appropriate for millions of people to celebrate his birth across the globe. I mean, why him? History is full of great political, religious, and military leaders who contributed greatly to the world and conquered Kingdoms.

The fact is Jesus Christ is a King. But his Kingdom is an invisible Kingdom that is not of this world. His miraculous birth was purposely offensive so that his life, ministry and mission, could only be attributed to God.  This whole story of God becoming a baby boy – and born of a virgin was scandalous! Not only that; Jesus was born in a manger in a dirty stable, not in a King’s palace. And, His ministry was both offensive to religious leaders and divisive to families. Jesus’ message is offensive to human wisdom and reasoning, He requires total allegiance and clearly states he’s the only way to heaven. That wasn’t a popular message 2000 years ago anymore than it is today. But, it sure sounds like God to me!

Have you figured out yet that God is not afraid of what men think? Very few people deny the historical existence of Jesus, and the fact that a man from a working class family was mentioned in ancient history books, is extraordinary. We can make up our own rules when it comes to celebrating Christmas and call it a holiday if we want to, but at the end of the day, it’s  really all about Immanuel (God with us.)

This Jesus of Nazareth whose birth we celebrate is not a mere man, or, just a lowly carpenter – he is the reigning King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He presently rules the earth and the entire universe in a position of supreme authority, at the right hand of God the Father.  Why should we bother celebrating Christmas if Jesus wasn’t born to die for the sins of the world?

Regardless of what some people think, Jesus is not some mythical Santa Claus figure. All of the fullness of God dwells in him and he’s coming back to rule the nations, and to reward the faithful, and  to punish the wicked. Believe me, He will make every wrong thing right in the age to come.

My prayer is that we would once again view Christmas with a child-like awe-inspiring faith and wonder in the gift of eternal life, Jesus Christ.

Without the Cross Christmas is meaningless.

When The World Will Be As One

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The United Nations, the European Union and the power elites behind the corporate and political leaders in the U.S reject the exclusive claims of Christianity. In fact they consider biblical Christianity as a major hinderance to achieving their goals. These power elites that desire for “the world to be as one” as the late John Lennon sang, have no use for Jesus Christ or those who adhere to his teachings.  There is a very real conspiracy by those who are seeking to enslave the masses in the name of globalization. Borders need to come down and only a hand full of Technocrats (in their view) need to rule the world. Patriotism will become a thing of the past as we focus on the redistribution of wealth and our global citizenship.

Many in the western world have fallen under the spell of these power elites and have abandoned their belief in traditional values. The entertainment industry, the news media and those in higher education have become the high priest and mouthpiece for this new order. They can’t think or speak independently because they are bought and paid for by the power elites behind the scenes who actually call the shots for the rest of us. This is a movement empowered by the spirit of antichrist.  And, the same voice that whispered in Eve’s ear that “you will be like God” still speaks to some of the most powerful people in the world today.

“We the people” become the ‘useful idiots’ of those who seek to enslave mankind as they promise us a socialistic false utopia. In the book of Genesis Chapter 11 God effectively stopped Nimrod’s globalization plan by confusing the language of what had been a people of one language. They were seeking to build a tower that would come to be known as Babel (which stands for confusion) and to make a name for themselves.

Scholars believe the tower under construction was a pyramid-shaped ziggurat. This tower allowed them to have access to various deities. These people were seeking an ungodly unity with evil motives apart from the God of the Bible.

Had God not scattered the human race and confused their language they would have achieved a one world government and a one world religion at that time. This dream is still alive today in the digital age as the internet has become a tool of Globalist to achieve what Nimrod couldn’t. The movers and shakers in high places today seek to enslave the masses using technology, economic, political power and counterfeit religion.  New Age spirituality which has been growing in America since the 1960’s is an important part of the globalist strategy to replace biblical morals with new age thinking.

We know that God is sovereign over all Nations and their leaders. But, Jesus taught his followers to “watch and pray. Prayer and the proclamation of the Gospel are how we participate with his purposes on the earth. Jesus ask a question: “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”(Luke 18:8) I believe he knows the answer to that question, and he was asking the question to challenge our faith. The question we must ask ourselves is; will we be faithful to the end?

 

 

 

 

Cultural Warfare

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For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us,what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? – (1 Peter 4:17)

 

The United States of America is currently on the brink of another Civil War. We’ve seen many skirmishes – everything from shots being fired at congressman to attempts of character assignation. While most think our fight is between the political far right against the far left – this battle is spiritual in nature.

Being a Republican isn’t proof you are on God’s side. And it isn’t enough to believe in the constitution and the rule of law, as important as those things are. Conservatives can often believe the right things while having hearts devoid of compassion and with little desire to actually follow Jesus. Those of us who name the name of Christ need to come in line with the Kingdom of God and all that means, and repent of our earthly perspectives.

The Bibles’ teachings on sexuality, marriage, and abortion are clear. But, as Evangelicals we must take a hard look at ourselves and ask; are we more patriotic or Kingdom minded? If you are pro-life and pro-marriage according to the biblical pattern you are presently considered to be an outsider in western culture. We are living in times of such spiritual apostasy, that to believe many of the teachings in the Bible is to be considered culturally irrelevant, in the western world.

For many decades spiritually dark forces in the U.S. have worked through the political, social, educational, entertainment, and religious spheres of society to deny the teachings of Christianity. Some who live in opposition to the morals of our current culture have lost their jobs while taking a stand for truth. If America stays on its current spiritual trajectory, we will look more like China than the America in the not so distance future.

I believe God is calling his people to prayer and living lives that honor his son, Jesus. We must remember that judgement begins in the house of God. So, pray for the renewal of the Church in America so that we can become effective witnesses to a post Christian America.

God Hears: Stuart McAlpine

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This is a lengthy  quote from Stuart McAlpine’s excellent new book, “Just Asking: Restoring The Soul Of Prayer.” It’s a must read for those who want to grow in prayer. I would go so far to say that it should be a required field manual for the tribulate times we live in.

“All spiritual life is premised on the fact that God has ears to hear. You bank on it. There is no salvation, no prayer, if God does not hear. Scripture affirms that God hears. “Does He who implanted the ear not hear?” (Psalm 94:9). “His ear is not dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1). The deliverance of a future great nation was couched in the words, “God heard the boy crying” (Genesis 16:11). The whole story of the Exodus-deliverance was determined by one thing: “God heard their groaning, and remembered His covenant” (Exodus 2:24).

There are other kinds of cries that God hears: “ the cries of the workers reached God’s ears” (James 5:4). The conviction and relief that God hears is presented in so many ways as people talk about the “ears of the Lord” (1 Samuel 8:21), or testify with relief that “my cry came into His ears” (Psalm 18:6). Consider the ways this is presented: “Give ear O Lord” (2 Kings 19:16); “You hear O Lord” (Psalm 10:17); “May your ear be attentive” (2 Chronicles 6:40); “Incline your ear to me” (Psalm

17:6); “Listen to my cry” (Psalm 5:2); “Bow down your ear” (Psalm 31:2); “His ears are open” (Psalm 34:15); “Give ear to my words … to my prayer … to my voice” (Psalm 5:1, 17:1, 141:1); “Hear me when I call” (Psalm 4:1); “Hear me in the day of trouble … hear me speedily” (Psalm 20:1, 143:7). Assurance is given, not only that God hears, but what God hears, like the “desire of the afflicted” (Psalm 10:17) or “the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). One of the most quoted chapters on intercession in scripture contains the most quoted verse: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

There is no healing if there is no hearing. If God’s hearing is impaired, we remain impaired. God’s opening words to Solomon in this communication are, “I have heard your prayer” (7:12). This is the clear response to what was asked earlier: “Hear the asking of your servants … when they pray toward this place” (6:21). Any lack of assurance about this, any about His loving attentiveness to us, will undermine our confidence and our will to ask. God’s hearing invites our asking. Our asking is heard.

Without that confidence we will not ask. And even if we do, and go through the motions, it will not be with any faith at all. Nowhere is the assurance of God’s hearing more emphatic than in the repeated testimony of Jesus Himself at Lazarus’ tomb: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew you always hear me” (John 11:42). Do we catch the confidence, joy, relief, gratitude and love in this statement? The grounds of Jesus’s confidence are the same grounds as ours: God hears when we ask.”

McAlpine, Stuart. Just Asking: Restoring the Soul of Prayer (Kindle Locations 1231-1252). WestBow Press. Kindle Edition.

 

 

Suffering And Intercession

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“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”  (II Corinthians 5:14 – 15 ESV)

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.  (Hebrews 7:25 ESV)

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4 ESV)

 

Often times we suffer because of bad choices we’ve made in life. And some of our pain is inflicted upon us as a result of satanic attack (see Job). While most of our hardships are just the result of living in a broken world.  God allows us to suffer to teach us to overcome in this “present evil age.” We normally learn to pray more consistently when we are facing adversity. God uses our pain to establish an intimate relationship with us, in times of deep need we tend to draw closer to the Father. God will “deliver us from evil” but not from a problem free life.

God brought his Kingdom to the earth through suffering. And suffering is an unavoidable part of living. Mary suffered ridicule and accusation during her supernatural pregnancy. She also suffered physically in giving birth to the Son of God. All suffering that is ordained by God is for the purpose of redemption and restoration. It is important as we walk this path of suffering in our broken world – not to waste our trials on self-pity.  We must let those hardships lead us to a place of intercession on behalf of others. All pain and suffering that God allows in our lives because of broken relationships, can be redeemed. Let us not waste our trials because God’s desire is to make us stronger as we learn to overcome adversity.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. – (1 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV)

The Holy Spirit comforts us during times of personal conflict so that we can comfort others during their time of need. Our own experience with God during trials qualifies us to minister to others.

Jesus calls us to die daily to ourselves so that we can look out for the interest of others. But our human tendency is to be self-focused. Jesus our high priest lives to make intercession for his children, at the right hand of God.  The fact that we are “in Christ” qualifies us to pray for each other, also.

We must fight the good fight of faith – not only for ourselves but for those God has put on our heart to pray for. Our job is to pray the Kingdom into the lives of families, individuals, and nations.  Some feel the call to “watch and pray” and to stand in the gap between God and humanity. God is willing to give prophetic insight to those who are open to his Spirit. Now is the time to act on the call and pray for the physically and spiritually broken people all around us.

The Fire OF God’s Love

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“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” – (2 Peter 3:10 ESV)

The fire of God’s love will one day burn up all the impurity on earth in a moment. Jesus’ return to the earth will be much more spectacular than some second-rate Christian movie. There is a debate between believers on how and when Jesus’ visible return to the earth will happen. But, at some future date, God is going to literally bring into existence a new Heaven and a new Earth. It’s important to remember that all of God’s present and future judgements are right and good. God’s motives are pure and holy as, “Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side.” – (Psalm 97:6-9) We can be confident in the fact that; He will ultimately remove all evil from the earth.

While world leaders and their economic, military and political unions seek to eradicate all signs of Christian influence in the west, we must remember that God will have the final say on the matter. We live in a spiritually dark culture that is filled with moral pollution with no end to the madness in sight. Our society is becoming a people who the Apostle Paul describes in Romans chapter one, as those that “…worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator…(Romans 1:25.) This is self-worship which is idolatry, and much of the western world has been given over to a “debased mind” as we allow our sin to rule us and not God. ( See Romans chapter 1)

The Scripture is clear that: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19) In reality there are only two Kingdoms – God’s and Satan’s. Each person on earth is either a member of the Kingdom of God, with Jesus as our King, or the Kingdom of Darkness which is aligned with the prince of darkness. As the days grow darker in the western world, followers of Jesus must “count the cost” of being rejected and persecuted for the sake of truth. Those of us who name the name of Christ, must learn to stand for righteousness without being mean-spirited or obnoxious. And we must always remember; that while we are called to share and live the Gospel, only the Holy Spirit can change human hearts. Prayer and personal holiness are vital in our quest to effectively reach our culture for Christ.

Jesus is calling those who are his to total allegiance.  He said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”(John 8:32.) And, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”(John 14:6)

 

Joy And Peace

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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” – Gal. 5:22 (ESV)

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” – Col. 3:15 (ESV)

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” – Colossians 1:9 ESV)

“Spiritual understanding primarily consists in this sense, or taste of the moral beauty of divine things.” –Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections

The biblical teaching on the fruit of the Spirit was meant to be experienced – not just studied. It’s important to pursue God until we experience joy. The Father desires to fill us with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Some well-intentioned Bible teachers warn us against subjective experiences. But, God created us in his image as emotional beings. And, if we are pursuing God with all our hearts, we should expect to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” I personally don’t fear subjective experiences – I trust God’s ability to lead me into all truth more than Satan’s  power to deceive me. We are called to live by faith and trust that feelings will follow.

Joy is a fruit of meditating on the Gospel. The Spirit uses the Word to cause our spiritual affections to be white-hot! The Gospel is good news that seems too good to be true – but it is! The fact God has granted me repentance and forgiven me of all my sins, overwhelms me. He takes my sin and gives me His righteousness. It’s called the great exchange. He poured out  his His grace and favor upon me, which is an unmerited gift.  His love is overwhelming and his salvation is free. We must acknowledge our sin and inability to change (without divine assistance) and offer ourselves to God. When we turn from our sin and trust Jesus – he will redeem us and restore us.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.
Joy is part of our inheritance.
Joy belongs to the children of God.
Joy can be experienced during really hard times.
Joy brings hope to the heart.

We have peace with God as the result of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. This peace overrides our rational minds – it’s beyond our understanding.  Jesus paid our sin debt and removed the barrier that kept us from God’s presence. “In your presence there is fullness of joy.”  

Peace comes from the presence of God.
Peace can be experienced as we experience the truth of God’s word.
Peace comes from the knowledge that we stand justified in God’s sight.
Peace is the result of our security in Jesus.

 

A Spirit – Controlled Imagination

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“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8  (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  – 2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)

“A purified and Spirit-controlled imagination is the sacred gift of seeing, the ability to peer beyond the veil. And gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal. – A. W. Tozer, Born After Midnight, page 92.

We all need illumination from the Holy Spirit to understand the deep truths of God’s Word. Christian spirituality is lived out through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, many of the Christians that I’ve talked with over the years have had very little understanding of what it means to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit. God created us with the capacity to communicate with him, Spirit to spirit. Our imaginations were meant to be God centered – and focused on things above, so that our thought life remains pure. When our minds are “thinking on things above” we tend to talk with God more.

Taking up our crosses to follow Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean selling everything we own and moving to a foreign land, to serve on the mission field. Taking up the cross requires a God – filled imagination. Those who start out believing, and ‘fall away’ from the faith, usually have never experienced the reality of God’s Presence. While the Reformed and various Evangelical groups have focused on knowledge of the Bible (which is good) we’ve often failed to teach people to expect the presence of God in their lives. And that God reveals himself to those who earnestly seek after him – through his Word and his Spirit.

The goal of theological study is to help us grow and enter into the fullness and knowledge of Christ. True spiritual transformation occurs when we are awed by the beauty of Jesus. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit become more than a concept in our lives when we learn to fellowship with God’s Spirit.  Jesus reveals the Father to us and the Spirit points us to Jesus. We must use our minds to focus on the fact that Jesus dwells in us by the Holy Spirit, and has made his power available to us. This relationship (if maintained) requires God’s grace, and some discipline on our part.

Spending time with God is worth the effort, but sadly many times we stop pursuing him before we have a spiritual breakthrough. It takes time in prayer and solitude to build a relationship with God, and that is difficult for most of us. It also requires us to walk out our faith daily with others who are pursuing God.

Prayer: Father help us to turn our thoughts continually towards you. Give use a desire to spend time with You in prayer. And teach us how to fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Amen