The Apple Of God's Eye

May 5, 2011

Ask, Seek, Knock – Say What?

Filed under: Prayer — melchia @ 9:55 pm
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One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Luke 11:9-10. There are here three different forms presented that have to do with prayer. It goes something like this:

” And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Persistence, perseverance and importunity are stressed  in the short breakdown of the three directives of Luke 11:9-10:

1.   Ask — this first word is the action (with the idea of present time). The Greek aiteo means “ask for, demand, as in asking for petition.” The promise is Greek didomi, the common word for “give.” “Ask and it will be given to you.”

2.   Seek — this second word means “result,” even though it may look like an action term.  The Greek zeteo means ” ‘seek, look for’ in order to find.” The corresponding result is expressed by Greek eurisko, literally meaning “find, discover, come upon,” and can also refer figuratively to “intellectual discovery based upon reflection, observation, examination, or investigation. Seek — leave no stone unturned — and you will find (what you look for – emphasis mine).”

3.  Knock — this word expresses the figure of seeking by knocking on a door until it is opened, just like Jesus’ parable of The Friend at Midnight. “Knock and the door will be opened to you.”

These three word pairs seem to show distinctions between them and appear as a good example of Hebrew synonymous parallelism. Each reinforces the other in the ways we are encouraged to think of our seeking from God — of petitions, of finding what eludes us, and of obtaining an audience. We are to pray without ceasing — shamelessly, if you will. In season and out of season, not flagging in our prayers until we receive the promise, or until God answers.

Jesus teaches a similar lesson in the Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8), where the parable is told “to show [his disciples] that they should always pray and not give up.” I don’t know about you, but I need this lesson of persistent, faithful, unstopping petition until the answer is received.

  • Ask with confidence and humility, but also with persistence and perseverance, stressed through pleading and petitioning.
  • Seek with care and application. This involves action on our part, diligently searching and examining the scriptures and laboring to understand the will of God. He desires that we back His true work on this earth, and so we seek God’s promises for us. Then, when physically seeking a job, we have to undergo due diligence in finding where the jobs are offered
  • Knock with earnestness and perseverance. Search the scriptures for God’s will that He answers the prayers of His people as a fundamental principle taught throughout the Bible (James 5:16; John 16:23). In  asking God to help us in find work, we have to do our part in looking for the job and getting to the interviews to have doors opened. In other words, we actively endeavor to obtain our needs.

Thus, all of those who obey the command will receive. Not a single one will be ignored or brushed aside. b. In the parable of the “Unjust Judge” Jesus stressed persistence, but he added, “Shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him…?” Luke 18:1-8

In other words, if an unjust judge would avenge a widow (whom he doesn’t care about) because of her persistence, surely God would avenge His own elect (those whom He has called and especially cares about) because of their persistence. That God answers the prayers of His people is a fundamental principle taught throughout the Bible. James 5:16; John 16:23

“For everyone who asks receives”

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May 2, 2010

Effective, Fervent Prayer: Deepening Our Relationship With God

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Praying is getting to know God because we communicate with Him. Christians should pray daily and as often as possible. Besides equipping ourselves with the armour of God, prayer is the essential element that keeps the armour strong. (Eph. 6:18)

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the great jewels of the Bible. Every verse has deep meaning and hows us how to pray effectively to have a life filled with the love, faith and power of God.

Tithe Your Time In Prayer

Luke 11:2-4 is what we commonly call the Lord’s prayer and shows how Jesus Christ gave His disciples lessons in effective prayer.

We should give God a tithe and offering of our time. There are 1440 minutes each day, which means 144 minutes each day to God – giving 48 minutes of prayer, meditation and study. Throw in an offering of 12 minutes, and we have 1 hour of each daily. A Christian needs 1 hour of prayer daily to win the battle against Satan, the world and himself. (more…)

April 25, 2010

Are You Praying Lustfully?

Filed under: Prayer — melchia @ 6:55 pm
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True Christians must never prioritize objects ahead of God or it will kill them spiritually. God says: “You lust and have not: you kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not”(Jam. 4:2).

The expression “desire to have” actually means to covet something. Simply put, this type of prayer is nothing less than lusting for or receiving something. It is on the level of getting, rather than giving.

James 4:5 tells us, “Do you think that the scriptures says in vain, the spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?” We have human nature that gets us to lust, but we either have God or this world – never both! Lust destroys the true Christian spiritually. It comes from the deceitful heart that is desperately wicked within each human being (Jer, 17:9).

Yes, God says to ask for what we desire, but these desires must not be selfish or harmful to us. If we simply ask for money, power or fame, then these can be injurious requests.

“You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts” (verse 3).

It’s pretty evident that this type of selfish prayer will not be answered and needs examination. When we ask “amiss,” we ask in an evil way, or in a selfish, wrongly focused prayer.

November 21, 2009

Emotional Maturity In Prayer

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How’s your prayer? Is it dead earnest and with rending of heart – in deepest, intense feeling? Don’t mistake this for thoughtless and uncontrolled emotion! This is full mental realization of purpose – of need – seeking God with all our strength and might.

Scripture shows that we can pray with superficial emotion, and not the type that God wants (Hos. 7:14). The Moffat version translates this scripture as: “They never put their hearts into their prayers.” This shows that we can have three states of emotional immaturity in our prayer:

1. Emotion getting the better of us.
2. Suffocating emotion because we’re afraid to feel anything.
3. Being indifferent altogether.

    God desires proper, thought driven and earnest emotion. He doesn’t want fake emotions or those tied up somewhere else. And He certainly does not appreciate  prayer with absolutely no personality or enthusiasm.

    Prayers need to be intense – surrendered and yielded to the great God in tears. The example was set for us in Heb. 5:7 where it says: “In the days of His flesh Christ offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears…” These were His prayers throughout His human life – not just on his last night!

    God has graciously granted, by astonishing miracles, many answers to earnest prayers. But Christians will receive no real answer except this prayer comes earnestly from the heart. Casual, routine prayers will never get through to God – will receive no answer – because they are a matter of duty and without feeling or emotion. Perhaps this makes plain the reason why most people have never received an answer in their prayers.

    Prayers need to have motivation and emotional connection to God.  Passion, enthusiasm and compassion for others  must fill prayer life. This is the prayer of the emotionally grown-up. It expresses gratitude and joy for self, mercy and sympathy for others, reverence and adoration in worship of God.

    “Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.” – C. H. Spurgeon. You can feel the emotional connection and expression in prayer if your whole being is in touch with God. Even though the emotion is a physical reaction, it accompanies or reacts from true, spiritual experience.

    November 12, 2009

    How To Have God Answer Your Prayers

    www.webexhibits.orgCan we take God’s Word literally? Does God mean what He says in it?

    Jesus thought so. He said, “Thy word is TRUTH” (John 17:17). The apostles constantly taught and acted as if God’s Word were literally true. They also believed every word of God (Matt. 4:4).

    To get results in your prayers, you should believe in the God of the Bible. Believe His Word is truth. And be willing to act on God’s Word and His commands.

    The Bible reveals seven basic conditions which you should fulfill to be certain of answered prayers. What are they?

    Seek God’s Will

    In James 4:1-4, the apostle showed that the people of this world fail to receive help because they often neglect to ask God’s help. And when they do, it is only to ask for their own selfish ends. To ask selfishly is to “ask amiss.” You can expect no answer to such a prayer.

    To get an answer, follow Jesus’ example when He said, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). But can you know God’s will? “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).

    Study God’s Word as Paul commanded Timothy (II Tim. 2:15). Then you will begin to think more as God thinks. You will come to know what God’s will is in every circumstance. If you believe and know that God is love, that His will is for our good, then you will want to pray according to God’s will.

    You need not always have a specific promise in the Bible to know that something is God’s will. Through experience and guidance, you will learn how to apply the principles of God’s revealed will to any situation which may arise.

    The point is that you must pray according to God’s will to receive an answer. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (I John 5:14-15). God’s Word reveals that by fulfilling this condition you know that God will answer your prayers!

    Asking according to God’s will is the overall, fundamental condition of answered prayer. All other conditions could be grouped under this one because they are the specific points of God’s will in regard to prayer. The following six, together with and magnifying this first condition, will ensure answered prayers.

    Believe God

    Most people do not realize that a lack of faith is simply a disbelief that God will keep His promises or back up His Word. Have you ever thought of it that way?

    Real FAITH is not an emotional “feeling” that you generate by thinking certain thoughts over and over. You don’t “talk yourself into,” or “think yourself into” real, believing faith. Godly faith is simply your willingness – through God’s help – to quietly, patiently trust God to perform His Word. Abraham had that kind of faith. The apostle Paul wrote of him: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Rom. 4:20-21).

    James was inspired to write that a man must have faith to receive answers to his prayers (James 1:5-7) . A man who wavers will not receive an answer. “For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (verse 7).

    God has made hundreds of promises in His Word which we can claim. Do you completely TRUST God to keep His promise to heal, although consulting a doctor for help and advice as to what physical law you are breaking? If you really believe God will heal, then trust Him to do it! Faith without works is dead (James 2:20). To have answered prayers, you must have faith – and you must act on that faith.

    Be Fervent

    It is common in our day for parents to teach their children memorized prayers. The father often mumbles a hurried, routine prayer of thanks at the table. The minister either reads or recites from memory an eloquent prayer which sounds very impressive. Is God impressed? The “fruits” show that God rarely hears such prayers, for they are usually not answered.

    This is so because people don’t put their hearts into their prayers (Hosea 7:14). They don’t “cry out” to God with their whole being as the ancient prophets did – and as Christ did when He prayed.

    On the evening before His crucifixion, Jesus needed strength from God for the coming ordeal. He needed to get really close to God. He knelt down and began to pray that God’s will, not His own, would be done. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). He prayed earnestly – with all His heart.

    In James 5:16, we read, “The effectual FERVENT prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” We have to pray fervently, earnestly, zealously, if we expect God to hear.

    Fear and Humility

    Man has a cocksure, self-sufficient attitude and thinks he can get along fine without God. He neither fears God nor respects God’s Word as an authority in his life. He is vain, egotistical, self-important. Is it a wonder that God fails to answer the prayers of such men?

    The very first prerequisite to knowledge of God is to fear Him and respect His Word. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).

    Carnal man needs to realize that he is only dust until he receives the Spirit of God, which is the begettal to eternal life. Eternal life is a gift from God (Rom. 6:23), not something we already have. “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).

    We need to fear God, realizing that our lives are in His hands. We should be humble, realizing that any gifts or talents we may have are ours because God gave them to us. When we can approach our Creator in that attitude – respecting His power and authority over our lives – then He will hear our prayers.

    When Christ was in the human flesh, even He feared God as we should. “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Heb 5:7). When we fully realize our own helplessness, then we will cry out to God as we should.

    Peter wrote “be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (I Peter 5:5). The attitude of humility and godly fear is vital in prayer, and at all times.

    Be Persistent

    In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus spoke a parable to teach us that we should always pray, and never give up hope. He showed that even an unrighteous judge would finally hear the pleas of a widow who kept coming to him. So we should keep praying to God, even though He doesn’t answer right away.

    God has made many promises in His Word. But He has nowhere said that He will perform them at the time, or in the way that we choose. Sometimes it is very good for us not to have our prayers answered immediately. God is building patient faith into our characters.

    James was inspired to write, “the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3) . If God doesn’t answer your prayers immediately, exercise patience and keep praying until He does answer.

    Don’t nag at God. He has supreme wisdom to know when and how would be best to answer your prayers. But if you have prayed as you should, He WILL answer. God always keeps His promises! So be persistent. Keep praying in faith, and God is bound to perform His part.

    Obedience

    A sixth condition of answered prayer is one which is neglected and violated consistently by most professing “Christians.” This hinges directly on the before-mentioned fact that very few people today really know the true God. People do not look to God as the AUTHORITY in their lives. Instead, they make a “god” out of this world’s society and its customs, traditions, and religious practices.

    God inspired Paul to write, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey” (Rom. 6:16). If you obey the ways of sin practiced in this world, you are putting this society and its pagan customs in the place of the true God!

    God wants more than “lip service.” He requires OBEDIENCE !

    If you haven’t learned to fear the true God and accept His Word as the authority in your life, then you don’t even really know God. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).

    How can men persistently refuse to keep God’s commandments, and then expect Him to answer their prayers? Peter answers, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Peter 3:12).

    Sin is simply breaking God’s Law (I John 3:4). God will not hear the prayers of those who persist in sin – in evil. If people would obey God, they would get answers when they pray. Then God wouldn’t seem so far away, so unreal – as He probably does to most of you? Think it over. Then do something about it.

    Does God ever hear the prayers of the unconverted? Yes, He does. God himself has blinded the eyes of many to the truth at this time (Rom. 11:7-8). It is His responsibility that they don’t know the truth yet. So God does sometimes hear and answer the prayers of those who obey as far as they know.

    The lepers and cripples who came to Jesus to be healed didn’t know all of God’s truth. But they did realize that Jesus was sent from God and could heal. And they acted on what they knew. So it is a matter of your heart or attitude. If you come to God in a humble, repentant spirit and are determined to obey Him to the best of your knowledge, He will hear your prayers. But this is no excuse for anyone who knows the truth to disobey God!

    True Christians can have a special confidence that God will answer their prayers if they are obedient. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22).

    Use Christ’s Name

    The seventh condition of answered prayer is the correct use of Christ’s name. This is a greatly misunderstood subject, and the use of Christ’s name is often abused.

    After Jesus had been with His disciples for over three years, and had taught them God’s will and how to obey it, He said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24). These verses give us the privilege of employing Christ’s name – asking by His authority – when we pray to God. But most people misunderstand how we can ask “in Jesus’ name.”

    When our government sends an Ambassador to another country, he is given authority to carry out certain business in the name of the United States Government. He can act in the name of our government because it has conferred on him the authority as its chosen representative to carry on certain business on its behalf. His authority is limited to do only what the government has specifically authorized him. If he exceeds his delegated authority, his actions are null and void and will not be backed up by his government.

    That is the way we are to ask things “in Jesus’ name.” Christ has given His ministers the duty of performing certain functions in His name – or by His authority. We can rightfully ask for things “in Jesus’ name” only when we know that it is His will – that His authority stands back of it.

    Just rattling off the words “in Jesus’ name” to a prayer that is contrary to God’s will and Christ’s will is of no avail whatsoever.

    Those who abide in Christ and are God’s children have the privilege of praying in Christ’s name. Jesus explained, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). The words of Jesus Christ MUST abide in us to have what we ask for granted. That is, we must obey what

    Yes, Jesus’ words must abide in you. You must ask according to His Will. You must abide in Him – belong to Him. “Now if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). And God gives His Holy Spirit to them that OBEY Him (Acts 5:32).

    So to pray in Jesus’ name, you must at the same time be yielding to His will to the best of your knowledge. “In Jesus’ name” means by His authority. You are praying through Him as your High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16).

    Christ – our High Priest – was tempted in all points like we are (verse 15). He understands our weaknesses. It is His revealed will to give us of His Spirit (Luke 11:13) and to help us live a more abundant life (John 10:10). You need to study God’s Word to know the principles of His will, that you may ask by His authority.

    Praying in Jesus’ name is a great privilege. Use Jesus’ name correctly, and your prayers will be answered because of the authority conferred through Him.

    Action Will Follow

    If you faithfully conform to these seven conditions of answered prayer – with God’s help, you may then have absolute confidence that God will hear and answer your prayers. You will be changing, growing closer to God each day. You will be actively seeking and doing His will.

    This intimate contact with the Creator of Heaven and Earth will give you a peace of mind and quiet confidence that nothing can destroy. But your confidence will not be in self, but in the greatest power there is. In every trial and problem, you have the right to call on the Supreme Power – the active, living God who reveals Himself in the Bible.

    God has inspired an example of how He heard and answered even the prayers of an unconverted man because that man was in a right spirit, and had obeyed what he knew. In II Kings 20:1-11, we read the account of how king Hezekiah was about to die and sought God’s deliverance.

    God’s own prophet, Isaiah, had told Hezekiah that he would die. But Hezekiah knew that God was an all-merciful God, and that he had obeyed God the best he knew how and could.

    So Hezekiah “wept sore” and besought God’s intervention (verse 3). He put his heart in his prayer!

    In spite of the fact that He had previously told Isaiah that Hezekiah would die, God heard and answered Hezekiah’s fervent prayer! He added fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life!

    What a result of prayer! But was that all? No. Hezekiah did not doubt God’s power to intervene and act as this world does. He made a further request that God would give him a special sign that he would be healed (verse 8).

    God’s servant, Isaiah, gave Hezekiah the choice of the sign – the shadow would either go forward ten degrees, or backward ten degrees. Hezekiah said it would be harder for the shadow to go backward ten degrees. “And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward” (verse 11).

    Because of Hezekiah’s faith, obedience, and fervent prayers, God Almighty not only healed him and added fifteen years to his life, but He actually caused the sun to reverse itself in the heavens!

    This was not an “optical illusion.” God’s miracles are real! “For with God NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE” (Luke 1:37). If you believe that God’s Word is truth, this should inspire you to pray as never before!

    June 17, 2009

    What Are Prayers For The Dead?

    Prayers on behalf of the dead have no meaning, and the Bible is clear on this subject. God’s Word shows that those who have died no longer have any physical or mental activity (Ps. 146:4; Eccl. 9:5, 10). Each person who dies sleeps in his grave in unconsciousness until the resurrection (John 5:28-29; Dan. 12:2; Job 19:25-26; 14:12-14). Clearly, prayers should be for the LIVING, not the dead.

    Prayers for the dead are based on the false teaching that man possesses an immortal soul. Some believe that at death a wicked person’s “immortal” soul is tormented in hell. Friends and relatives then pray that the departed “soul” be spared some of its suffering. But the Bible says that the soul itself can die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20; also, compare the last parts of verses 7 and 17 of Genesis 2). There are absolutely no biblical grounds for the doctrine of the immortality of the soul.

    God promises to resurrect those who have died and offer them salvation at a later time as most of humanity has not yet had any opportunity to be saved.

    March 27, 2009

    Does God Hear The Prayer Of Sinners?

    All people have sinned and cut themselves off from God (Rom 3:23; 5:12). The prophet Isaiah wrote, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2, RAV). So to answer the question, no, God does not hear sinners (John 9:31, first part), and will have no fellowship with them (II Cor. 6:14; I John 1:6). He hears only those who are righteous (John 9:31, last part).

    But there must be a way for sinners to come to God — or else we could never become righteous. How can sinners seek God? Isaiah answers:

    “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” But how do we call upon God? Well, we ourselves cannot do it. there is no such thing as a feeling to go the right way, or an altar call. It is God Himself who has to call us (John 6:44). This last scripture has to be one of the most ignored in the Bible, yet that makes it no less plain. Only God can call us into His work. If he has not done so, then all those who profess to be with God are deceived.

    Barnes’ Commentary On The Bible says “the word ‘draw’  is used to denote such an influence from God as to secure the result, or as to incline the mind to believe.” That’s right, it is not the person who makes up their mind, but God who reaches out and “draws” that individual in.

    Strong’s says the word “draw” means to literally or figuratively drag someone. But even so, there must be evidence (fruits – Matt. 7:20) such a person has indeed been called by God and is walking with God. The answer is:

    “Let the wicked forsake his [own] way, and the unrighteous man his [own] thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7, RAV).

    But what is true repentance? It is more than saying ” I’m Sorry.” The person must forsake the way he has been living and begin to obey God. He must desire a life long commitment of obedience to God while at the same time having a Godly sorrow for past sins. Once he has repented of going the wrong way then God begins to work with that person, giving him His Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32), without which the deep things of God cannot even be understood (I Cor. 2:10).

    After repenting and being baptized (by God’s ministry), a person is no longer a sinner in God’s sight because he has been forgiven. His prayers are now fully answered by God.

    March 19, 2009

    Are Confessions A Biblical Practice?

    Christians are to confess their sins to God — not men. Notice David’s example in Psalm 51. No man can forgive sins. Neither has any man been given the office of mediator between mankind and God. This office is held by Jesus Christ alone. The apostle Paul was inspired to write: “Wherefore he [Christ] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). The apostle Paul also wrote in I Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man CHRIST JESUS.” Thus, as stated, confession of one’s sins ought to be made to God — not to a fellow human being — such as a priest.

    Where did this practice start? A detailed confession to a bishop or priest appeared early in the history of the Catholic church. In the 5th-century discipline, the practice was to hear confessions at the beginning of [pagan] Lent and to reconcile the penitents on Holy Thursday. Gradually, however, the practice of reconciling, or absolving, sinners immediately after confession and before fulfillment of penance was introduced. By the end of the 11th century, only notorious sinners were reconciled on Holy Thursday. Often, those guilty of serious sins put off penance until death approached. To correct this abuse, the fourth Lateran Council (1215) established the rule that every Christian should confess to a priest at least once a year. In modern times the Roman Catholic Church teaches that penance is a sacrament, instituted by Christ, in which a confession of all serious sins committed after Baptism is necessary. The doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox churches concerning confession agrees with that of the Roman Catholic Church (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Article  “Confessions”).

    The message of Sacramental Confession is so important to the Catholic church, that Pope Benedict XVI in a pre-Lenten audience with Confessors, urged them to preach the necessity for all Catholics – and to seek the sacrament themselves. He repeated that admonition urging the faithful to “invoke the Virgin Mary, whom God preserved from every stain of sin, that she help us to avoid sin and to have frequent recourse to the sacrament of confession, the sacrament of forgiveness, whose value and importance for our Christian life needs to be rediscovered today.”

    However, it is NOT the Virgin Mary who is our intercessor! The Bible takes a radically different stance than that of this false pagan church. John wrote that when we sin, we have an advocate with God the Father — Jesus Christ the righteous (I John 2:1-2). He is faithful to forgive our sins when we confess to Him (I John 1:7-10). Therefore, we can come boldly to His throne of grace (Heb. 4:14-16).

    The Scriptures do tell us that we may confess our FAULTS to one another — so we can pray for each other (Jas. 5:16). But there is a difference between seeking a brother’s help in overcoming a fault — human weakness — and confessing sins of the past. The latter should not be done because only God can forgive sin. And humans do not forget, as God willingly does when our sins are removed (Heb. 8:12).

    Some try to use John 20:23 to prove that persons in ecclesiastical offices have the power to forgive sins. This verse reads: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (New King James Version). However, it does not mean that mere men can actually forgive sins in a spiritual sense. God alone can forgive sins (Mark 2:7-10; Luke 5:21-24). Christ spoke these words to His future apostles in the context of the Church authority He was giving them (see John 20:21) — the power to disfellowship those who were dissenters or heretics (see I Corinthians 5:2 and I Timothy 1:20) and bring them back into the congregation upon repentance (II Cor. 2:6-10).

    March 8, 2009

    Is The Word "Amen" Of Pagan Origin?

    Filed under: Prayer — melchia @ 6:53 am
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    Some say the word “Amen,” used at the end of a prayer to God is of pagan origin. It is true that an Egyptian pagan  god was called AMEN (the supposed personification of air or breath and represented by a ram or a goose). But there is absolutely no evidence to link the Hebrew word amen –meaning “truth” or “so be it” — in any way to this or any other pagan deity.

    What we do find is that the inspired writers of the Bible were led to use this Hebrew word frequently. Surely that is endorsement enough. But, there’s more, as we’ll see shortly. First, however, what about the claim that those who wrote the Bible got this word from the Egyptians?

    It would appear that if anyone “borrowed” this word from another people, the Egyptians got it from what was once the pure language spoken by everyone prior to the building of the Tower of Babel. Was this a deliberate counterfeit? In the Bible we find that Jesus Christ is called “the Amen” (Rev. 3:14).

    How does the Bible define this word? Notice again the passage just cited. Jesus is “the Amen, the faithful and TRUE witness.” Its use here, directly connected with the word TRUE and emphasizing the TRUTH for which Christ stands, shows conclusively what its meaning is as used in the Scriptures.

    If our own use of the word is based on the Hebrew, we need not fear that we are sinning when we use it. Of course, if we attribute existence or power to some mythical god in our minds as we use it, we are using it wrongly and not the way those who wrote the Bible did. See Romans 14:23, last part.

    Jesus Himself included the word AMEN as part of the model prayer. He gave for all Christians (Matt. 6:9-12). Therefore it is not incorrect to use it.

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