Tag Archives: prayer

PRAYER OF JABEZ

10 Aug

Summary of the Sermon by Pastor Irwan Fransiskus, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 6 Aug 2017.

Prayer of Jabez

The prayer of Jabez teaches us how to depend on God and to call upon Him.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 – Jabez was more honourable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

Jabez’s mother gave birth to him in pain. She named her son “Jabez”, which means “pain.” Perhaps she led a painful life, so she decided to name her son “pain” literally. Jabez’s prayer is made up of four parts. First, Jabez asks God to bless him. Second, he asks God to enlarge his territory or increase his responsibility. Third, he prays that God will be with him and stay close. Lastly, Jabez asks that God keep him from harm so that he will be free from pain.

The Bible mentions that he was an honourable man because of his prayer.

1. Jabez asked God to bless him.
Jabez understood that the blessings of Abraham in Genesis 12:2 – ask the Lord to bless us to glorify Him. Jabez understood the purpose of God’s blessings. Jacob wrestled with an angel at the Jabbok river until he was blessed (Genesis 32:26).

Power, fame, wealth, beauty and health cannot satisfy us. We can learn from the life of famous people like Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Thierry Costa and Getulio Vargas. They did not find the meaning of life in their status, and these successful people ended up committing suicide.

2. Jabez prayed for God to enlarge his border so that God’s hands may be with Him.
Jabez understood the prayer of Moses in Exodus 33:15 “If Your presence do not go with us, do not bring us from here”.

If the Lord is with us, His favour is also with us. It is very important to stay close to God and rely on His continued support and guidance throughout our life.

3. Jabez asked God to keep Him from harm.
Jabez clearly knew and prayed specifically to the One who could protect him from evil and pain, 1 Chronicles 4:10 – Keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain. The Hebrew word for harm in this verse correlates with 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 – these are the examples of harm or “evil”.

How do we keep ourselves away from harm/evil? There are four examples of the word “harm/evil” in the Bible:

1. Idolatry – anything we love more than God is our idol.
It could be our hobby, our occupation or even the love of chasing money (Ecclesiastes 5:9-10, Ephesians 5:5).

2. Sexual immorality is a sin we must avoid.
We live in a world where society is experiencing moral degradation, where same sex marriage is legal in some countries. Genesis 49:2 records that Ruben slept with his stepmother (one of Jacob’s wives) and as a result Ruben was denied of his first-born birth right.

Lot and his daughters committed incest, and their two descendants from this relationship resulted in constant battles between the Israelites and the Moabites and Ammonites (Genesis 19:32).

3. Putting God to the test is to demand God to prove Himself to us in our own way.
Pastor Mark Wolford, from the US State of Virginia, was bitten by a rattle snake and was killed during a church service for putting God to test. He was well-known for handling dangerous snakes in a test of faith. We need to practise godly discernment by not doing dangerous acts to demonstrate God’s protection upon us. When we view God through our doubt and demand something of Him as a way of determining whether or not He can be trusted, we are in danger of testing God.

In the Bible, there are examples of both acceptable and unacceptable kinds of testing God. It is acceptable to “test” God concerning tithes and offerings (we give because we have faith in Him), for example, but unacceptable when the test is to demand something from God to prove Himself to us because we lack faith in Him.

4. Grumbling is a harmful attitude and it is evil in the sight of God. Proverbs 20:19 It is that faith-inspired action of obedience that God loves. As seen in the example of Israel’s journey out of Egypt, they developed a habit of grumbling.

How do we value the love of Christ in our life? God has given us everything, even His precious blood on the Cross (John 3:16). There is no greater love than the love of Christ. Jacqueline Kennedy’s love letter to the British Ambassador to the US, was sold in an auction for a price for USD$190,000. The Bible is God’s love letter to us, and is priceless. Our food is to do the will of God and to accomplish His work, John 4:34. Let us work out our salvation and work for food that endures to eternal life (John 6:27).

At the end of the prayer of Jabez, it is clear that God approved of this faithful prayer by granting it. It is also important to see that Jabez was passionate in his plea to God: "He cried out to the God of Israel." God wants to hear that we need Him through passionate prayer.

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WAITING UPON THE LORD

30 May

Summary of the Sermon by Pastor Mark Patterson, USA, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 28 May 2017.

WAITING UPON THE LORD

Pastor Mark travelled to the city of Banji, when he was a child accompanying his parents who were missionaries. In 1991, Dr Neal Patterson (Pastor Mark’s father) was a principal of Tung Lin Bible School in Singapore. While he was studying in Singapore, he decided to do a study on Kazakhstan as part of his thesis. In 1993, he and his family moved to Kazakhstan. They met a man from Sweden and they served God together in Kazakhstan for 11 years. Pastor Mark also helped to setup a Christian television channel in Taiwan to spread the Gospel in Taiwan.

We may never be rich in man’s eyes but we can be rich in culture. What we do is what makes us what we are. Everything we do is part of the preparation to do God’s work.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

The kiwi is a flightless bird although it has wings. The kiwi doesn’t need to fly as there are no natural predators until man brought in the predators. The kiwi’s wing muscles are not developed as it does not need to use it. As Christians when we don’t go through circumstances or challenges, our spiritual muscles would not grow. Growing through challenges in life helps our spiritual muscles grow, as we learn to trust and grow with God spiritually.

We live in an instant world. We want it now. We don’t want to save but we want something that is in trend now. We can Google it up for anything that we need to find out. Everything is within our reach. We don’t have time to contemplate. We need to avoid instant gratification. Many of us as believers want instant answers from God. God can respond in three ways:-
a. yes
b. no
c. wait

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Pastor Mark Patterson loves collecting stamps. He found something online recently for some mounts. As it fits to his plans of stamp collection, he purchased it. However, he needed to wait for two days. After two days, he went to check at his mailbox but there was nothing. After several days, he checked with his wife if she had received any parcel. His wife reminded him to check the front door and upon checking it was there! In fact the parcel had arrived but he failed to check near the front door as it was used mainly for guests. We are sometimes like that when we pray – we only expect God to response in a certain way and we fail to realise that God may respond in another way. God says yes, but we don’t claim it. We just leave it outside the front door. Our prayers go unfulfilled because we don’t ask.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelations 3:20)

God says yes but sometimes we need to wait. Sometimes our prayer is like online shopping. In Genesis 5 we read about Esau and Jacob. Esau had a nickname called Edom which means “red”. Jacob prepared lentils stew and as Esau saw it. Esau wanted it so badly that he was even willing to trade-in his blessings as the eldest son. Esau wanted quick gratification. What we want now seems more important than what we would get later. We should not live for the moment, but ask God what to do with the blessings that He has given us.

Waiting on the Lord is important so that we will mature as we do the will of God. Sometimes God will not give us what we want just yet as we may not be matured enough to handle it. Waiting for God’s timing is a process that builds our character to trust God.

Those who were with Jesus didn’t understand the purpose of Jesus. They want things to be answered now. The blessings are in our possession but we need to wait for it. We need to wait upon the promises of God. God has given us peace and joy and we need to act. Just like the parcel that had arrived, yet we failed to check it.

We need to be constantly reminded of our answered prayers. Have a prayer dairy so that you can check how God has answered your prayers. Don’t forget about what God has spoken to you about your prayers and let us learn to wait upon the Lord.

isaiah-40-311

 

HOLY SPIRIT

28 May

Summary of the Sermon by Senior Pastor Djohan Handojo, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 21 May 2017.

HOLY SPIRIT

We are entering into the week of Pentecost. When Jesus was on earth He was led by the Holy Spirit. Today we will learn about the ministry of Jesus in the various historical places in Israel, and its significance relating to the Holy Spirit.

1. Jordan River – Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
The Jordan River is a very fertile river. Naaman, a captain in the army of king of Aram was cured at the Jordan River. Many people, including Jesus, were baptised at that river. Jordan River talks about being filled with the Holy Spirit. In Romans 6:23, the Bible tells us that, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus obeyed God the Father and was baptised at the Jordan River. When He was baptised, the Heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

We become the legal sons and daughters of God as we are sealed with Jesus.

There are many symbols of the Holy Spirit. For example –
a. water – symbolizes cleansing and is needed by every living thing
b. fire – symbolizes light which is needed for life, purification
c. oil – symbolizes healing and anointing
d. wind – symbolizes God is omnipresent

2. Judean Desert – Led by the Holy Spirit
The world is a place of temptation. In today’s modern world, we are tempted in many ways, including entertainment, games and self-indulgences that turn us away from God. Don’t let the devil tempt us. We are sealed by Jesus and let us draw near to God and resist the devil. We need to control our minds so that we don’t live like the world. Jesus was tempted by the devil three times, but each time Jesus replied with the Word of God. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we go through our daily lives.

3. Nazareth – Empowered by the Holy Spirit
Jesus grew up in Nazareth and He was trained there. We need to raise our spiritual Nazarites (our children or spiritual children) and train them in the ways of God. Everyone who serves the Lord needs to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to learn to be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit and not depend on our own strength. We need to build an altar at our home to worship the Lord.

4. Capernaum – The Power of the Holy Spirit and Sharing the Good News
Capernaum was Jesus’ town and the centre of His activities in Galilee. It was the place where the Gospel was spread to many. Although many of the people were fishermen and farmers, yet the Gospel was received openly. The Holy Spirit will empower us to share the good news with people, even if we have difficulty sharing the Gospel. Trust and lean on the Holy Spirit as we share the good news to others.

5. Sea of Galilee – The Power of the Holy Spirit Brings Healing & Miracles
And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

We need to have radical obedience to the Holy Spirit in order to be equipped and anointed to do the will of God. When we obey the Holy Spirit, God can use us to bring healing and miracles to those who need it. The apostles of Jesus brought healing and miracles wherever they went as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Just like a fan which needs electricity to operate, healing and miracles need power from the Holy Spirit.

6. Upper Room Jerusalem – Wait Upon the Holy Spirit to Receive Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Some of us may not be baptised by the Holy Spirit and we need to be obedient to follow the Lord. The early disciples of Jesus obeyed Jesus to wait for the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem.

The Holy Spirit is a Person. Let us learn how to trust and lean upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we may shine for God and bring an impact to our families, communities, cities and the nation.

Christian dove

PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS

14 Nov

PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS

TODAY’S INSPIRATION

If we conduct a survey: the people from which circle has an intense time of prayer and scheduled? Maybe you will say it is of our brothers and sisters who are non-Christians because they pray five times a day. There may be an answer; it is ancestral religion because at certain hours they will drop whatever they are doing for praying.

My mother comes from a follower of religion, since a child I every day saw my mother in a certain hour in the evening always out of the house carrying two sticks of incense and upturned while praying. I believe it was done probably since she was a young age, I also believe that my mother did not understand exactly what she was doing. When I was in Jakarta, the transportation that I most often used was taxi and as a result, I often invited people to talk about life and what are life’s purposes. There was an opinion that they always give thanks because they believe that a fortune is already set up from above. There also people who do not seem too optimistic about the future so that they live their lives as it is as long as there is enough food to eat.

In both stories, the conclusion is: that my mother was praying because she got an understanding of heredity that if she did not perform prayers at certain hours it would not get fortune and maybe my mother did not know to whom she prayed. While in the taxi driver’s opinion, what he is doing is just a routine without meaning.

A prayer from the point of the Christian faith is a way of life to get along personally with God; that means we know God as personal, from Him comes everything. We know when we pray to God that in His presence is available answers to all of our problems and struggles. So when we pray, our prayers will not only contain list of demands, but it contains worship and high exaltation of praises to the Lord. And when our prayer and worship are pleasing to God then all what we need surely God will provide.

TODAY’S WORD: Romans 8:26-27, NKJV

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

TODAY’S VERSE TO REMEMBER:

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  (James 5:16)

TODAY’S ACTION:

When you pray, acknowledge the love of God to whom we pray, so that we do not have doubt about the love of God in our lives.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

True prayer is not a matter of place, time and circumstances, but it is a matter of knowing the true God.

[Taken from Today’s Word by Ps Djohan Handojo and Team]

James 5.16

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Morning: Hebrews 10:19-39

Night: Lamentation 3-5