Tag Archives: Christian

Galatians 4:8-20 – Back in Bondage or Living Free

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted. (Galatians 4:8-11 NRSV)

Before we became Christians we were slaves to false gods who were in fact no gods at all. One person’s god might have been alcohol, another’s could be evolution, and someone else’s the false gods of Hinduism or some other religion. On the surface these gods give freedom, but in reality all they bring is slavery, but a slavery that those enslaved cannot see.

Once we have become a Christian we now know God and more importantly, he now knows us. This is as real a relationship as any physical relationship – if anything more real – as we are now spiritually alive and our spirit and the rest of us is now known by the Living God. This is true life and freedom.

Knowing this it is no wonder that Paul is shocked and incredulous that they are turning back to legalism, slavery and bondage instead of living in the permanent Sabbath and Jubilee that is in Christ Jesus.

The spiritual eyes of the Galatians seem to be closed, and so they seem to be back to living solely by natural sight. It is no wonder that Paul is shaking his head in frustration.

It is no wonder that about 10 years later when Paul writes to the Ephesian Christians that he says how he is praying, ‘that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.’ (Ephesians 1:18-19 NIB) It is so important that we pray for spiritual light, life and growth for each other so we don’t turn our back on the great salvation that we have in Jesus!

Heavenly Father, open our eyes to see if we have slipped back into bondage and slavery in our lives, or if we are living in the fullness of all that you have for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer is … #1 Adventure

Here goes our adventure into prayer.  So what is more natural than to start by saying that prayer is an adventure.  It is not just any adventure, but one into more of God.

For everyone prayer is a journey.  I shall share some of my prayer journey, my prayer adventure, in this post.  Why because you may be able to connect with my story in this post, and it will help you all to get to know me a bit better.

My prayer adventure started as a child, like most children I was taught to pray with hands together and eyes closed, prayer was a formality there was nothing real about it.  Now here’s a thought, to pray with hands together and eyes closed is not in the Bible at all, so should we pray like that or teach our children to pray like that?  I’ll look at that more in another post sometime!

When I was at university, I started being interested in the things of God, I thought I was a Christian because I had nominally been brought up that way, but in fact I wasn’t.  Prayer was interesting, I prayed formally in chapel and less formally in the Anglican Christian Union, then I started going along to NCCF (New College Christian Fellowship) and here I experienced prayer that really connected with God for the first time, this had me extremely interested!

When one of my friends asked me if I would like to go to a half-night of prayer they were having, I jumped at it!  Here there was prayer, worship and some teaching all combined.  People prayed in different ways for different things, including praying out loud together (all at the same time) in tongues or English.  This spoke to me, I knew that their unknown languages were from God, and that their prayer in general that evening was somehow connecting with God in a big way.

I became a Christian when I was baptised in the Holy Spirit like Cornelius in Acts 10, now prayer became real to me, as it was based in a relationship with God.  I got things wrong at times, but I also saw prayer answered as we prayed together for people to be healed of things, and they were healed.

I soon got involved in a church prayer meetings, prayer meetings with para-church organisations, and spent time praying alone with God.  I read books on prayer which I brought from Canaan bookshop where I was working on Saturdays.

Some of the books I read included,

  • Rees Howells, Intercessor, Norman Grubb;
  • Learning the Joy of Prayer, Larry Lee;
  • Prayer the Key to Revival, Paul Yonggi Cho.

I went to a prayer conference in 1991 (I think) praying for London as a financial centre for it to be shaken which it has been substantially since then.  On the second day we prayer walked, the group I was in for the Bank of England, and we prayed for finance to be released for the Kingdom of God, and God gave a sign to us (a 5p piece) that he would.

After university, I got married and life and prayer continued, sometimes prayer was easy and sometimes it was hard.  But about 2001 I fell in and for quite some time all my prayer were tears and asking the question ‘Why?’, which I never got an answer for, but despite that I held onto one thing.  That God would never abandon mr like the Father had to abandon Jesus on the cross and turn his face away because of my sin.  God healed me over about 1 1/2 years after I was given a prophetic word that he would heal me.

Since then God has grown me a great deal, to where I am now.  I fought with him in prayer like Jacob at the ford of the Jabbok (see Day 4. Practice – Wrestling With God – When Intimacy Gets Personal).

Where am I now?  God is calling me to lead prayer, and to grow churches in prayer, both in its depth and breadth, and helping to restore prayer to the place it should have in this land.  Why?  To see revival and this nation restored to God!  To God alone be the glory! Amen!

What is your prayer journey like?  Do you see it as an adventure?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Day 3. Initiate – I Am A Christian Communicator & Prayer Specialist.

I am a Christian Communicator & Prayer Specialist.

I am writing this for Day 3 of 15 Habits of Great Writers.  On Day 3 we are getting personal, if we haven’t already by saying that we are all writers.

What am I? Well for starters I am a Christian.  It is an integral part of who I am, and I hope comes through in all that I do whether overtly Christian or not.

What am I? Am I an author? Am I a blogger?  Am I a tweep?  I would say that I am a communicator, in that I do not want to limit myself to any one platform, or type of media.  People have different learning styles, and to engage with everyone I will need to engage as many of their senses as possible, and some people will only learn by doing what they are learning.

All forms of communication are equally valid, technology in itself is generally neutral (there are some exceptions), it can be used for good or for ill.  How can I use Twitter or a blog to share my life and my faith?  And how can I use the internet as a tool for growing prayer in the Kingdom of God.  This is journey I am still exploring, and leads me onto my last statement about myself.

I would class myself as a prayer specialist.  What do I mean by this? I mean that for me prayer is at the heart of who and what I am.  My longing is for Christians and the church, personally and corporately, to grow in prayer, as the two go hand in hand.

I do not see a church in all its facets, I see it through one lens, that of prayer.  If you ask a youthworker you would think the most important thing in church life would be the youthwork or lack thereof, and it would be quite rightly so as that is their area of responsibility and calling.  That is how I am with prayer.  I long to see churches grow in their prayer-lives and turn their prayer outwards with them advancing in Kingdom focused prayer, then they will find that God meets all their other needs as well.

Well, ‘That’s me’ to quote the title of an Abba song.  You can take me or leave me, that is up to you, but I am me.  I will not apologise for what I am, as that is what God has made me.  I am still growing, and I will only worry if ever I feel that I no longer need to grow.  Until then I am on a journey, a pilgrimage to a better place because of my relationship with the Author and Creator of all things, with God himself.

To God be the Glory! Amen!

Day 2. Believe – I Write Because I Am A Writer.

I write because I am a writer.  This may seem obvious, but so often we think the converse is true.  I am a writer because I write.

The question is, ‘What defines me?’, is it what I do, or what I am?  Here is another example.  Does going to church or praying make you a Christian? No!  But if you are a Christian then you will go to church and pray.

If you or I take our definition and identity from what we do, then we are never secure.  We are like butterflies, we may seem beautiful, but we are fragile and are easily blown around by what is going on outside us, we have no real inner strength.  It is true from Chaos Theory that there is the butterfly effect where one wing beat could cause a hurricane, but there is no intentionality or real control of the situation.  You are like a ripple in a pond, just a part of the larger whole.

If, on the other hand, I know who I am regardless of what I am doing then I am always secure.  Then I am like a mighty eagle.  I am strong and powerful, and it will take quite a lot to blow me off course.  I know that I have an effect on things, but what I do is not just by accident; it is intentional, it is planned.  I am like a pebble cast into the pond.  I initiate things, I make waves!

So I write because I am a writer.  I am a Christian, saved by the grace and mercy of God.  Like Richard Teasdale this is central to my writing, it has been ever since I became a Christian which is now over 22 years ago.  I am a writer. Yes, I am!  But I am only a writer because that is how God has made me.  I want to use this gift for the encouragement and edification of others and to the glory of God!