Architecture

Can You hear me now?

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Apart from John 9:31, also see:  Job 27:9 and 35:12; Psalm 18:41; Proverbs 1:28, 15:29, and 28:9; Isaiah 1:15; Jeremiah 11:11 and 14:12; Ezekiel 8:18; Micah 3:4; Zechariah 7:13; and James 5:16.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, references for John 9:31.

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Selfless

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“…[E]steem others better than himself” (verse 3), is the basic definition of true humility (Romans 12:10; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 5:21; 1 peter 5:5).  Christ is the ultimate example of selfless humility (Matthew 11:29; John 13:12-17).

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Philippians 2:3,5.

Obedience to the Truth

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Scripture should permeate every aspect of the believer’s life and control every thought, word, and deed (Psalm 119:11; Matthew 13:9; Philippians 2:16; 2 Timothy 2:15).

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Colossians 3:16.

Be Content

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Believers can be content in every situation because of this promise.  Five negatives are utilized in this statement to emphasize the impossibility of Christ deserting believers.  It is like saying “there is absolutely no way whatsoever that I will ever, ever leave you.”

Commentary from the John MacArthur study Bible, notes for Hebrews 13:5.

Receiving Answers to Our Prayers

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In response to our prayers, the Lord uses His power to penetrate closed minds and hard hearts.  In that way, He brings people to salvation and transforms unrighteous lives.

We all want our petitions fulfilled, so it is important to understand God’s conditions for answered prayer.  Besides having a relationship with Him (John 3:3) and confessing all known sin, we must have faith that His Word is true and His promises reliable.  The Bible, which was divinely written by God through man, is without error.  In this amazing book, the Lord reveals His nature – holy, sovereign, and perfect – and presents His plan of salvation (Romans 10:9).  Because God’s promises are based on His perfect character, we can be certain He will do what He says; otherwise He would not be God.  And Jesus’ promises can be trusted because He always spoke the Father’s words (John 12:49).

Another condition is that we ask according to the Lord’s purposes.  We’re to pray for things that are in keeping with His divine plan and character.  God wants us to discern His will, to pray for it to be carried out, and to do whatever our part might be in its fulfillment (Matthew 6:9-10).  The Holy Spirit will help us know what to pray.  And as we consider which petitions to make, we should ask ourselves, Is my request based on God’s Word?  How will an answer to this prayer bring me or someone else closer to Him?

It takes an investment of time to meet God’s requirements for prayer.  But in response, He will provide answers beyond anything we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 15, 2017.

Requirements for Answered Prayer

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Jesus taught many things about prayer and its central role in a believer’s life.  He also promised that our petitions will be answered when we meet certain requirements.

One condition is mentioned in John 14:14:  After receiving Christ as our personal Savior, we have the right to present requests in Jesus’ name, which means praying something that the Lord Himself might pray.  To exercise this privilege, we must come to the Father, depending not on our own good works or character but on the merits of Christ alone.  Jesus’ atoning death on the cross is the only basis for approaching God and being assured of receiving an answer to our petitions.

A second requirement is separation from all known sin.  Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”  This refers to ungodly behaviors and thought patterns that we know are wrong but refuse to give up.  Remember, God looks at our heart attitude.  If we struggle against our sinful ways, grieve over them, and ask for forgiveness, He will hear our cries and respond.  But when He sees a hard heart, He is not obligated to listen.

Next time you pray, start with words of praise to God for His sacrificial love and gratitude to Jesus for dying in your place (1 John 4:10).  Express that you understand why your prayers are heard – because you have a relationship with the Father through Christ, and not because of anything you have done.  Confess all known sin and ask for forgiveness.  Then present your requests to God with anticipation, and trust His answers.

(More on Friday this week.)

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 14, 2017.