Last week we began our series on prayer, with a Biblical foundation for what prayer is truly based upon: Prayer at its core is not bending God to our Will with enough faith and positive words, but discovering His desired Will and being the open door for that Will to be done on earth.
Next week we will look closely at just how to know God's desired Will, in order to begin praying powerfully and effectively, but, before we can get to the, "How to find His Will" stage of our study, we first have to take an honest look at another area in our lives: hindrances to our prayer lives—things in our lives that would keep us from praying effectively, even if we could discover His Will. Scriptures are very clear about certain things in a believer's life that will keep God from listening to our prayers. Are you serious enough and desperate enough, to hear God that you will do whatever it takes for your prayers to reach the Throne?
Today, in part 2 of our series on recharging your prayer life, Pastor Doss talks about some of the things that may be hindering your prayers. We all want powerful, effective, kingdom building prayers, but did you know that there are several things that God specifically says prevent Him from responding? If you feel like you just aren't being heard, listen for some pointers on evaluating your life to see if some of these hindrances might be a cause.
We are going to address two questions in this sermon, about prayer, but these two simple questions have more people stumped and confused than anything in our Christian walk, leaving many of us hopeless and powerless before Satan and his horde. 1) Do you ever privately feel (even if you don't want to admit it to yourself), that prayer just seems to be useless to you? (Doesn’t make a difference?) That it doesn't really change anything in your life? That you just kind of do it because you are supposed to do it? And if you don't do it, somehow things could always get worse? As though He will be mad if I don't pray, but He's gonna do what He wants anyway? 2) Do you ever privately feel like you really don't even know how to pray as you should? Some people quote Scriptures supporting how we should be bold in what we want from God—claim it in faith—your words are power leading to reality from Heaven. Your true belief, and your passion will determine 100% if God moves. Others say God has His will for this earth, and He's going to do exactly what He wants to do, and accomplish exactly what He wants accomplished, no matter what we do, therefore, it really doesn't matter what is prayed. What should I ask God for, and what should I not ask Him for? What should I be bold about in prayer, if ever? What should I humbly ask for?
Does prayer really matter? I mean, isn't God going to do what He wants to anyway? And if it does matter, how do I pray?
Today, Pastor Doss begins to answer these questions and many more in our new series, Recharging Your Prayer Life.
Mary and Joseph both, have very probably been shamed and isolated by the small town of 50 to 100. Both have possibly lost the support, or at least the trust of their families—this is quite possibly why Mary is even going on the journey, when it's so late in the pregnancy, even though the trip is required only of Joseph. They finish their long walk (80 to 90 miles, 2600 miles up), alone, and on their arrival in Bethlehem, the shame and rejection felt from distant family members of Joseph seems unavoidable as well, causing Joseph to either take Mary somewhere other than to his own relative's home—which would be highly irregular in that culture, and would most probably show that he was avoiding the pain and embarrassment they each would suffer—or, as is most probable, he was at a relative's house, but they were put into the stable area of the house or land, rather than offered the guest room, even though she literally was giving birth. The outright rejection Joseph's family must have shown them, especially if she was at their home, seems apparent, because birthing a child was a major event in the Hebrew culture. The women would join the midwives in the event together. They would all help and comfort the mother, and care for the child when it arrived—it was a celebration. Yet, the Christmas text here in Luke makes it all too clear, that these two teens were completely alone in the delivery. The passage tells how Mary, herself, wrapped the Baby in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the Manger. This surely would have been the midwife or a helper, if they were present [and every other person present at the birth was mentioned by Scriptures—so, why would these women and midwives have not been mentioned as well?] Mary wrapped her own little Babe that night, and held Him closely, as the only comforter she had, Joseph, no doubt cradled them both.
We conclude this series with the birth of Jesus, alone, surrounded by animals rather than a nation that had been awaiting the savior's arrival. Why weren't they there to welcome Him? How could they have missed this momentous event? Did they not know?
Listen as Pastor Doss explains, and ask yourself, "Will I be paying attention when He comes again?"
First, let's introduce what we know about one of the least studied, most overlooked people in Scriptures: Joseph. He is depicted in more artwork, mantel pieces, and outdoor decorations than just about any other male in Scriptures besides Christ Himself, and yet, less is known about him than just about any other prominently mentioned male of Scriptures.
In today's advent continuation, Pastor Doss delves in to the life of Joseph and the choices he faced. What can you learn from his life? Listen to find out!
Luke 1:26: Gabriel is used on several occasions as a Messenger for God, and each time news is given in regard to the Coming of the Messiah, it seems that Gabriel is the Angel which is presenting the news. He appears to Daniel when the very timetable that we studied last week is given, telling of the exact time of our Messiah's coming; then he appears to Zacharias in the Temple, foretelling of the birth of John to make a way for the Messiah; then he appears here to Mary herself, announcing the coming of Jesus The Christ. Could it be that Gabriel is somehow intimately linked with overseeing and orchestrating the appearance of our Lord on this earth, in His Eternal Plan?
In part 2 of our advent series we focus on the mother of Jesus, Mary. Have you considered what it must have been like to be 13-15 years old, betrothed, and then told that you were going to have the responsibility of raising the child of God that your people had been waiting for? Listen to discover a few things you may NOT have considered.
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