About Our Cover ...
The beautiful CASCADING stream of the Pasadena California campus of Ambassador College is certainly symbolic of the Holy Spirit Jesus said would flow out of the hearts of converted Christians (John 7:38-39 RSV). Mankind desperately needs the POWER of the Holy Spirit to achieve God's PURPOSE for human existence. And God promises to give us His Spirit as a gift — if we will ASK for it through PRAYER!
An open letter from THE EDITOR
AGAIN I am writing from my study in our cottage on the grounds of Ambassador College in England. On one side of my study, double glass doors open onto a stone terrace.
We have a very beautiful and very proud peacock on the college grounds. His hen, at present, is setting on three of her eggs in a small thatched-roofed, one-room gardeners' tool house past the far edge of the beautiful Japanese gardens. She won't move from her nest. Our gardeners take food to her. But this strutting peacock is perfectly willing to move from the vicinity of the nest.
Do you know, I almost think he must be endowed with a bit of human nature! When the gardeners let him out for the day, I usually find him on the terrace just outside my glass doors looking in. And when he is not there, he is quite likely to be found looking in the floor-length glass windows which extend across one side of our living room.
Repeatedly, again and again and again, I have tried to shoo that peacock away from our terrace. But always he comes back. Today our head gardener explained the reason. In his best Welsh accent, he said:
"That proud bird struts up on your terrace because he can see and admire himself in the glass of the windows and the doors!"
It is quite evident this peacock thinks very well of himself. He can't have many brains — there simply isn't room in his small but brilliantly colored blue head. But then it doesn't seem to take a large head to be filled with vanity, pride, and self-admiration! Yes, sometimes I think our peacock is almost human — and he can be just about as annoying!
This bird is ALL SELF! And is that so different from most humans? Suppose we put other things out of mind for a few moments and give this a little serious thought!
Every really GOOD thing comes from GOD. He is Creator, Sustainer, Ruler of the Universe! He alone can fill us with happiness and joy — rid us of fears and worries — give peace of mind and security and faith — supply every need — make our lives interesting, thrilling, ABUNDANT — give us every BEAUTY, in the around, and the within! He alone can give us every blessing NOW, and eternal life FOREVER! The greatest possible sin is that which cuts one off from the Giver of all blessings, here, and hereafter! To break the very first Commandment — to have another god before the one and only TRUE God — THAT is the greatest sin.
Yet knowingly or unknowingly, everyone has committed it. But that, of itself, is not the unpardonable sin. God HAS provided a way of forgiveness, justification of the guilty past, and direct contact with HIM.
That WAY is to crucify the false god of SELF — the way of REPENTANCE toward God, and FAITH toward Jesus Christ. But what is REPENTANCE? It seems most do not know! One summer I received a letter from one of our baptizing teams that was touring America, visiting the hundreds who have written to me requesting baptism. The first CONDITION before baptism is REPENTANCE. This is what the leader of this baptizing team wrote:
"So many of those we have met are just not repentant. They are quite proud of their past, saying how sincere they have been, and how thankful they are that God has rewarded their efforts and allowed them to find the truth." Like the Israelites of old, with whom God was grieved forty years, they are GOOD in their own eyes!
You know, I think this peacock is good in his own eyes, too! But how much GOOD is there in human beings? Yes, HOW MUCH? How much GOOD is there, after all, in human nature?
I have said through the years, on occasion, that there is good as well as evil in human nature — that it is a mixture of good and evil — and that this is a bad mixture. In the HUMAN manner of looking at it, there does seem to be GOOD, as well as evil. But let's take a more realistic look at ourselves — as GOD sees us — and see whether I may not have to confess publicly I have been in error in saying there is GOOD in human nature.
PHOTO CAPTION: PEACOCK — Like the proud bird on the grounds of Ambassador College, England, this bird probably looks good in his own eyes, too!
To REPENT means more than being thankful you are so GOOD that you have been able to see the TRUTH; and you are so GOOD that you are now accepting it. THAT IS NOT REPENTANCE! If our baptizing teams should baptize such persons, the LIVING Jesus Christ will call them to stern account in the Judgment! They MUST ask such "good" people to defer baptism until they REPENT!
REPENTANCE results not only from real godly sorrow for what you HAVE DONE, but for WHAT YOU ARE, as well.
Now, just WHAT ARE YOU?
I said, above, the most terrible sin is to have another god which CUTS YOU OFF from the true GOD. And all have been cut off! All have sinned! The vast majority of all humans have no real consciousness of God at all. God is not REAL to them. It is as if the blue sky above were a huge earth-encircling IRON CURTAIN about 100 miles thick, of some kind of the hardest, most solid blue-tinted IRON — impenetrable — and God is on the other side!
THIS WORLD is totally CUT OFF from God — just as if such a vast barrier shut the world off from all knowledge of God. To most, He simply does not exist. Oh, of course, most people have HEARD that there is a God up there somewhere — but they have been shut off totally from contact, and He is as unreal as if nonexistent!
What, then, is the heart, center, and very CRUX of this whole thing? It is this: The consciousness of the average person centers BASICALLY only on SELF, and those persons, things, or interests with which SELF is concerned.
And, in its larger sense, ALL of that is, simply, SELF! And what, then, IS SELF?
First of all, there is the LOCAL SELF. This self includes your mind and your body. There also are three dimensions — and this is the first — the WITHIN.
But the SELF is not limited alone to the WITHIN — the actual PERSON — his mind and body. Beyond and surrounding the LOCAL SELF is the EMPIRICAL SELF. This expands the SELF to the second dimension — THE AROUND.
This encircling and expanding EMPIRICAL SELF includes, first of all, what most closely is OWNED by the SELF — as human society would recognize ownership — starting with your own clothing, your home or place of abode, your wife or husband, children, your automobile, your home furniture and furnishings, gadgets, other property located farther away — all those people and things one regards as BELONGING TO HIM! In one's mind and heart, they become a part of SELF. If some force, occurrence or happening takes away or destroys one or more of these possessions, the SELF suffers.
I have mentioned an automobile manufacturer I knew, who lost all his wealth and most of his possessions in the crash economic depression of 1920. SO much of SELF had been stripped from him that he did away with what little remained — by suicide.
If the SELF loses an arm, an eye, a leg, SELF is deeply hurt, because he has lost a part of self. By nature he feels no person or circumstance has a right to deprive him of what he considers HIS! In the same manner one grieves over the loss of a husband, wife, child, or "loved one" — or even close friend.
Why is this? Analyze it! Is it not because BY NATURE he has the sensatory FEELING — the attitude of mind — that something that is HIS has been taken from him; and therefore the SELF resents the loss, feels wounded, and grieves? One may not consciously REALIZE that this is the very source of his grieving, of course. Nevertheless, it is the real, if unrecognized, cause.
Now as the circle AROUND the local self widens, it expands to include relatives, closest friends, social friends and fraternal "brothers," or "sisters," business friends, then lesser friends. Beyond that, the "party spirit" in human nature widens to include whatever athletic team he is rooting for, his political party, and beyond that, his feeling of patriotism for his NATION. And, finally, being consciously a member of the HUMAN RACE, his empirical SELF subconsciously expands to INCLUDE THE WHOLE OF THIS WORLD — with its civilization, its ways, its beliefs.
And this very competitive "party spirit," being a PART of this world, and this world a part of SELF, it is only natural that there is a sense of hostility to the GOD who reveals that THIS WORLD, as well as the CARNAL SELF, IS EVIL!
And so we arrive at the realization that each man's world, as far as it extends in his consciousness, becomes A PART OF HIM — of SELF. The world's pleasures, sports, entertainments, become a part of SELF.
And what is the inherent NATURE of this SELF? Basically it is VANITY. Vanity is SELF-LOVE and SELF-EXALTATION. The very NATURE of vanity instills a love of the world, because the world is HIS world — a part of the empirical SELF.
This very human nature — vanity, self-love, self-exaltation — implants within the self the basic spirit of rivalry — the "party spirit." That is why students of one college are loyal to THEIR team in sports, but AGAINST their team's opponents. It is natural — according to NATURE — that people are loyal to their political party, opposed to the opposing party — patriotic toward THEIR country, willing to fight against and kill people of another country in war. Their sports team, their political party, their country, all these are part of their own empirical SELF.
People want to BELONG. People want to be part of a group, a club, a team, a party. And why is this?
PHOTO CAPTION: Crowd viewing a football game in the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California. A great deal of human nature is expressed at such events, as Mr. Armstrong shows in his revealing editorial.
The answer carries us a little further. When God created MAN, He formed man of the DUST OF THE GROUND. Man is composed of MATTER. But GOD is a Spirit, and God IS CREATING, NOW, man in His own image SPIRITUALLY. What God created some 6,000 years ago was the clay model, from which the Master Potter may re-form and re-shape, spiritually, the man into His spiritual CHARACTER image. As we have, already, borne the image of the EARTHY, physical — material — we SHALL, if converted, bear the image of the spiritual and heavenly (I Cor. 15:45-49). Therefore, what God created in the first Adam was NOT YET COMPLETE. Man was made carnal, material — but he was made to NEED the SPIRIT OF GOD. Without this SPIRITUAL LIFE from God, man experiences a sense of emptiness — a hunger and thirst for that which will SATISFY.
The only thing that will impart to him this sense of satisfaction, completeness, abundance, is GOD'S Spirit — God's nature — God's FULLNESS. Yet his carnal mind does not recognize that fact. Being incomplete, lacking in the spiritual waters and heavenly food — God's Word — that would FILL him to satisfaction, he has a gnawing soul-hunger that leaves him miserable, empty, discontented. He seeks to quench his thirst and satisfy his soul-hunger in the interests and pursuits and pleasures of this world.
This very lack within him — this spiritual NEED — gives him an innate INFERIORITY COMPLEX. He senses his INFERIORITY, as compared to God — his lack of what he was made to NEED; but, not understanding what it is, he seeks to quell the painful sense of inferiority by conceit, and blowing up the ego — the SELF — with vanity and SELF-exaltation. This VANITY, then, is a substitute for GOD and His spirit — another god before the true God.
Since, then, his group, his club, his team, his party, his country, HIS WORLD, is all a PART of his EMPIRICAL SELF, he exalts it, he loves it, he is loyal to it — and hostile to all opposing powers or forces. And this, too, becomes a kind of idolatry.
This world travels A WAY that is the very antithesis of THE WAY of God. Therefore, since THIS EVIL WORLD is A PART of the EMPIRICAL SELF, the carnal mind of man IS HOSTILE TO GOD! Do you now see WHY?
Human nature is SELF-LOVE. Yet this love is not true love, but LUST. The SELF, as a LOCAL SELF or taken at its widest expansion, is HOSTILE to God. It has a contrary NATURE. It travels a different road. It is part of a different team, party, or group, or world, WARRING against God and God's WAY. It is WAR — and the SELF is lined up on the side of THIS EVIL WORLD, against GOD! And this is idolatry. DO YOU begin to see why you need to REPENT of what you ARE?
In this SUPREME WAR of all wars, God Almighty will accept no terms of PEACE but UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER!
The world is the ENEMY of GOD. It is hostile to GOD. Its educators have not retained GOD or His revealed knowledge in their curricula. Its educational approach to knowledge is not from the basis of God's revelation of origins, purposes, causes and right ways, but from opposite, contrary and false concepts. Its historians in their hostility to the common enemy — GOD — have deliberately rejected Biblical historic FACT, such as the Flood, the Exodus, the Creation.
Its science, its medicine, its economics, its political structures, its social systems, its religions — ALL are hostile toward, and contrary to THE TRUTH and THE WAY of GOD!
But now look at the individual! Look at YOU! The SELF is part of this evil world of Satan. This world is PART of the empirical SELF. The very NATURE in man is SELF-LOVE.
So by nature man loves HIS WORLD. His nature is saturated with love for the things that are AT WAR AGAINST GOD. His love for, and sense of loyalty toward his group, whether small or large, means automatically A HOSTILE ATTITUDE toward whatever or whoever is opposed. So HUMAN NATURE automatically expresses resentment, jealousy, malice, spite, hatred, toward opposing parties, whether within or without his world.
You see. Satan's world IS divided against itself. A man hates soldiers of an opposing army in war — yet those soldiers are a PART of the WHOLE world, which he loves. But this love, again, is actually LUST, for it is a love of the empirical SELF!
I said that before one can be converted, he must REPENT of WHAT HE IS, as well as what he has done. And now I wonder if you see WHAT MAN IS! I wonder if YOU, now reading this, begin to see what YOU really ARE!
Man is VANITY. Man is LUST. Man is hostile to God, loyal to what is opposed to and WARRING against God and God's WAY! Man cannot find PEACE with his Maker on any terms but UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER. That means forsaking this world and its ways and hostilities.
The first thing that enters the mind of natural man when his mind is first opened to some of God's Truth, or when the first suggestion of following it enters, is: "What would my friends — family — relatives — group — say?" They will oppose. If you go over on GOD'S side in this war for all eternity, THEY will say you are crazy, condemn you, accuse you, oppose you, persecute you.
You have to decide the question, in this war, of WHOSE SIDE YOU are on!
For IT IS WAR!
War to the DEATH — and I mean ETERNAL DEATH, or else to ETERNAL LIFE. And you must choose which. You cannot have both. You must forsake utterly, and give up completely, the WORLD, and the SELF, or go on to the DEATH for eternity with it!
PHOTO CAPTION: Japanese delegation which signed World War II unconditional surrender documents aboard the USS Missouri, Sept. 2, 1945. Mankind is at war with God and must also surrender unconditionally to Him!
This world is AT WAR with God. And this world is going to LOSE — and very soon! You are living in its very last days!
You think you are pretty good? Do YOU? Well let me tell you on God's authority that you are not good, but EVIL. To use expressive language — and I hope I can drive it through and through into your consciousness — you are, spiritually, so rotten you stink — you are so foul you deserve nothing but eternal death — you are so evil, by comparison to GOD, you are NOT FIT to be called HIS SON! Yet, if you really REPENT of WHAT YOU ARE as well as the way you have lived, and REALLY turn around and go the other way, with God's power, God has provided a way of grace by which you may be redeemed, washed in Christ's blood, and actually be MADE righteous by THE HOLY SPIRIT of GOD!
HOW much GOOD is there in YOU — in your SELF?
Let GOD answer you. Don't take my word. LISTEN TO GOD!
Jesus Christ said, "... there is NONE good but One, that is, GOD" (Mat. 19:17). Will you face Christ in the Judgment and dispute Him, saying, "You were wrong, Lord — I am GOOD!"? Or will you accept, you who think you are pretty good, Christ's WORD that NONE is good, except GOD!
God's Word says to YOU: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9.) That means YOUR heart. It is spiritually SICK (see marginal rendering), and needs healing by the power of GOD.
When people came to John the baptist to be baptized, he told them how far from GOOD they were: He said " ... You brood of vipers, ... produce fruit that answers to your repentance ... any tree that is not producing good fruit will be cut down, and thrown into the fire" (Mat. 3:7-10, Moffatt translation).
If you are not bearing GOOD FRUIT, you will be thrown into the lake of FIRE. Now can a carnal human bear good fruit? Is there GOOD in a human? In John 15, Jesus Christ compares us to BRANCHES of a vine — it could be a grapevine. He is the vine, we are the branches (verse 57). A branch, He said, "cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine" (verse 4). IF we abide in Him — are in constant CONTACT, SO that HIS GOODNESS flows into and through us, we shall bring forth GOOD fruit, " ... for without me, ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered: and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (verses 5-6).
Jesus said we are known by our fruits. And a bad tree CANNOT produce good fruit. Nor can a good tree bring forth evil fruit. If you, then, are pretty GOOD — as many of you now reading this, even though already baptized and professing to be converted — think you are, and are a GOOD "tree," it is IMPOSSIBLE to bring forth bad fruit — that is, IMPOSSIBLE for you to sin. But you HAVE SINNED — SO YOU are NOT GOOD. And if you are not changed so as to produce GOOD (SPIRITUAL) FRUIT, you shall be burned up in the lake of fire (Mat. 7:17-19).
The apostle Paul said: "In me dwelleth NO GOOD THING" — or, as in the Revised Standard translation: NOTHING good dwells in me ... can WILL what is right, but I cannot do it" (Rom. 7:18).
I can WISH — WANT to do, desire, or make a resolution, to do what is right — but I cannot DO it! No, without Christ, and His power within, you have no good in you, and can do no good. A carnal human may THINK he has good — thinks good thoughts, has good intentions. But when we understand what GOOD really means, he cannot produce it!
You may say, "But I think MOTHER-LOVE is good. Is it not GOOD when a mother loves and cares for her baby?" As a carnal human looks at it — humanly, perhaps — but let's just look at this noble mother love, as an example of HUMAN "goodness." That child is one of the CLOSEST portions of her empirical SELF. She regards it as HERS — it's a part of HER — and she loves herSELF, so she loves her child. Does your carnal mind still argue that this is really SPIRITUAL GOODNESS? If so, YOU NEED TO COMPREHEND WHAT IS GOD'S GOODNESS AND REPENT!
A rich man becomes a philanthropist. Andrew Carnegie gave millions of dollars to establish public libraries in many cities. Wasn't that GOOD?
Well, LOOK AT IT a moment! He gave to HIS WORLD which he was part of and loved, didn't he? Just about all of the books in those libraries, except the few that are Bibles, are the writings of men HOSTILE to God, and the product of this world's education. Yes, Jesus Christ said the world LOVES ITS OWN, and showing love for and of the world is NOT the love of GOD. God commands us to love NOT the world, nor the things that are IN the world. And did you ever notice that Mr. Carnegie's NAME is placed on these libraries, to perpetuate his name, and uphold his vanity for generations after his death?
A man or wealthy widow donates a great art collection to an institution — but the donor's NAME is always there to exalt the "good" donor, and show off to people how "GOOD" he or she was! A person of means endows a college or university with a large sum — but it is known as the "scholarship" of the donor! And ALWAYS philanthropists see to it that their gifts go to the places and uses of THEIR CHOICE. The donation BUYS the assent of the recipient to USE it as the donor demands"
Yes, by HUMAN STANDARDS, as HUMANS view things, there may be some "GOOD" in human nature, and in people. By human standards, Joseph of Arimathaea, who buried the body of Jesus, was a "good man" (Luke 23:50), but, let JESUS CHRIST settle this question once and for all: "If ye then, BEING EVIL, know how to GIVE GOOD GIFTS (see James 1:17) unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" (Luke 11:13.)
Here is the supposed "GOOD" mother giving "good" things to her child or baby. HERE IS MOTHER LOVE — perhaps the "highest" love we can recognize in a human. And Jesus Christ says emphatically that she does it "BEING EVIL." She, herself, is EVIL inherently. And if a person is EVIL, can an evil tree bring forth GOOD (SPIRITUAL) fruit? Jesus Christ says IT CANNOT.
What kind of fruit DOES a natural man, without God's Spirit, produce? These fruits are listed. They are "... adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like" (Gal. 5:19-21).
Do we, BEING EVIL, produce GOOD fruit? Are the fruits of the flesh — of human nature — love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, GOODNESS? No, these are the fruits of GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT, which you cannot produce except GOD produce them in and through you BY His Holy Spirit. THESE are the fruits of GOD, and they can come only FROM GOD. That's why there is NO PEACE in the world!
I know many who have been baptized, and who THINK they have been converted, and ARE PRETTY GOOD IN THEIR OWN EYES! And I hope YOU of that category can know that I DO mean YOU!
But you are not as good as JOB!
Job was so "good" that even Satan could not detect any sin — any evil. Job possibly had repented of what evil he had DONE, and turned from it — for Satan could find no evil in what Job DID! But GOD found evil in what Job was! He was self-righteous! He was pretty GOOD, humanly speaking — and HE KNEW IT TOO WELL! He had spiritual VANITY — like some of YOU!
Well, how do YOU compare to GOD? Where were YOU, when GOD created this earth? Can YOU sustain, control, and rule the UNIVERSE? Or are YOU about as small, compared to GOD, as a strutting peacock? Why, you don't even have his beautiful plumage!
But you DO have the potential of coming to RECOGNIZE your own worthlessness, depravity, inherent EVIL — and REPENTING of it! You DO have the mind power, and the will, if you choose, to make the complete UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER to God, and to HIS WAYS, and HIS AUTHORITY, and HIS GOVERNMENT over your life!
And it is within your potential, if you'll pray — and FAST and pray, with your whole heart UNTIL God grants it — to REPENT, not only of what you are conscious of having DONE wrong — but of WHAT YOU ARE!
For "except ye REPENT," said Jesus, "ye shall all likewise PERISH" (Luke 13:3).
To really REPENT means to come to God completely BROKEN UP in contrition of the spirit of REBELLION that has been in your heart (oh yes, that rebellion HAS been in YOUR heart!) and to return to God "WITH ALL YOUR HEART, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning: and REND YOUR HEART ... " (Joel 2:12-13).
Do many seeking baptism take it THAT SERIOUSLY? Do YOU take it that seriously? Have you ever been really BROKEN UP about what a rotten, foul, deceitful, vain, and evil creature you have been?
It's about time many thousands of our students get their eyes opened — for THIS WORLD is nearing its END with the speed of space flight!
It is MUCH later than you think! May God help you to SEE!
This world has its TWO dimensions — the WITHIN, which is the LOCAL SELF, and the AROUND, which is the EMPIRICAL SELF! It's time to EXPAND your horizon now to the THIRD dimension — the ABOVE — on up to GOD, for every GOOD and perfect gift comes down from ABOVE — from GOD whose supreme purpose is to beget each of us with HIS SPIRIT — HIS LOVE — HIS GOODNESS — HIS very LIFE, which is ETERNAL LIFE — the only complete, full, ABUNDANT life, full of goodness, happiness, joy, and PEACE FOREVER!
THE PURPOSE OF PRAYER
PROFESSING Christians PROFESS to pray. But few actually do! And fewer, it seems, really know WHY they should pray, and WHAT TO EXPECT AS THE RESULT OF PRAYER!
Prayer is stressed in the Bible, but neglected by many because so few realize the VITAL PURPOSE for prayer.
Prayer today has degenerated into a ritual of words — a form, a ceremony, a vain liturgy of sanctimonious phraseology — an utterly meaningless OBLIGATION WITHOUT A PURPOSE!
God simply DOESN'T HEAR empty prayers!
You have heard that powerful, believing prayer can move mountains, heal incurable diseases and raise the dead. Prayer was effective for Jesus and the apostles, but too many Christians will admit their prayers aren't doing much today — if anything!
You may know HOW to pray. But many of those who know HOW to pray — DON'T PRAY! They don't grasp the vital reason WHY THEY SHOULD!
What have YOUR PRAYERS DONE LATELY? PRAYER IS SUPPOSED TO DO SOMETHING! DO YOU KNOW WHAT?
What, then, IS prayer? And WHY SHOULD WE PRAY in the first place?
Prayer is a personal, intimate, understanding communication with God Almighty. And prayer is intended to help you achieve your GOAL in life — the very PURPOSE FOR WHICH YOU WERE BORN!
Without meaningful, active and EFFECTIVE prayer, you can never hope to be born into God's Kingdom. Continuing prayer is a VITAL KEY to your salvation. And prayer, to be effective, must be continual, fervent contact with your Creator — which you ATTAIN AND MAINTAIN DAILY if you expect to receive His gift of eternal life.
Knowing the goal of salvation (covered in Lessons 41 and 42), and receiving the faith of God to achieve it (Lesson 43), will get you off to a good start. But a good start is not a guarantee of a good finish!
In order to complete God's Master Plan for your life, you MUST PRAY and YOU MUST PRAY DAILY! MAINTAINING CONSTANT CLOSE CONTACT with God Himself is absolutely essential to your salvation. For without God's instant help, you can't overcome the downward pulls of your human nature which lead to SIN!
The glory of God's Kingdom can be attained only with God's personal help through His HOLY SPIRIT. But you must PRAY TO RECEIVE IT!
Pray to Overcome Human Nature
1. Does God warn that He does not hear those who PRACTICE sin? John 9:31 and Ps. 66:18. And have ALL sinned — transgressed God's perfect spiritual law — and therefore come short of His glory? Rom. 3:23.
2. Does the apostle Paul show that no one is righteous of HIMSELF? Rom. 3:10. However, does He hear the prayers of the RIGHTEOUS? James 5:16, last part.
3. Do we sin because the NATURE of the carnal mind we are born with REBELS against God and His spiritual laws? Rom. 8:7-8. Is the human heart — which the Bible refers to as figuratively representing the basic motives and intentions of our carnal minds — wicked and deceitful ABOVE ALL THINGS? Jer. 17:9.
4. Does God, who is Creator of all things, reveal that He has created EVIL as well as good? Isa. 45:7. Then wasn't it God who created our human hearts, or minds, which are prone to evil? Ps. 33:15. See also Mat. 15:18-19 and Mark 7:21-23.
COMMENT: All of these sins — murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, covetousness — are the OUTWARD ACTS of evil thoughts conceived in the mind. They begin in our desperately treacherous and deceitful hearts (our minds) which are subject to PRIDE and VANITY. That's what God says in His Word. He ought to know. He created our minds!
God has actually given man a nature which is essentially the same as the devil's. And for a great and wonderful purpose — as we shall soon see.
5. Even though God has created the evil propensity of human nature in us, is there HOPE for us? Rom. 8:20. Why has God made us this way? Has He purposed to DELIVER US from the bondage of our corruptible human nature and bring us into His glorious kingdom? Verse 21.
COMMENT: God is creating a wonderful, eternal and glorious Family in His own CHARACTER IMAGE. And He is accomplishing it out of human clay. It was God who placed human nature — with its propensity towards evil — within us IN HOPE that we will OVERCOME it with the power of His Holy Spirit, and thus achieve His glorious Kingdom!
6. Has God plainly declared His purpose for us — the purpose in which He takes GREAT PLEASURE? Luke 12:32. Shouldn't this GOAL of service in His Kingdom — and being free of the bondage of human flesh and nature — be OUR GOAL as well? Rom. 8:23. Are we to long for it so much that we may actually "groan" within ourselves in ANTICIPATION of receiving sonship in God's Kingdom? Same verse.
COMMENT: God plainly states that He wants us to become His sons. But it is a MUTUAL GOAL! We, too, must desire with all our being to live forever in God's eternal Family.
When God declares His purpose for us, He will achieve it! Remember that He is all-powerful — that He rules heaven and earth! He has all things, and wants to SHARE them with us, and says He will make a place for us in His Kingdom. That ought to be our HOPE — OUR GOAL IN LIFE!
God has created man lowly — weak and carnal — subject to the downward pulls of human nature which lead to sin. But He does not want us to REMAIN lowly and sinful! He wants us to RISE UP ABOVE OUR NATURES by the POWER OF HIS HOLY SPIRIT, and develop His righteous, spiritual character in us.
7. Does God realize our weak frame — that we are made of perishable dust? Ps. 103:14. And does He have pity on us — have tender concern and mercy toward us? Ps. 103:13, 17.
COMMENT: Even though we are sinful by nature, we should not become discouraged. God understands our weaknesses, our failures and faults. He placed human nature in us for a PURPOSE — so that we might overcome it and grow in His holy and righteous, spiritual character.
God knows we will stumble and fall short of His goals for us. But He wants us to learn that our sins are the result of human weakness, and THAT WE NEED TO COME TO HIM — THAT HE ALONE IS OUR RESERVOIR OF STRENGTH WHO WILL GIVE US THE POWER TO OVERCOME!
8. Will God deal with us according to our sins? Ps. 103:10. Is He merciful to us if we fear to disobey Him, and have proper awe and respect for His power? Verse 11. Is it characteristic of God to be very merciful — to have mercy in abundance? Verse 8.
COMMENT: Many realize that they are inwardly wicked — that they have committed sins and need God's forgiveness. But they are ASHAMED to come to Him and they are NOT SURE He will hear their prayer. Consequently their sins REMAIN UNFORGIVEN!
9. What causes us to be ASHAMED when we come to God in prayer? Have our sins cut us off from Him? Isa. 59:1-2. Whose fault is it that we are cut off from God? Same verses. Yet will God hear our prayers if we come to Him in the RIGHT ATTITUDE? Verse 1.
COMMENT: GOD IS ALWAYS ABLE TO HEAR US! He is always WILLING to hear us if we will come to Him for forgiveness, and if we will TURN from our sinful ways. But because some are ashamed to come to God, and because some REFUSE TO ASK HIS FORGIVENESS, GOD DOES NOT HEAR THEM!
God doesn't expect us to attain perfection all at once. He knows we will commit sins and will need to turn to Him for forgiveness.
What we must realize is that God wants us to learn that our HUMAN NATURE MUST BE CHANCED and that He alone offers FORGIVENESS FOR SIN!
Therefore He COMMANDS US to PRAY! Pray for His forgiveness and the strength of His Holy Spirit to overcome the evil propensities of our carnal nature!
God knows that without His SUPERNATURAL STRENGTH — which He supplies through His HOLY SPIRIT — we would constantly yield to the evil pulls of human nature and be drawn down into sin.
And so the realization that we ARE SINFUL by nature is a fundamental reason we should pray! We must pray to receive the STRENGTH of God's Holy Spirit to be able to OVERCOME OUR HUMAN NATURE!
Why Christians Need Forgiveness
1. Did the apostle John admit that all of us — including Christians — still commit sins and come short of God's glory? I John 1:8 and Eccl. 7:20 compared with Rom. 3:23. If we say that we do not sin, are we DECEIVING ourselves? Same verses. Then isn't it plain we, of ourselves, cannot overcome our evil nature and achieve membership in God's glorious Family?
2. But will God hear us if we are willing to confess to Him the sins we commit daily? I John 1:9. And will He cleanse us from our unrighteousness — our transgression of His law? Same verse. Is that because He is faithful and just? Same verse.
COMMENT: God is absolutely just. He abides by His law. And God's law exacts the death penalty. His judgment for sinners is ETERNAL death! (Rom. 6:23.)
But God has accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in our stead to pay for sin — broken laws — if we will REPENT of our sins and have FAITH in Christ's sacrifice for our sins.
We are then no longer cut off from God because of our sins, because Jesus Christ was forsaken — cut off from God — FOR US (Mat. 27:46).
3. Is God willing that anyone should die eternal death because of sin? II Pet. 3:9. Doesn't He want everyone to repent of sins so He can forgive them? Same verse.
4. Is God alone able to forgive sins? Luke 5:21 and Dan. 9:9.
5. Did John write his admonition so that Christians might AVOID committing sin? I John 2:1. But when we stumble through weakness or temptation and commit some sin, will Christ's sacrifice be applied to us if we repent and ask for God's forgiveness? Same verse. Didn't Christ's one sacrifice pay for the sins of the entire world? Verse 2. And therefore do all who repent and ask forgiveness have Christ as THEIR ADVOCATE — someone to speak for them — at the Father's throne? Verse 1.
Christ's Office as High Priest
1. Has God given Christ a responsibility — an office of AUTHORITY — which makes it possible for Him to intercede for us as our Advocate in heaven? Heb. 5:7-10. Did Christ, while He was a human being, have to LEARN to obey through suffering? Verses 8-9. And did this therefore qualify Him to act as our High Priest? Verse 10.
2. Did the human Christ have to pray to God FERVENTLY for the SPIRITUAL STRENGTH to keep from sinning under temptation, and thus be kept from incurring the death penalty? Heb. 5:7. Was Christ thus able to overcome the very sins we have to fight daily? Heb. 4:15.
3. Because of the suffering He experienced, is Christ QUALIFIED to help us when we have need because of temptation or weakness? Heb. 4:14-15.
4. Can our very worst sins be forgiven by God? Isa. 1:18. And forgotten? Isa. 43:25.
COMMENT: Yes, man's very WORST sins — as "scarlet" — may be completely forgiven and FORGOTTEN by God for all eternity — "be as white as snow."
5. Then what is God's COMMAND to every Christian? Heb. 4:16. Can we come before God's heavenly throne and expect to receive mercy and grace — unmerited pardon — and the POWER to help us in our times of need? Are we to approach God's throne with BOLDNESS? Same verse.
COMMENT: Notice that God does not say "if" you pray. He commands that Christians come BOLDLY before His throne in prayer. It is essential that we pray constantly — day by day — if we are to receive God's mercy and power so we can ultimately inherit His Kingdom.
Prayer is absolutely necessary in our preparation for God's Kingdom. We desperately need God's supernatural, DIVINE HELP to keep us from wandering from His ways of love. And we need His merciful forgiveness when we fail!
6. Does Matthew 6:6 indicate that God EXPECTS Christians to pray?
COMMENT: Notice that Jesus did not say if, but "when" you pray. Jesus expects His true followers to be PRAYING Christians! We must pray constantly from the heart if we want to be born into God's Kingdom!
7. Does Christ sit at the right hand of God the Father on His throne? Heb. 10:12. Does He make loving intercession for us constantly to God? Rom. 8:34-39.
8. Does Romans 3:23-24 point out that we would never make it into God's Kingdom if it were not for Christ, our loving elder brother?
COMMENT: We indeed do have a golden eternity ahead of us in God's joyous Family, if we will only avail ourselves of God's tremendous POWER and FORGIVENESS through prayer. Otherwise, we will fail!
9. Wasn't it at great personal SUFFERING that this wonderful opportunity to be a part of God's own Family has been made available to us? Heb. 2:9-10, 17.
COMMENT: Christ, our High Priest, who intercedes for us to our heavenly Father so that His blood may cover our SPIRITUAL sins, is active on our behalf AT THIS VERY MOMENT — if we will only CALL UPON HIM IN PRAYER!
God ALONE Can Save Us!
1. Is God our SALVATION? Psalm 27:1. Can He always be depended upon to deliver us from all of our trials, temptations and sins? Same verse. Will He stand by us even though our own family might forsake us? Verse 10.
2. Doesn't Psalm 3:8 show that our salvation is entirely in the hands of God?
3. Are we to cry out to God in prayer, as Christ did, when we are weak and on the verge of disobeying Him? Ps. 38:16-22 and Heb. 5:7.
4. If we have been overcome by temptations and sin, may we still ask God to forgive — "purge away" — our sins? Psalm 38:10 and 79:8-9. And may we ask Him, in prayer, to have MERCY upon us and still grant us salvation, even though we have sinned? Psalm 85:6-9. Wasn't this written for God's SAINTS who still sometimes sin, but have turned from the foolishness of their former sinful ways? Verse 8.
5. Does Ephesians 6:10 tell us TO BE STRONG in the power of GOD'S MIGHT? Is that because our own human power can't deliver us from temptation and sin?
COMMENT: Yes, we are to be strong in the power of God's might — the POWER of His HOLY SPIRIT — which we can receive through prayer!
6. Is the preparation of our spiritual "armour" — which we use to fight against the devil and his demons — to be through PRAYER and SUPPLICATION? Eph. 6:11-18.
7. Does our struggle against the devil and his demons, the world around us and the evil pulls of our own nature become LIGHTER when we go to God in prayer for the strength to resist them? Eph. 6:10 compared with Mat. 11:27-30.
COMMENT: Through prayer to God, our way into His Kingdom and overcoming our human nature can be made secure.
8. Is our loving Heavenly Father merciful and ready to forgive us when we call upon Him in prayer? Ps. 86:5-6 and 103:1-3.
9. Even when we have REBELLED against Him, may we still be forgiven? Dan. 9:9.
10. Is it also God's will to forgive us our PHYSICAL sins? Ps. 103:3 and Mark 2:1-11.
COMMENT: Sickness, disease and injuries are the PENALTY of PHYSICAL SIN! Jesus Christ Himself said so! And God says it is His will to FORGIVE our physical sins. Healing is forgiveness of the sin, and MIRACULOUS REMOVAL of the PENALTY.
God heals us not by Christ's blood — but by His STRIPES we are healed (I Peter 2:24). He paid the PENALTY of physical sins IN OUR STEAD. He did the suffering FOR US, so God can remove it from us by the POWER of the Holy Spirit — if we will repent of breaking God's physical laws and ACCEPT, in faith, Christ's suffering for us! (Jn. 5:14; Jas. 5:14-15.) It is as much GOD'S WILL to heal as it is to SAVE US from the death penalty of spiritual sins! (Be sure to review Lessons 33 and 43 regarding faith and healing.)
11. Isn't God full of compassion and mercy? Ps. 86:15-17.
12. Can even our VERY WORST sins be forgiven? Isa. 1:18.
COMMENT: Yes, even the most heinous crimes may be forgiven. God will forgive ALL of our sins IF we will sincerely repent from the heart and determine to the very deepest depths of our being that we will NEVER PRACTICE THEM AGAIN.
God is indeed forgiving and very merciful!
1. Should we be very FERVENT in our prayers to God when asking for His forgiveness, or for the strength to overcome temptations which are about to overpower us? James 5:16.
2. How is such prayer described in the Bible? Ps. 27:7; II Chron. 32:20 and Ps. 62:8.
COMMENT: Notice the words "cry with my voice" in Ps. 27:7; "prayed and CRIED" (crying out figuratively and ACTUALLY, at times) in II Chron. 32:20 and "pour out your heart" in Ps. 62:8.
PHOTO CAPTION: Plaque with armour is symbolic of the SPIRITUAL "armour" God instructs Christians to use against the Devil and his demons.
3. Are we shown, by David's example, that we should throw our WHOLE HEART into our prayers? Ps. 119:58, 145.
4. Did Christ set us an example of FERVENT prayer? Heb. 5:7 and Luke 22:44.
COMMENT: Before Christ died for us on the stake, He prepared for His ordeal with FERVENT prayer. He was so earnest in seeking His Father's will (verse 42), that He literally SWEAT BLOOD in the chilled Garden of Gethsemane.
5. What is Christ's command to all who would follow Him? Luke 22:45-46.
COMMENT: Christ set us the example. His fervent and frequent prayers to God for spiritual strength had everything to do with His final victory over sin and death.
The same applies to us today! We should pray FERVENTLY to God for the STRENGTH TO RESIST SIN!
6. Should we pray with a fervent desire to be ANSWERED? Ps. 27:7-9 and 102:1-2.
God WILL Answer!
1. Can we have absolute confidence that our eternal heavenly Father WILL HEAR US and deliver us from our fears and troubles? Ps. 34:4, 6. Do verses 17 and 19 also show that God will DELIVER US from all of our afflictions?
COMMENT: God will answer our fervent prayers for deliverance from every adverse circumstance. And He will grant us His forgiveness and His divine strength so we may be strengthened against disobeying His laws in the future!
2. Does God promise us all kinds of help if we ask Him in faithful, BELIEVING prayer? Mat. 21:22.
3. Should our FAITH in the fact that God will hear us be UNWAVERING? James 1:5-7.
COMMENT: We must learn to TRUST God to the utmost. Learn to EXPECT answers to your prayers! God reveals Himself as a REAL God — a LIVING ACTING God. Take God at His Word without doubting Him for an instant!
4. Should we therefore place our WHOLEHEARTED trust in God? Ps. 71:1. If we do, doesn't it follow that we will never be confused? Same verse.
5. And knowing that God is our sure salvation, should we offer our prayers with THANKSGIVING, and let our requests be known to Him? Phil. 4:6 and Col. 4:2. Does Phil. 4:6 bear out the fact that we should trust implicitly in God and not become fearful of the results?
COMMENT: "Be careful for (anxious about) nothing ... " (Phil. 4:6). Yes, we are to have ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE in God, and not worry about the outcome.
6. Does Ps. 56:9 also show that we should have total confidence in God's power to overcome all of our enemies — including Satan and our human nature?
7. Can we be confident that if we pray to God, He will take care of all our needs? Mat. 6:11 and Ps. 23:1-6.
COMMENT: "The Lord is my Shepherd (My Guide through prayer and the study of His textbook for living — the Bible), I shall not WANT ... " (Verse 1) .
8. Can we offer up our prayers to God with ABSOLUTE faith — a settled conviction — that He will watch over us because He is concerned for our very best interests? Mat. 7:7-11.
COMMENT: "For what man (typical of God the Father) is there of you, whom if his son (mankind) ask bread (the life-giving sustenance of eternal life — God's Holy Spirit), will he give him a stone?" (Verse 9.)
God is FAR MORE WILLING to give us His SPIRIT OF POWER if we will ASK FOR IT!
Pray for a CLEAN HEART
1. Following David's example, what should we pray that God will do WITHIN US after He has forgiven our sins? Ps. 51:1-17, especially verse 10. Carefully read and study this entire Psalm, since it shows the wholehearted attitude of TOTAL REPENTANCE we must have for God to hear our prayers.
2. Did David first acknowledge his own sins, and then ask God's forgiveness? Verses 1-9. Did David realize that the basic motivations of his human heart were evil from his birth? Verse 5.
PHOTO CAPTION: This giant, ancient olive tree is found at the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane. It was in Gethsemane that Jesus prayed fervently for the strength to endure His ordeal.
COMMENT: David knew that our sinful actions are the results of the thoughts, motives, and intents of our wicked human hearts. He knew that repenting of evil deeds IS NOT ENOUGH! We must pray that God will help us to repent of the motivations and intents of our carnal minds — the inordinate lusts and evil desires which lead us to commit sins.
We must TOTALLY and LITERALLY REPENT OF WHAT WE ARE! 3. Does God make it clear that He is primarily concerned with what is going on in our hearts — the thoughts and intents of our MINDS? Isa. 66:2. And isn't it clear that man's NATURAL heart, or mind, is far from right in God's sight — that man's NATURAL attitude is far from acceptable to Him? Isa. 64:6-7.
4. Then shouldn't we pray as David did — asking God to CREATE IN US A CLEAN HEART? Ps. 51:10. Do we need to have God put within us a RIGHT ATTITUDE — one motivated by service to others, and not by selfishness? Same verse and verse 13.
COMMENT: David clearly saw that His own heart was evil. He realized that he needed to have God Almighty create a CLEAN HEART within him.
God wants us to pray as David did, and ASK Him to change our human nature! That is the PURPOSE for prayer in helping us to develop God's spiritual character so we can attain the goal for which we have been born!
Unless God is now in the PROCESS of creating clean hearts and minds in us by the power of His Spirit, we will never inherit eternal life. God will not give eternal life to anyone who has NOT surrendered to Him and whose heart is NOT being guided by the love of His Holy Spirit!
Clearly we must have a NEW HEART gradually created within us. A mind inspired by God's Spirit and totally submissive to His laws. We must receive from God a heart which is the DIAMETRIC OPPOSITE OF OUR HUMAN NATURE. We desperately need a TOTALLY CLEAN, PURE HEART!
5. Did David realize that God will look to the man whose earnest desire is to have a clean heart created in Him? Did he understand that God will hear the prayer of a man whose attitude is humble and submissive and is REPENTING DAILY of the sins he still commits as a result of being motivated by his carnal, evil heart? Ps. 51:16-17.
6. Has God promised to look to the man whose spirit — the altitude of his mind — is humble, repentant, and stands in awe of His Word? Isa. 66:2.
7. Has God promised to be near such people when they pray for His help? Ps. 34:18.
8. And has God promised to forgive our sins and WRITE HIS laws in our hearts, if we will turn to Him? Jer. 31:33-34.
9. Will God do this by the power of His Spirit? Heb. 10:15-17 and II Cor. 3:3.
10. What, then, should we DO, realizing all of the foregoing? Heb. 10:22-25. Should we be confident that our sins are forgiven (if we have truly repented), and that we can now draw near to God? Verses 22-23. And should we seek FELLOWSHIP with others who have been forgiven, and whose hearts are being cleansed by God Almighty? Verse 25.
COMMENT: God has begun to create a clean heart and mind in His own character image within those who have yielded themselves to Him. He has called them out of this world and into HIS TRUE CHURCH where they can be INSTRUCTED IN HIS PERFECT LAWS IN PREPARATION FOR BEING BORN INTO HIS KINGDOM!
How to SEEK God
1. Does James show why mankind is suffering wars, and why Christians have been CALLED OUT of this evil world? James 4:1-2, 4.
COMMENT: Mankind in general is CUT OFF from God because of their sins — because they will NOT come to God to repent of their sins and their evil human nature. For this reason the world has continued in the ways of war until now, at the tip-end of mankind's rule on this earth, the evilly motivated human heart of man has brought us to the brink of COSMOCIDE — SUICIDE OF THE HUMAN RACE!
2. Why has man FAILED in life? James 4:2. Are men all too often UNWILLING to ask God for help and forgiveness? Same verse. And does the professing Christian world really know how to pray PROPERLY?
3. Isn't man's failure to ask forgiveness and to pray properly the result of his wicked human heart which is motivated by lust and envy? Verse 5.
4. Does God warn that He resists those who are PROUD? Verse 6. But does He promise to give GRACE — unmerited pardon for sin — to those who are willing to HUMBLE themselves? Same verse.
5. What, then, is God's command to all mankind? Verses 7-9. Isn't the first step plainly up to us? Must we repent of sin and RESIST the pressures of Satan and this world which influence our human nature? Verse 7.
6. Must we also cleanse our lives of sin? Must our evil HEARTS — minds, attitudes — be cleansed and purified? Verse 8.
7. Are we to thoroughly repent and sincerely sorrow for the evil acts we commit because of yielding to our human nature? Verse 9.
8. Finally, what else must we do? Verse 10. If we will really humble ourselves in the sight of God Almighty, who looks on the heart, has He promised to lift us up — to forgive and STRENGTHEN US? Verse 10.
COMMENT: God promises to strengthen us now by His Spirit. But He also promises to literally RAISE US UP by a RESURRECTION into His glorious Kingdom as His spirit-born Sons — SONS OF GOD!!
Pray for Strength to RESIST-SINNING
1. If we ask, will God be our helper? Ps. 30:10. Can we ask God to LEAD US in righteousness — in obedience to His Laws? Ps. 5:8.
2. Will God cleanse us of secret faults — those which lie HIDDEN in our human nature — if we ask Him? Ps. 19:12. Will He help us to keep ourselves from exalting the self and being presumptuous? Verse 13.
3. Can we ask and expect God to examine our INNER MOTIVES and to test us in order to help us overcome sin in our lives? Ps. 26:2.
4. How can a young person cleanse his ways before God? Ps. 119:9. Doesn't this apply to anyone who seeks God with his WHOLE HEART? Verse 10. Is it also necessary to KNOW and STUDY God's Word to be able to keep from sinning? Verse 11.
5. Did David show us by his example how we should pray to God for a clean heart, and that we might have His strength to RESIST SIN and live by His Laws? Ps. 139:23-24.
COMMENT: God Almighty knows our hearts individually. If we call upon Him for help, He will provide us with the strength we need to combat the evil pulls of our human nature. He will also reveal the innermost thoughts of our hearts and minds, and help us to repent deeply of following the vanity of our carnal minds.
We must rely on God for the SPIRITUAL strength we need to overcome sin in our lives, and to purify our hearts.
God wants us to constantly seek Him for the power to overcome. And we must ask Him for it through prayer. This is the ONLY WAY to receive His SPIRIT OF POWER!
Our Heavenly Father wants each one of us in His Family. That is His purpose for our lives — the purpose for which we were born. He is on His throne in Heaven ready to forgive us our sins and shortcomings, and grant us His supernatural help — if we will only come to Him in PRAYER and ASK FOR IT!
PRAY EVERY DAY!
1. Should we continue INSTANT in prayer? Rom. 12:12. What does this mean?
COMMENT: We should, as many other scriptures show, be in an ATTITUDE of prayer. It is possible to let your mind dwell on God as you go about your daily routine — speak to Him silently as you work or play — LET HIM DIRECT YOUR EVERY THOUGHT AND ACTION.
But this is only possible if you are ALSO praying ON YOUR KNEES EVERY DAY!
2. Did David know that DAILY prayer was important to his spiritual life? Ps. 55:17.
3. Did Daniel know that REGULAR contact with God was extremely necessary? Dan. 6:10.
4. Did David spend much time praising God in prayer? Ps. 119:164.
5. Did David think about God's Law all day long? Ps. 119:97. 6. Are we admonished NOT TO GIVE UP praying every day? I Thes. 5:17.
COMMENT: You should always feel free to take all of your innermost thoughts to God in prayer and ask Him to guide you. Talk over everything with Him. Ask Him to direct your daily life.
David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). That is why this lesson has drawn so much from David's own examples of prayer. David went to God in prayer about every circumstance.
The Psalms are the prayers and songs, the meditations and thoughts of David. They were inspired by God to be a part of the Bible. God knew we could learn from David by studying the Psalms.
7. Are we to let the mind of Jesus Christ dwell within us? Phil. 2:5.
COMMENT: Christ's mind was pure — His heart was SPIRITUALLY CLEAN in God's sight. He prayed continually for the power to KEEP from sinning. And Jesus Christ is the EXAMPLE we are to follow today (I Pet. 2:21).
8. If we pray as we should, will we be confident, thankful, and have the peace of God in our hearts? Phil. 4:6-7.
COMMENT: God wants us to be in His Kingdom. He wants us to come to Him for forgiveness and the power to grow in His character. He wants us to ask Him to help us overcome sin in our lives, and live by His Commandments.
BUT GOD CANNOT HELP US UNLESS WE COME TO HIM AND ASK FOR THAT HELP IN PRAYER!
God made us free moral agents. We must CHOOSE to rely on Him and ASK for His help — to humble ourselves, recognizing our innate weaknesses, and depend on Him for the spiritual strength we need.
So PRAY TO GOD EVERY DAY!
Pray continually, regularly, fervently, and expect God to answer!
You must establish a regular habit of DAILY PRAYER if you expect to be born into God's Kingdom. You must MAINTAIN PERSONAL CONTACT WITH GOD to receive His gift of eternal life.
When you do, your prayers will accomplish a MIRACULOUS CHANGE in your life through the power of God's Spirit! And you will achieve the very purpose for which you have been born!