1 Thessalonians 5:16 – Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – If we continue in prayer, through the good times and the bad, if we thank God for the good and thank Him for being with us in the bad, we can learn the secret of being joyful always.
My Advice – Don’t let the pursuit of happiness be your primary motivation. It will disappoint you because happiness depends upon circumstances. Rather let the pursuit of joy be your motivation. You can have joy despite the circumstances.
John 15:7 – “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (NIV 1978)
My Musings – This is no blank check to ask for things out of greed or that are otherwise self-serving. If we remain in Him and His words remain in us, we will be so closely in step with Him that the things that we ask for will be His will.
My Advice – This is the “secret” to being successful by God’s standards (and there can be no better standard). You would be wise to follow the advice that Jesus gave.
Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – This needs to a regular practice for believers. We need alone time, where there are no distractions. Distractions can come from our environment (went off), others (solitary), and our daily agenda (early).
My Advice – You need to spend time with God each day. The mornings are best, since they get you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.
Psalm 145:18 – The LORD is near to all who call on him. (NIV 1984)
My Musings – At times, He seems distant to me, most likely because I have distanced myself from Him, not because He does not want to be close to me. At times, my prayers seem to go no further than the ceiling, but that does not mean that He is not listening. At times, I feel so empty of Him, but that does not mean His Spirit has departed from me.
My Advice – If you feel the same at times, ask yourself what I ask myself – “who moved?” Like the prodigal, we may have fallen, but we can “fall back.” We can return. Like the prodigal’s Father He’s watching for our return.
Jonah 2:2 – “In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Unfortunately, we often wait until we are in distress or the depths of despair before we call upon the Lord. We need to be in constant communion with Him, not just when we need His help.
My Advice – Do not restrict your calling on God to when times are bad. You would not like your friends, family or anyone else to treat you like that and you do not want to treat God like that.
Joel 2:32 – And everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – This promise is not just reserved for the unsaved. It holds out a promise to those who are saved as well. If we call upon Him, He will save us from disaster, regret and discipline.
My Advice – When in trouble, call out to God. He will deliver you. When you’ve fallen into sin, call out to God, He will forgive you.
Daniel 9:18 – We do not make requests of you because you are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Because we are saved, we are considered righteous in God’s eyes. Righteous because of the blood of Jesus. Nevertheless, when we approach God with requests we should understand we are able to do so because of His mercy.
My Advice – Do not be self-righteous when asking God to answer your prayers. Be humble and recognize that it is only because of His mercy that you can ask for anything in the first place.