|Volume 18 Number 11 November 2016||
Ronald D. Reeves
Our personal prayers are both unique and very meaningful to each one. They maintain our spiritual connection to the Lord and assist in relieving personal anxiety concerning challenges in life. Yet, all of our prayers have this in common: they may be hindered by a variety of circumstances. Following are some things that hinder prayers. (1) Harboring secret sin in the heart will cut off communication with God (Psalm 66:18). (2) Unbelief will hinder one’s prayer life (James 1:6-7). (3) Selfishness will assure no results from one’s prayers (James 4:3). (4) An unforgiving spirit will hinder the divine reception of prayer (Mark 11:25). (5) A lack of patience may cause failure in one’s prayer life (Luke 18:1-7). (6) Formalism can hinder personal prayers (Luke 18:9-14). (7) A failure to live with one’s spouse in a God-approved manner may hinder our prayers (1 Peter 3:7). With these things in mind, may we cleanse our hearts and “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (James 1:6). Yes, our divine Heavenly Father continues to answer prayers. We must remember that He does so according to His will rather than according to our wills. May each of our prayers be pleasing to the Lord.
From Rags to Rugs
For as long as I can remember my grandmother has made rugs on her loom in her basement. She has taken old rags such as jeans, shirts and other various materials that are long past their use and turned them into beautiful rugs. I have 14 of them all throughout the house, and they mean so much to me. It truly is remarkable how someone can take what others have discarded and turn it into something special.
This is what God has done with us. We were broken with sin and guilt, and He made us whole. Think about the words of Isaiah, “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool’” (1:18). God can take our sins that have stained our souls crimson and make them white as snow. While others may cast us away, God is the One that can make us new.
Paul wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). At one time, we were lost and without hope in the world, but God made us new for good works. Just like rags that are of no value but are turned into useful rugs, God changes us and makes us useful in His kingdom.
Too often, we devalue ourselves when we are priceless to God. Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We need to see the value in us that God sees in us! He wants all to be saved for all are His creation!
We must also remember that others should not be cast away because we are practicing partiality. James warns against this. “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (2:8-9).
Everyone has a place in the body of Christ. “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (1 Corinthians 12:17-18). If worthless rags can be turned into priceless rugs, our lives can be changed into lives of righteousness!