John Lesson 16: John 14:1-16:33

For Thought and Discussion Question, Page 149(2)

Why does it glorify the Father when Jesus grants prayers offered in His name? (John 14:13)

NIV Footnote:  John 14:13: Prayers offered in His name is prayer aimed at carrying forward the work Jesus did, Prayer that He himself will answer. (3, page 1622)

 

Prayer brings us in line with Jesus and in accordance with God. Our purpose is to always be in alignment with God, for our prayers to be heard and answered.  Prayer in line with Jesus gives us a better understanding of how to pray, why we should pray and how prayer changes things. (1, page 44)

God gets glorified because of our relationship with Him. We know He answers all prayers that come from His son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus. As we grow in our relationship with God our Pray life should grow as well.

John 14:6: I am the way and the truth and the life…

 

References:

  1. Helen Smith Shoemaker, The Secret of Effective Prayer, Word Book, 1967.
  2. John, Life Change Series, NavPress, 1987
  3. NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 2008 edition.
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Fathoming The mystery of God

In the Beginning GOD; God Created the Heavens and the earth, God told Moses that He was I AM; GOD, outside of time; GOD outside of the known and unknown universe.  GOD, we know He is, but to understand who God is, that is an entirely different thing.  Job speaks of God “Can you fathom the mysteries of God?  Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” (11:7). And Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

I have just finished reading a book by Walter Lippmann entitled Preface to Morals in this book Mr. Lippmann enunciates the various aspects that must be considered in understanding the morality of the modern life.  The book was written in 1929, yet much of what he has written is still very pertinent today.   Mr. Lippmann looks at how we see God in our modern world as opposed to the way that those who wrote the Bible looked at God.  When these men wrote the word King or Lord they had a current reference, a very accurate example of what that meant.  How do we understand that simple word in this Democratic, Capitalistic society that is ours here in the United States?  He writes, “The Omnipotence of God means something to men who submit daily to the cycles of the weather and the mysterious power of nature.  But the city man puts his faith in furnaces to keep out the cold, is proudly aware of what bad sewage his ancestors endured, and of how ignorantly they believed that God, who made Adam at 9 A.M. on October 23 in the year 4004 B.C., was concerned with the behavior of Adam’s children.”  And in saying this he is merely stating that as we have more and more machines to rely on, our daily lives require less faith in God to see to our needs, and in needing God less, we are forced to redefine who He is.  Even within the Bible, the book of Job is a fulcrum to reassess God and his association with man.  For in Job we see that God allows evil into our lives.  We see that Job is tenacious in his understanding of who God is, and that God asks only for our belief.  As a Jewish writer, Mr. Lippmann is unfortunate, for his insights are defined by a lack of faith in Christ, but I believe that his assessment of how modern man perceives God is not only accurate, but also extenuated by the world of electronics that now demand our attention second by second.

Who is God?  This is the question of the ages, but I wonder how many of us really try to put our mind around this mystery of faith.  I use the word mystery, because although we use terms that express the various aspects of God, we really don’t know or understand who God is.  The Bible tells us that God is Spirit (John 4:24).  In the poetry of the Psalms, God holds us safe beneath his wings and in Exodus 33:20 God himself tells Moses that “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.”, yet in the New Testament Jesus states that when we see the son, we see the father.  “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9).

God created; therefore, he is larger than all the galaxies of the universe.  He holds together the smallest of molecules as they are ordered to create life and He is capable of destroying the entire planet.  Do you realize that if God were not conscious of each of us, the very molecules of our bodies would fly apart and we would no longer exist?  In prayer, I should submit myself in complete reverence to the God of creation. As a modern person, I don’t know or understand reverence.  The terms we use have no place in our modern world, yet those words are the thing that links us to the religious, the divine.  Reverence, Webster defines as, respect, admiration, awe, veneration, astonishment, amazement, yet when I think of God, all of these words do not begin to put me in touch with His real being.  We respect the right of others to have their own opinions; we admire a teacher who against all odds inspires children to excel.  It is popular now to say that God is Awesome.  Veneration, now there is a great word – I think of old China when I hear this word.  The young venerated the old, in a manner that is unknown in western culture.   Are we really astonished or amazed when we think about God?  We should be, but I think many times we are too busy to feel the full impact of these words, to allow ourselves to dwell on God’s majesty.

God is Father.  Who is the father of our modern life?  Fathers don’t have the same authority as they had when Moses brought the commandments down from Mt. Sinai.  Then Father was the total authority of his home, he had the ability to give blessings on his sons and daughters that had not only financial, but also spiritual meaning. The authority of father has been changed in our modern society.  These changes are not bad, but they have redefined what we comprehend when we hear the word.  In prayer, as His child, I don’t bow, or prostrate myself to be heard, I speak to my Father in a way that may be considered in light of the historic term, wreck loose.

If you spend much time with me, you will know that I cry easily at things religious.  I love God for so many reasons, but I don’t think it is the love that sets me off, it is the torture of my soul to be united with my creator.  As body and blood, we can’t know God, but in that day when we move from this realm into the realm of spirit we will “understand as we are understood” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  Like so many people in our society today, I am without family.  I am blessed that God has given me friends, so I am not lonely or anxious about that aspect of my life.  The truth is we are all alone.  We are never known fully, even by our most intimate friend or spouse.  We touch the world through our own experiences and those experiences create for each of us a different world, a different understanding even when we are together in it.

We are asked to go to God in a prayer closet and I know why.  Only in a closet, a small place devoid of the daily distractions of living can we quiet our brain enough to try to touch even a small essence of who God is.  Just as we all experience things with more than one of our senses, I am conscious of this in me and it has a tendency to put me into overload.  I have a contemplative spirit, and am forced by my own excesses to escape to solitude and quiet, yet even in that quiet place, I am constantly avoiding the question of God.  I want to experience Him in a sensory way, but I know there is something internal, in my soul, that needs to be released to ever begin to comprehend Him.  And if I give my spirit completely, turned myself over to this Spirit of God, I will become a puddle on the floor, unable to express except through tears the magnitude of His presence.

There is a song by Casting Crowns that defines us as vapor in the wind, a drop within the ocean.  How can we possibly know the total of God?  I only ask that you take time to try.

All Scriptures are New International Version

The Secret of Effective Prayer

Helen Smith Shoemaker

1/29/2017

Grand Villa of St. Petersburg Senior Living

Glenda Brunson, Instructor

Introductions of the Author:

The author, Helen Smith Shoemaker’s obituary.  (1903- 1993)  Prayer warrior.   The article sums up her life as an author, sculptor, and church leader, died of a stroke at Meridan Healthcare Center in Brooklandville, Md.  She was 89.  (1 )

The former Helen Dominick Smith was born in New York City. She was the daughter of the late H. Alexander Smith, who was a U. S. senator from New Jersey from 1944 to 1958, and Helen Babcock Dominick.

Helen Smith Shoemaker (March 16, 1903-January 29, 1993) was an American author, sculptor, and Episcopalian church leader, and Co-founder and Co-founder of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer.(2)

Biographical Points: Born in New York City. Educated in Colorado, Princeton, New Jersey, and Florence, Italy.  She studied art in Paris and New York .Attracted to Moral Re-Armament Movement (MRA) in the 1920’s in New York.

She met and married Dr. Samuel Moor Shoemaker (December 27, 1893 – October 31, 1963). He was considered as one of the best preachers in that era.  He served as rector of Calvary Episcopal Church.  (3)

Shoemaker’s contribution and service to Alcoholic’s Anonymous had a worldwide effect.  The philosophy that Shoemaker codified in conjunction with Bill Wilson, is used in almost every country around the world to treat alcoholism.  Similar programs are used to help relatives of alcoholics, as well as people suffering with other addictions such as to narcotics. (3)

Introduction to the Course:  This is the third time I’ve taught from this book, The Secret of Effective Prayer.  I wrote a Reading Guide to assist with the study and learning process.  This Guide is helpful, because our group and other bloggers will be able to track the intended answers by the page numbers that are provided.

Introduction to the Book, The Secret of Effective Prayer by Helen Smith Shoemaker, Word Book, Waco Texas, 1967. Homewords Group members have provided books for the participants of the prayer group.

1. Helen Smith Shoemaker | Helen S. ShoemakerAuthor, church …

articles.baltimoresun.com/…/1993032061_1_calvary-episcopal-urologic-surgery-shoe

2.Helen Smith Shoemaker – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Smith_Shoemaker

3. Sam Shoemaker – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Shoemaker

Week 2 Part 1 Chapters 1-6 will cover pages 14-37.

What Does Sharing Everything for God Mean to You?

Acts:3:1-16; Acts 4:1-32

As we navigate through this earthly life, we need constant communication with our God. As believers, the Holy Spirit lives within to guide, support and comfort. We also have the Word of God, wherein we can find answers and instructions for all life’s questions. Let us always go the Word and meditate on what THE BIBLE REVEALS.

  1. THE STORY UNFOLDS: Acts 3:1-10

A crippled man who routinely lay at the temple gate called Beautiful, saw Peter and John one day and as always begged for alms/money.  Peter’s reply to him was:

Acts3:6—- “silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk”. NOTE: The man healed began to run, jump and praise God. Others saw and recognized him as the crippled beggar. “They were all filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened”. (Acts 3:10b)

2. HOW HEALING CAME: Acts 3:13,16

The people watching while astonished were also perplexed. Peter addressed their surprise and their questioning stares and said:

Acts 3: 13—- “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers has glorified His servant Jesus”.

Acts 3:16—– “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

3. PETER AND JOHN ARRESTED: Acts 4:1-4

As usual, the religious rulers were upset the disciples were gathering so many people and preaching about Jesus. The disciples were arrested and held overnight for court the following day.

Acts 4:3—-“They seized Peter and John and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day”. NOTE: see footnote 4:3—No judgements conducted during  evening hours.

4. HIGH PRIEST QUESTION PETER AND JOHN’S AUTHORITY

Peter and John were brought before the high priest at the Sanhedrin Council the next day and asked:

Acts 4:7—- “by what power or what name did you do this”

5. PETER’S RESPONSE:

Acts 4:10 —“then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead that this man stands before you healed”.

Acts 4:12—- “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved”.

6. OFFICIALS STUMPED/SATAN AGAIN DEFEATED:

Acts 4: 14—- “but since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.

7. OFFICIALS DEMAND/DISICPLES STAND FIRM

The Demand— Acts 4:15-18 “So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin…. to stop this thing….to speak no longer to anyone in this name”.

Peter and John’s stand—Acts 4: 19-20 “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard”.

8. GOD CAN USE ANYONE TO FULFILL HIS PLAN, EVEN UNBELIEVERS

Acts 4:21—- “….they let them go. They could not decide how to  punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened”.

9.THE BELIEVERS’S PRAYER: ACTS 4: 23-32

Peter and John returned to their people and reported all that had happened. Everyone then raised their voices together in prayer.

Acts 4:29—-  “….enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus”.

NOTE: ALL PRAYED TO CONTINUE TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT JESUS AND DO GOD’S WILL. WHAT IS YOUR PRAYER LIFE LIKE? 

10. GOD’S PLAN CANNOT BE ALTERED—THE CRUCIFIXION

Acts 4:28—The people prayed….. “They did what your power and will had decided before hand should happen”. NOTE: see footnote Acts 4:28—“Not that God had compelled them to act as they did, (the Crucifixion) but he willed to use them and their freely chosen acts to accomplish His   saving purpose”.

NOTE: REMEMBER GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL

11. GOD’S PURPOSE FULFILLED

Acts 4:31—- “after they prayed…..they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly”.

NOTE: IS YOUR PURPOSE IN LINE WITH GOD’S?

12. Acts 4:32—- “all the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had”.

NOTE: SCRIPTURE INDICATES THE PEOPLE SHARED PERSONAL POSSESSIONS. WHAT DOES SHARING EVERYTHING FOR GOD MEAN TO YOU?

Thelma Bruce

“When You Pray to God, What do You Expect to Happen?”

Matthew 11:9-13
“So I say: Ask and it will will be given unto you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

If you then, though you are evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

When you pray to God, do you really expect a positive response?  Do you expect a response at all? If you are unsure how to answer this question, like many of us may be, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the kind of relationship you have with the heavenly Father.

When is the last time you really talked to God?  When was the last time you really listened to God?  Maybe your prayer-style has not been a conversation where active-listening was used at all.  Here’s an example, a family member comes to talk to you,  the person immediately starts to apologize for not coming sooner or more often.  The person talks about how badly they now need your help with a list of favors, immediately. They further explain their desperation and their need for help as they urge you to get busy answering their requests.  Is this example close to your/family member prayer style?

This would be the time to guide this family member through prayer, because it’s God’s guidance, through you that’s needed. It does little good, I feel, to say to someone who’s wings of faith are in their infancy, “just pray about it!”

Blackaby and King tells us in their book, Experiencing God If you do not have clear instructions from God in a matter,

-Pray and wait

-Learn patience

-Depend on God’s timing

-His timing is right and best.(pg. 75)

Now, we are not God, nor do we understand the mind of God or His Ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).  God is however, availing Himself to us, each day through prayer.

“Prayer is a Relationship to a Person.”

“Prayer is a two-way fellowship and communication–you speak to God and He speaks to you.  Prayer is not a one-way conversation in which you merely list everything you want God to do.  Your personal prayer life may have been primarily one-way communication–you talking to God–but we now learn that prayer is much more than that.

” Prayer includes listening.  In fact, what God says in prayer is far more important than what you say. God already knows what you are going to say.  You, however, do not know what God is thinking.

Prayer is a relationship, not just a religious activity.  Its purpose is to adjust you to God, not align God to your thinking.  God doesn’t need your prayers. but He does want you to pray because of what He wants to do in and through your life as you pray.  God speaks to His people by the Holy Spirit through prayer.” (1, pp 107-108)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing each of us the privilege of communicating with you through the gift of prayer.  We don’t take this gift for granted, but use it to stay on-task with you as we constantly receive your guidance for our lives.  Enrich our prayer life, we pray.  In your name. Amen.

 

1. Blackaby, Henry & Richard, King,Claude, Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing The Will of God.  Lifeway Press 1990. Revised 2007.

2. Scripture from: The New International Version Study Bible, Zondervan, 1973.

 

Originally in Homewords News,July 2011

 

 

“When a Christian Freaks Out!” Romans 6:11-14

Romans 6:11-14

“In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore do no let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

Have you seen Christians who freak out (v. lose or cause to lose emotional control from extreme excitement, shock, fear, joy, despair, etc.) regularly?  I mean someone who is prone to lose all self-control.  If you stood next to a professing non-believer when they’re in the middle of their tirade; you’d be unable to distinguish who was the unbeliever.

Have you talked to a Christian friend who was able to openly admit to “freaking out” due to a major unexpected life-event? It may have been losing a job, a home foreclosure, adult children issues, older-parent issues, or maybe even the unexpected death of a loved-one.

What can we do when a Christian is “freaking-out?”  That’s the time to encourage them to fervently pray to God. (Psalm 32:5-6) Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.”

I had an occasion just last week when I was “freaking-out”.  It was just a little thing.  My work schedule changed, unexpectedly and I allowed it to cause a domino-effect, because there were things I needed to get done before leaving home for work. My well-ordered morning schedule of the past weeks was in disarray, and I needed to either move faster, slow the clock down, or just leave some things undone.  Instead of choosing, I “freaked out” , the old sin-nature took over faster than you can imagine and it scared me to the point that I stopped, got a pen and completed a Behavioral Observation on myself.  I spoke to God, “Lord, you are too good to me, for me to act like this!”

When I finished the exercise, God had taken control of the situation, and put me back together again in an amazing way! God’s grace (Unmerited favor) is sufficient. I’m hoping that admitting to “freaking-out” though embarrasing, may help someone during a “crisis of belief” to trust God instead of “freaking-out.”

Prayer: “Lord, please help us to confidently put our trust in you to keep us and life’s situations under control before we over-react, during our crisis of belief. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Article Originally in Homewords News, July 2011

 

 

Jesus Prays for All Believers – John 17:20-26

 

 John’s gospel gives us an account of Jesus taking the time prior to His arrest, to pray for all Believers. He prayed for Himself (John 17:1-5), His disciples (John 17:6-19), and for all believers (John 17:20-26). Just think about that for a moment, Jesus, our Lord and Savior praying for us. The New International Version of the Bible in the footnote to John 17:20 states: “Jesus had just spoken of the mission and the sanctification of His followers (vv18-19). He was confident that they would spread the gospel, and He prayed for those who would believe as a result. All future believers were included in this prayer.”

Let’s continue to follow Jesus’ example by praying daily for all believers. Let’s especially ask God to lead us “not into temptation.” That we learn to recognize the triggers that can cause us to commit sin in thought, words, or deeds.

Let’s also pray that we understand that God does love us and that we put on that love each day and share it with all people by treating them to a “heaping helping” of God’s love.

Prayer: Jesus, we thank you for praying for us. We ask that you give us the courage to pray for others. In your name, Amen.

All Scripture from The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995.

 

(Reprint from Homewords Small Group Bible Study Ministry, Facebook, Sepetember 2010)