Friday, January 22, 2010

Are All of Your Family Members Saved?

While going through some old papers trying to get organized I found a dog-eared, highlighted wonderful article that I prayed over years ago. I'm so glad I found it again, because I really need it right now. The question in my title comes from Moishe Rosen's (founder of Jews for Jesus) opening paragraph. He wrote,

"I know that I'm a religious fanatic because if we are just meeting, I'll ask you: "Are all of your family members saved?" I am not asking to satisfy my curiosity. To me, the goal of this life is to be saved, sanctified and serving God.

The point of Moishe's article is to help us understand that when parents say things like, "My children professed Christ at an early age, but are not walking with the Lord," we need to stop, look, and listen! We may be grasping at strands of wishful thinking. The world, the flesh, and the devil conspire to keep us from praying at all or to pray amiss.

One way that people pray amiss is to ask that adult children come back to the Lord when they have shown no interest in Him since early childhood. Moishe's urgent advice is: Don't pray for them to come back to the Lord; pray for them to come to the Lord. You can't revive what is not alive.

I am dealing with this situation in my son's life right now. I must face reality and not hold onto the delusion that he is saved, but not walking. He has not shown any interest in Jesus since childhood and when we joined our present church in 2005 as a family, he refused to have any part of it. It's been years now since he has attended church.

What about your family members? Are you praying for them amiss like me? I've decided not to pray that way anymore. While walking in faith, I'm choosing to take the following steps when I pray for my lost loved ones:

Step #1. I'm praying that God will give me strength to endure and to undertake these prayers for lost loved ones as a regular burden.

Step #2. I'm giving my loved ones over to God, that God may speak to them in whatever way He chooses and in whatever circumstances it takes to bring them to Him.

Step #3. I'm choosing not to persuade them in my own power. It is not up to me to try to drive them towards repentance. I understand and acknowledge that they need the moving of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Step #4. I'm deciding to be clear about the term "Christian." A Christian is a follower of Christ, not someone who says, "I believe in God."

Step #5. I'm willing to repeat all of these steps until I see evidence of their salvation. I am trusting my loved ones to the Lord and am accepting His timing and His method of reaching them.

photo of "Salvation Mountain" courtesy of buzzymt, Salvation Mountain is a completely man made mountain just outside of Niland, CA. It is made of adobe, tires, branches, hay, car windows, and thousands of gallons of paint. The artist is Leonard Knight.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How much do you really listen?

Have you ever waited for a pause in the conversation so you can insert your own thought or opinion? I'm ashamed to answer, "I have." Real listening cannot happen when we have an agenda. We cannot listen when we presume to have a solution before the problem has even been explored. I get extremely frustrated when doctors treat me this way. Yet, if I'm honest with myself, I do this reflexive kind of listening more often than not. Reflexive listening is simply jumping at your chance to insert something into the conversation.

Research shows that doctors begin to diagnose a patient within three minutes of entering the room. No wonder we have thousands upon thousands of patient getting sicker and dying from iatrogenic illnesses. Iatrogenic is a fancy word for, the doctor made a big mistake. Could it be these doctors make fatal errors because they never really listen to the description of their patients symptoms?

Jesus repeatedly says throughout his ministry, "He who has ears, let him hear." We all have ears, so how do we "let them hear?" Jesus wants us to use our ears intelligently by training them to listen in a reflective way instead of the common reflexive way. Reflective listening occurs when we pause and consider what has been said and are able to repeat it back accurately to the speaker. This is a great way to improve our communication skills with not only people, but when we talk with God while reading his word. Just think about how are understanding would improve if we would hold back from inserting what’s rattling around in our brain and reflect on what is being said or as God speaks, what he has written.

Dear Jesus, Please teach me how to break away from the way most of us listen and begin to reflectively hear what you and your people have to say. In your precious name I pray. Amen.

photo courtesy of by McAzadi

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ever Felt Like Giving Up in Prayer?

If you are like me, and have had your moments when you felt like your prayers were never going to be answered, read on. Charles Haddon Spurgeon will encourage you in a special way today through his devotion entitled, Intercession found in his book, Beside Still Waters. He wrote the following about prayer and never giving up:

Never give up praying, even when Satan suggests that prayer is in vain. Pray in his teeth. "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). If the heavens are brass and your prayer only echoes above your head, pray on! If month after month your prayer appears to have miscarried, if you have had no answer, continue to draw close to the Lord. Do not abandon the mercy seat for any reason. If it is a good thing that you have been asking for, and if you are sure it is according to the divine will, wait, tarry, pray, weep, plead, wrestle, and agonize until you get what you are praying for.
If your heart is cold, do not wait until your heart warms. Pray your soul into heat with the help of the ever-blessed Holy Spirit, who helps in our weakness, who makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).
Never cease prayer for any reason. If the philosopher tells you that every event is fixed and that prayer cannot possibly change anything, go on praying. If you cannot reply to every difficulty that man suggests, resolve to be obedient to the divine will. "Pray without ceasing." Never, never, never renounce the habit of prayer or your confidence in its power.
Praying confidently without ceasing with you. Always Listen, Susan
picture by jadgraphics, courtesy of