Do you put God first?

If we’re honest, none of us puts God first.  I personally think all of us are so self-absorbed that we mainly think about ourselves.  If you don’t agree with me, just please think about it for a day.  Be brutally honest with yourself and see who you love with all of your heart, all of your mind and all of your strength?  God or yourself?

As born-again believers, we hate this about ourselves.  We want to love God.  We know we should love God.  We want to make God #1 in our lives.  But we fail.

I love this quote by my pastor (who is mainly my pastor through his radio ministry; I do attend his church, but only once a month.)  Anyway, here’s the quote:

“Jesus does not want you to reserve time for Him; that’s not what He wants. What He wants is for you to take Him with you into your time.”

(Aaron Budjen; Radio Archive; “First Place in your Life.”)

If you are interested, here is the link to the 27-minute radio program.

Is there power in prayer? A Q&A by Aaron Budjen of Living God Ministries.

“I do not believe in the power of prayer. I only believe in the power of God.”

This article can be found here; it is posted at the Q&A section of Aaron’s website.

QUESTION:

I am preparing a sermon on prayer, and was wondering what your thoughts might be on the subject.

ANSWER:

As I see prayer expressed in Christianity today, I really believe there is a very fine line between prayer and witchcraft. In witchcraft, prayer is exercised as a means of getting spiritual entities to respond in a way to inflict good on some other person. Of course the witch determines what is good and what is evil, and either the overall spiritual consciousness or individual spirits respond to the prayer being invoked. The concept of believing in the power of prayer did not originate from the recent Christian mantras, but has been a fundamental tenant of witchcraft for many ages.

I do not believe in the power of prayer. I only believe in the power of God. Now, many Christians respond to me when I say this in agreement with me, but in their hearts they really don’t believe me. They truly believe that God is going to respond to them because of their prayers to Him, and hide their pride by saying something like, “if it’s the will of God.” However, deep down inside they really believe that they can have an influence on God, and that they now have some mystical power they can draw on to effectively inspire or even control the hand of God. While this is certainly very attractive to our flesh, prayer has nothing to do with getting God to respond to us.

God is so often portrayed in the same way that God is portrayed in witchcraft. He is some kind of impersonal spiritual essence that we call upon when life isn’t going the way we want it to go. Many Christians have no idea that God is a real person, who is actively living His life as we live ours. He inspires people, and communicates with them. He effects events and sometimes intervenes in miraculous ways in the affairs of mankind. But He decides when, how, and what He will do regardless of what we tell Him we would like Him to do. He does retain His autonomy and sovereignty quite often in spite of us.

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-7 that we are to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. It is a comfort to me when I experience anxiety that I can speak to God and He hears me. However, as my focus is turned towards Him, I recognize His love for me, and can experience a peace that can only come from Him. This is not because I think He is going to respond to me and give me what I want, but because I recognize who He is in the midst of my circumstances.

You can’t imagine how people are often offended when they ask me what they should be praying for me in my life, and I respond with the fact that I’m not particularly anxious about anything at the moment. It is so offensive because they personally are often consumed with their own anxiety, and they can’t pray anything for me to make themselves feel like they are concerned more about others than themselves. Don’t let such a comment stop you from praying for me, in fact, this may inspire you to pray for me more if you don’t agree with me, but let it be put on your heart by the Spirit of God within you to pray for me if He inspires you to do so. And if He inspires you to pray for me, I can’t imagine Him not also telling you what to pray for. Otherwise, prayer can easily become a mechanism and a religious excuse to stir up gossip.

In my own personal life experience, I have found my life of prayer to be more a time of expressing thanks than asking God for something. He has given me everything I need for life and godliness, 2 Pet 1:3. So, what can I ask for that I don’t already have? Generally what I don’t need for life and godliness. Should I really expect God to respond to that? Not necessarily. Don’t get me wrong. There are many occasions when I do pray and make requests that appear to be directly related to my flesh. The important thing to realize is that this does not have anything to do with my relationship with my God. So often people ask for Him to do what He never came to do, and reject that which He already gave. All that remains is the giving of thanks, which I do as I pray and live my life with a dependency on Him. Subsequently my prayer life becomes more an act of listening than of talking, wanting to hear from Him about what He has given me, and how it applies to my life.

Aaron Budjen

 

Jesus gives life

“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,

even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.” (John 5:21.)

Jesus Christ spoke these words to the religious leaders in Jerusalem after He healed the man at the Pool of Bethesda. The story is told in John chapter 5.  I am currently listening to (obsessively, over and over again) a Bible Study on this story.

The Bible Study is by Aaron Budjen of Living God Ministries, and it is available for free as an audio download here.

It is mind blowing to learn all of the subtle details involved in this important healing described in John chapter 5.  So, I am writing today to highly recommend that you listen to this 4-part Bible Study; it will only take you a few hours — each message is 25 minutes long.

But, that verse! “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.”

And what about this one, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)

It is clear.  Jesus came to give us life.

His mission on earth was not to show us how to live a perfect life — none of us can ever live up to His standard — but to die for the forgiveness of sins, and then to rise from the dead so that He could make His LIFE available.  You receive His life when you believe in the gospel, by responding to Him with faith and trusting completely in His mercy and grace.

The gospel is such good news!  We were born spiritually dead, because we are all born in Adam.  But we can be made alive by receiving His life — His Holy Spirit — to dwell within us!  And that life is eternal.

When you listen to the programs on The Healing at Bethesda you will learn that the man who was healed did not want what Jesus came to offer!  The religious leaders, the Scribes and the Pharisees (for the most part) did not want what Jesus came to offer.  Most people will reject Him, and will say that the gospel is foolishness.  They do not want what Jesus came to offer.

What about you?  Have you received His life?