Be Thankful You Didn’t Say It!  

Sometimes after a confrontation with an annoying person we might be tempted to think: “I should have really let them have it”, but Proverbs 29:11 says otherwise: “A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.”   Continue reading

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The Model Prayer: Forgiveness (Matthew 6:12 sermon)

(Preached at Pleasant Ridge Baptist, 5-20-15)

I know that many of you, like me, grew up hearing soloists and others sing what became the “traditional” version of “The Lord’s Prayer.”  There is one part of the song that seems almost haunting to me: where it comes to the part of the prayer where it says; “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” — and then the soloist stops for a moment and the music echoes those words “as we forgive our debtors” — as if to say, stop and think about the somber nature of this request: we are asking God to forgive us now, in the same way that we forgive others.  It IS important, and both of these phrases should play an important role in our daily prayer time.

We have seen over the last weeks that Jesus gave us the Model Prayer not as a “script” to be recited, but as a Model to follow. He outlined for us in the prayer at least 6 categories of things that God wants us to talk with Him about when we pray — especially in the longer prayers that we pray to begin our day.  Tonight we come to the 5th Request, which deals with forgiveness:

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

There are two parts to this 5th request, both of which deal with forgiveness: the first, includes the forgiveness we RECEIVE from God, and the second, deals with the forgiveness which we are to GIVE to others:   Continue reading

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No Room For Boasting

“Where then is boasting? It is excluded.” (Romans 3:27)

A better word could not be said regarding true religion. There is NO room for personal boasting in genuine Christianity.   Continue reading

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A Convicting Trio Of Sins?  

Proverbs 23:19-21 warns us against three besetting sins — although in practice, many Christians seem to pay attention to only one of them: “Listen my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe one with rags.”

There is a very interesting, and perhaps convicting, combining of sins in these verses:

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“Just Follow Your Heart”?

How many times have well-meaning people counseled someone by saying, “Just follow your heart”? It is one of those things which just “sounds right” to tell a person who is seeking direction. But it turns out that according to scripture, it is one of the worst pieces of advice one can give! Continue reading

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“The Discipline of Continual (Spontaneous)  Prayer” (Nehemiah 2:4 Sermon) 

(Preached at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Morganton, NC   5-17-15)

Some of us were eating out a few years ago, and one of our friends was asking the blessing for our food, and he prayed a fairly long prayer. When he was finished, another of our friends said, “Hey, just because you missed your prayer time this morning doesn’t mean you had to make it up while all of our food was getting cold!” There is a time for praying longer prayers, and then there is a time for praying shorter ones, and as good disciples of Jesus we need to recognize, and learn to use both types of prayer. 

This morning we are continuing our series, “The Disciplines of Disciples.” Jesus commanded in Luke 9:23 that if anyone would come after Him, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Him. We saw in I Timothy 4 that God commands us to “discipline (ourselves) for the purpose of godliness”, and we have seen the importance of having a daily time in “the pure milk of the word” of God and in prayer, and last Sunday we examined the Lord’s Prayer as a model to follow for our morning prayer time. We all need a time of “ordered prayer” like that every morning to start our day. 

But there is also  another discipline which many of us need to cultivate, and that is the discipline of spontaneous, or continual prayer. These are prayers that are not necessarily “planned” like our morning prayer time, but arise out of situations we face during the day.  We see in our passage for this morning that Nehemiah prayed just a brief spontaneous prayer: 

“And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, that wine was before him, and I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. So the king said to me, “Why is your face sad though you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever. Why should my face not be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies desolate and its gates have been consumed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What would you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.” 

Those words, “So I prayed to the God of heaven” form a very brief sentence, but they teach us some important things about spontaneous, or continual prayer: Continue reading

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Is God Even Listening To Your Prayer?

God likes to hear your prayers, right? Well, maybe. Proverbs 28:9 is a verse which reveals some light on that. It reads: “He who turns away his ear from listening to the Law, even his prayer is an abomination.”

We tend to think that our prayers are good, and that God wants to hear them — and if you are a Christian who is praying in Jesus’ name, He does — except in some cases like this verse describes.   Continue reading

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