Thursday, January 11, 2007

Our move to Wordpress

After many weeks of being frustrated with the terrible operation of Blogger Beta, and the non-response from tech support, I have reluctantly decided to move to Wordpress. The new home is . I am going to attempt to move all this stuff over to my new host, but if I am unsuccessful I am still saying bye bye to blogger. My next post in the series on prayer will be at the new address.
Thanks to all of you who have been so kind to me since I started sharing my thoughts at Grace Digest. I look forward to our continued connection at our new home.
Grace and Peace,
Royce Ogle

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Prayer # 8

God promised in Matt 6:25-34 that if we put Him and His kingdom first, food, drink, and clothing will be provided. Even though this is true, these necessities of life are ours when we put God and His work first, He still wants us to ask for them. Jesus taught in the Lord’s prayer that we should pray saying “Give us this day our daily bread”. Why if it is already ours do we need to ask? Because God said that is the way He wants it done!

Imagine that when you get to heaven you see a huge room with your name above the door and as you look in you see everything you could have ever wanted or dreamed of having. You say to God “I don’t need any of this now but I sure could have used it on earth!” And His reply is “My dear child you should have asked me for it and you could have had it”. God wants us to pray, He commands us to pray! And, we sin when we don’t pray.

The chief thing that will keep you from prayer is the sin of unbelief. Surely if you believed the wonderful promises about prayer by the dozens in the Bible you would pray! The fact is that you trust yourself and your ability more than you trust God. You are more comfortable depending on your job than you are your heavenly Father. I can say I believe in God all I want but if I live my life as if He does not exist I am really a liar.

Start praying!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Prayer # 7

The Bible teaches very plainly that sin in the life of the petitioner hinders prayer. Where are you more likely to come to terms with personal sin than on your knees? If you are fighting with your wife, stealing from your boss, or lying about your neighbor, it stands to reason that your prayers will be hindered. The most likely reason is that you will not pray !

I might be going way out on a limb, but I believe prayer is hindered, not stopped. Can you imagine a man with a hangover from a night of drinking and gambling has ever cried out to God in desperation “God please give food for my family and I will never take another drink as long as I live”. And God in his mercy and grace sends a neighbor with food, or a church food pantry gives the family a sack of groceries, and the prayer is thus answered. Then Friday night the poor sinner is back at the bar just as last weekend had never happened. I believe like John Rice said in his book on prayer, “God is much more willing to answer, than we are to pray”. God wants to answer prayer. It is the method He set in place for His creatures to get things from Him.

Start asking!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Prayer # 6

As I continue this series on prayer, this is the second post on so called "conditions" to successful praying. As I have said before, most of those passages usually looked at as conditions that must be met are not restrictions to prayer but encouragements to pray. This is another of those passages.

I know that at least hundreds of times, and likely thousands, I have heard someone pray publicly “Lord you said where two or more are gathered in your name that you would be there too and answer their prayer”. This is very true according to Matt 18:19 but again it is not a condition that must be met, but rather an encouragement to draw our brothers and sisters in the faith into our prayers. There is not a hint anywhere that God is more likely to answer if two or more are praying than if one prays alone. James 5:16 makes it clear that an individual can get his prayers answered, and the Bible is full of such cases. You should note that almost all of the commands, and the ensuing promises about prayer in the Bible are made to individuals.

Praying together was a mark of the early church and the book of Acts says over and over “and when they had prayed....” thus and so happened. We ought to pray together, in small groups, in large groups, even in a great auditorium with thousands it is good to pray. Prayer is always right and the will of God, but you, by yourself can have regular answers to prayer. The condition is that you pray! A man who will not pray alone can not likely be counted on to pray sincerely in a group setting.

Grace and Peace,
Royce Ogle

Sunday, December 24, 2006

"A Child is given, a Son is born"

May the Christ of Christmas be the Lord of your life in the coming year. Born to die, never before or since was a child like this one who would save His people from their sins.
He was God's first child, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. He would come in a body prepared by God to be the sacrifice offered for the sins of every human of every age. By perfect living and perfect dying, He paid the supreme price for those who were His enemies.
What mankind lost in the sinfulness of Adam would be regained by the obedience of this Holy child. So now God looks on Him and justifies wicked sinners and makes them too, His own dear children.
It matters not what the world thinks of Him, or of us who are surrendered to His Lordship for our lives, we can say with great gratitude and joy, Merry Christmas!
God's best to all my friends out there.
Love in Jesus,
Royce Ogle

Friday, December 22, 2006

Prayer # 5

Praying "In Jesus Name"

“Asking in Jesus name” is probably most misunderstood of all of the so called conditions to prayer. The few words at the end of a prayer like “these things we ask in Jesus name” is not a magical formula for getting God to hear and answer your prayer. Many who repeat that phrase or something very similar have no idea what it really means.

When a deputy sheriff knocks on a door and says to those inside “Open the door and come out with your hands in the air, this is the sheriffs office!” He does not come like the paper boy or an insurance salesman. He comes in the authority of the sheriff’s office. When a dignitary requests an audience with President Bush the conversation might go something like this. Someone would say to him “Mr. President, the Secretary of the Treasury of South Carolina is here to see you”. Would he have a better chance to see the President than any John Doe? Of course he would. He comes with the authority and backing of the State of South Carolina.

In the same way, when we pray we can come to God only because of Jesus. We come in His authority, in His name. Because of His sacrifice on our behalf we now have an audience with God. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”. 1 Timothy 2:5.

It is certainly never wrong to end a prayer with some variation of “in Jesus name” but saying those words does not cause our Father to be predisposed to answer your prayer. Coming to Him through Jesus and because of Jesus and for Jesus sake is what God desires. Sincerely asking God, whether or not that phrase is added, is what matters most. If I was about to be attacked by a wild animal I likely would not be so formal in my prayer. “Lord help me!” would probably be sufficient.

We can always come to our heavenly Father with confidence because of Jesus.“ Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole” Acts 4:10. And just as the lame man was healed perfectly through Christ we too stand before God perfectly justified and cleansed from sin because of and through Him.
Hebrews 4:14 “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”.

Just Pray!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I wish I had said it...

Today I was visiting the website of a Baptist preacher, Wade Burleson, and came across this quote. I was instantly confronted by it's truth and challenged by it's wisdom. I wish I had said it!

"We cannot have a relationship with our Christology (Beliefs about Christ)-- we can have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Our soteriology (Beliefs about how one is saved) cannot save us from sins our Saviour can. Our ecclesiology (Beliefs about the church) does not make us one -- the Lord of the Church does. Our eschatology (Beliefs about the end of the world as we know it) will not transform this flawed universe -- Jesus the King of kings and the Prince of Peace will do that. And no matter how much we love theology -- it will never love us back.' We do not mean to denigrate the importance of theology and truth, but we advocate the subordination of Sola Scriptura (The Bible only) beneath Sola Christo (Christ only)."
Mark Powell. (The words in parentheses were added by me.)

I don't know who Mark Powell is, what church he attends, or anything else about him. What I do know is that this statement attributed to him is profound, describes the very heart of the Christian faith and lays bare the error of those who only imitate it.

If you and I really believed this statement, and we should in my view, it would transform our lives, ministries, and resurrect fading hope in many of us.

Read it, re-read it, and let me know what you think about it.

Grace and Peace,
Royce Ogle