Author Topic: SDA Sab Sch Lesson 10--1st Qtr 2017--The Holy Spirit, the Word, and Prayer  (Read 1599 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 10 March 4-10




The Holy Spirit, the Word, and Prayer



So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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           (Commentary in NAVY)              (Inspiration in MAROON)



Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week's Study: John 15:7; Matt. 7:7; Ps. 66:18; James 1:6-8; 1 John 5:14, 15; Acts 2:38.

Memory Text: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Romans 8:26, 27

True spirituality and prayer go together. There is no real spiritual life without vigorous prayer. After the need for repentance, perhaps one of the greatest and most urgent needs is a revival of our prayer life. The good news is that even in our prayers we are not left without the help of the Holy Spirit. Prayer draws us closer to God; it lifts us up into His presence. The prayer of faith enables us to live in response to the abundance of God's promises. Our lives are transformed when we claim the blessings God has promised in His Word. God is more than able to supply all of our needs according to His riches (Phil. 4:19). True prayer and authentic spirituality always have God at the center of our attention, and both are rooted in His Written Word.

We should not be basing our spiritual life on our unsteady experience and subjective feelings, nor focusing our prayers on suspect contemplative and meditative practices. Rather, our spirituality has to be guided by the Bible and to follow God's will as revealed in His Word. It is the Holy Spirit who awakens in us a desire to seek God's presence in prayer and to lift up one another in our supplications.

 Amen!  It is the Spirit that reveals the grace of God that transforms the life. It is the Spirit that reveals our sins, and our continual need of Jesus. It is the Spirit that teaches us of the loveliness of Jesus that causes us to fall on our faces and praise His holy name!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Sunday March 5

Prayer That Is Pleasing to God


Even though clothed in a pious cloak, many prayers are guided by questionable motives. We might pray that someone's life be spared because we do not like living alone. We might pray for success in God's work because we are playing an important role in it. We might pray for the conversion of a person because then our life will be easier. Often our prayers center more on what we want rather than on what God wants. Prayer that is pleasing to God has a different focus.

Read John 15:7. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

Why is it important for our prayers that we abide in Jesus and His Words abide in us? What different focus will our prayers have if we don't abide in Jesus?

If we are not abiding in Jesus, we can do no good (selfless) thing. When we have Christ in the heart, He imbues us with His selfless Spirit, and all of the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives, not one will be missing. We need Jesus in order to pray prayers that are unselfish. Let us spend the much-needed "thoughtful hour" with Christ. We need Jesus!

To seek God first and to enjoy His companionship is more important than anything else He might give to us. If God comes first in our lives, we will want to do what He wants; His thoughts will shape our desires. Once God is the center of prayer, we will begin to pray from His perspective. We will start to see our whole life through His eyes. This perspective ennobles prayer.

It is more than a perspective; it is the result of a heart that is fully surrendered, converted, and made new through a living connection with the Savior through the divine nature.

God is deeply interested in us. He longs to be part of all aspects of our life: our worries, our fears, our wishes, our hopes, our desires, our success, our joys, our failures-everything. We can talk about these things with Him as with a good friend. And we look at all of it through His eyes.

We can give all to Christ when we truly believe that He loves us and are in communion with heaven--by beholding Christ we are changed. We need to see His love for us and then we will be enabled to pray for souls as Christ would have us to.

Prayer does not change God; it changes us, because we are brought into the life-changing presence of God.

"Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him." - Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 93.

What a powerful quote! It captures so much of the reality of what prayer does to us and for us. Prayer alone makes us open receptacles for the grace, the power, and the presence of God in our lives. Who hasn't at some point experienced the reality of how prayer can draw us closer to God?

Think about your prayer life: that is, what you pray for, when you pray, why you pray, and so forth. What does it tell you about your own spiritual state and your own relationship to God? What changes might you need to make?

If we would commune with Christ in that "thoughtful hour" and have hearts filled completely with the love of Christ, we would be enabled to pray as Christ would have us to pray. Apart from Christ, we cannot do what God would have us to do. Let us look to Christ as the great Exemplar in prayer. We need Christ in us to be able to pray effectually, with hearts imbued with the Holy Spirit.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Monday March 6

The Foundation of Biblical Prayer: Ask God


Read Matthew 7:7.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 

Before we can receive anything from God, we have to ask for it. Why is our asking so important, if God knows everything anyhow?

God often protects and blesses us without our asking. When He does this and I become aware of it, I repent for not having gone to Him first. Why? Because He is in control of all that happens around me. Nothing can reach me unless it first goes through Christ. Asking Him through prayer reveals my dependence upon Him. It reveals my love for Him. It reveals that I am aware of His presence, power, and love.


Asking reveals our desire and expresses our trust in God. Through prayer we approach Him, from whom we seek support and help. When we ask God, we also publicly give Him permission to become active in our behalf. God wants to be asked. He desires that we bring to Him our prayer requests. If we do not ask Him, we will not receive the gifts He has promised. Jesus said: "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Luke 11:9, 10.

Amen!!


Read Mark 11:24; 1 John 5:14, 15; and Psalm 66:18.

11:24   Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them]. 
 5:14   And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 
 5:15   And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 
 66:18   If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]: 


Why is no prayer request too big for God?

God is God. But, He will not force the conscience. If some will not learn of Him, will not give up their will to His will, then He cannot answer prayers for that person. But, He has a million ways to do that which we cannot do, and to persuade sinners to come to Him.


Why is it good to know that God is generous and loves to give out of His abundance?

It is His grace that saves, that transforms sinners into saints.


What is the prerequisite for God to fulfill our prayers?

God can and will do as He sees fit. But, if we think God is going to answer all of our prayers if we do not make a full surrender of the whole heart to Him, we have been deceived, for the Bible says "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Psalm 66:18.

We truly can ask God for anything. No request is too small or unimportant for Him. No request is so big that God cannot handle it. He is omnipotent. By faith we may claim every promise in the Bible and receive the promised gift from His hands according to His will (2 Cor. 1:20).

Yet there are some conditions to be met in order to receive what we are asking. If we are not willing to submit fully to God, and if our requests reflect only our selfish and sinful desires, God will not answer our prayers (see Isa. 59:1, 2). An important condition for the fulfillment of our prayers is our willingness to follow God's will and to be obedient. "All His [God's] gifts are promised on condition of obedience." - Ellen G. White, Christ's Object Lessons, p. 145. Knowing that God is generous, we can come boldly to Him. "The Lord is not glorified by the tame supplications which show that nothing is expected. He desires every one who believes, to approach the throne of grace with earnestness and assurance." - Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, Aug. 7, 1901.

Amen!! None will enter heaven unless they have been transformed in character in this world. And, if we love Jesus with the whole heart, then He will give us the desires of the heart.

"These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb." Revelation 14:4. The vision of the prophet pictures them as standing on Mount Zion, girt for holy service, clothed in white linen, which is the righteousness of the saints. But all who follow the Lamb in heaven must first have followed Him on earth, not fretfully or capriciously, but in trustful, loving, willing obedience, as the flock follows the shepherd.  Acts of the Apostles, pg 591.

Are you asking God for help throughout your day? He wants you to come to Him just as you are, seeking His help in all you do. Try it. Talk to Him as a friend who has your bests interests at heart. He loves you more than you know.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Tuesday March 7

The Foundation of Biblical Prayer: Believe

Read Mark 11:24.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 

Besides asking, what other aspect does Jesus mention in connection with prayer?

This "believe" is not the evangelical "believe". No, it is to believe with the whole heart. To love God with all we are and with all of our strength, not a superficial "believe". There can be no "unbelief" in the heart.


Asking alone is not enough. There is a second important aspect that needs to be present in our prayers: faith. The book of Hebrews tells us that "without faith it is impossible to please" God (Heb. 11:6). When we kneel down before God and open the Bible to any of the more than three thousand promises and then ask God, with the simplicity of a small child, to fulfill His promise in our behalf, we have to believe that He will do what is best for us in His time.

Amen!  But, many do not have this faith to believe. What then can we do? We can ask God to give us faith to believe. He hears this prayer and is drawing all to Himself by His grace. He speaks to those who have prayers for others and themselves, come to Me just as you are. Learn of Me. I am the Manna (bread of life) which came down from heaven. Drink my blood and eat my flesh. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. If we will do this, if we will study the Word to know God, even if with a selfish heart, we shall be transformed in character (2 Cor. 3:18). Then, we will have faith enough to believe God will answer our prayers in the very best way.


Read James 1:6-8.

 1:6   But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 
 1:7   For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 
 1:8   A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways. 


How does the text describe the person who lacks faith? Why is faith a prerequisite to receiving the promised gifts?

We must love God with the whole heart. Unless we have saving faith, we are not converted. If we are not converted, we have iniquity in the heart. And we have already read in our lessons that God does not hear our prayers if we have iniquity in the heart. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Psalm 66:18. On the other hand, if we reach the point where we want to give up sin, and are willing to open the door to Jesus, He will answer that prayer immediately. We see such a prayer in Romans 7:24. "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

If we come to God, we must believe that He exists and that He will reward those who seek Him. Effectual prayer must be accompanied by a belief not only that God can answer, but that He will do so according to His divine will.

In the Bible, believing is related to trusting. We can trust someone only when we know the other person to be trustworthy. When we entertain doubts that God will keep His promises, we waver and cannot expect that we will receive anything from Him. To believe means to take God at His word. It means that we depend on God and His promises, even when our feelings tell us otherwise. For "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1). Faith clings to God's promises because we trust what He has said (Heb. 11:11). Faith knows that "it was impossible for God to lie," (Heb. 6:18). God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8 ). Faith knows that for God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).

Amen, amen, and amen!!! We cannot trust God with all we are and all we have until we know Him. That is why it is so important to study the Bible to know God. And, we invite you to read daily with us the life of Jesus that you might know Him enough to trust Him completely, to be able to give Him the whole heart, not part of it. By beholding such a character of love, we are constrained to love Him back! Love begets love, and we become like Him, changed into His image from glory unto glory.

Faith opens the door to the divine treasure house. Through the Holy Spirit, God moves the hearts of men and women to trust the Word of God and through faith our prayers move the arm of omnipotence.

Amen! And once we gain this "saving" faith, we must continue to drink in the grace of God. Our faith must continue to grow. Otherwise, we will default back to our fallen state of being, which is a lost condition. We must cling to Christ, and we do this when we are daily reminded of His love and power to keep us.


What helps you to grow stronger in faith? What aspect of Jesus helps you to have confidence in His willingness and ability to help you in your times of need?

Listen to the Word of God. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Jesus is the Word made flesh. The Bible is a revelation of the character of our God. The Desire of Ages is the most beautiful reveleation I have ever seen of Jesus. And Jesus said, If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. He came to be Immanuel, God with us. He came to reveal the love, justice, and power of our God.

And, besides beholding daily the character of our God, what else will help us to grow stronger in our faith? What helped Jesus to grow stronger in His faith? What does the Bible say? If we find out, it will apply to us also.  "Christ lived a human life that He might be man's example in all things. He endured temptation even as every human being must endure. He believed God as we must believe. He learned obedience even as we are required to learn obedience. And He overcame as we must overcome."


The trials Jesus went through caused Him to grow in strength. He was always obedient, but He became stronger to resist temptation. He was not ready for Gethsemane when He was 12 years old. "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Hebrews 5:8.

As we learn of the sufferings of Jesus, it draws our hearts closer to Him. This is our food. This grace is what transforms our hearts continually as we behold Him. We invite you to do this as we read daily about the life of Christ. Share with us what it is that God is revealing to you about our Savior. The Desire of Ages


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Wednesday March 8

The Foundation of Biblical Prayer: Claim God's Promises


All faith is useless if we do not claim the things for which we have prayed.

Read 1 John 5:14, 15.

5:14   And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 
 5:15   And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 


What is the reason that we can be confident that God hears us and that we receive what we have requested from Him?

Because we have given the whole heart to Him. Therefore, He says His promises belong to us. Has He not promised He will answer our prayers in the very best way He can. It may not be today, it may be in a different way we expect. But, in the end, we will be thankful He answered them the way He did. He is God, He knows what is best.


The third aspect of Bible prayer is reception. After asking God and believing His promises, we need to claim what He has promised. We claim God's promise and, in faith, we thank Him for it, even before we have received it. Thus the promises are applied to our heart. Ellen G. White said that "for any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received." - Education, p. 258.

In Luke 8:11 Jesus compares the Word of God to a seed.

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.


In the same way that the whole apple tree is contained in an apple seed, the gift of God is contained in His promises. When we claim the promise and thank God for it, we already possess the gift He has promised. We receive the promised gift by faith even before we might feel or see it.

The example of the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11 illustrates that Jesus prayed in this way. Jesus knew exactly what God's will in this situation was. John 11:11 tells us that He was willing to do God's will and that He was obedient. In John 11:39-41, we read that Jesus thanked the Father in advance that He would resurrect Lazarus, even though Lazarus was still in the grave. When Jesus had thanked God, He did receive the fulfillment of His request. As God's children we are to live on God's promises, not on His explanations. Even though we can't explain everything, we can trust His promises.

"The Lord says, 'Call upon Me in the day of trouble.' Ps. 50:15. He invites us to present to Him our perplexities and necessities, and our need of divine help. He bids us be instant in prayer. As soon as difficulties arise, we are to offer to Him our sincere, earnest petitions. By our importunate prayers we give evidence of our strong confidence in God. The sense of our need leads us to pray earnestly, and our heavenly Father is moved by our supplications." - Ellen G. White, Christ's Object Lessons, p. 172.

Amen!!!


Why is it so important to always bring everything to God in prayer?

If I have a difficulty, there are many in life, and I do not turn to God for help, what does that say about my life? Do I think I can handle the difficulties without God? Then, do I really believe Satan is out to get me? Do I believe I can battle with him without God's wisdom and power?

How often do we thank God after we know He did something to help us when we did not ask? Sadly, too often I have neglected to seek His help not thinking I needed Him. :(

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Thursday March 9

Praying for the Holy Spirit


Read Ephesians 3:16 and Acts 2:38. What do these texts tell us about receiving the Holy Spirit in our lives?

There are many things we can pray for, but there is one great need in this time of peril in which we live: it is the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the greatest gift that Jesus could give. In giving the Holy Spirit, God could not have given His people more. To this gift nothing could be added (after all, what could be added to Divinity Himself?). Through Him and His work in our lives, all our needs are supplied. The blessing of the Holy Spirit will bring in its train all other blessings.

Amen!  The Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart when we are truly converted. He is Christ's representative.


There is, however, one major obstacle, and that is, ourselves, because we are often unprepared to receive the Holy Spirit.

As in the days of the New Testament church, we have to realize that we first need to repent and surrender our life fully to Jesus. Yes, it is only the prompting of the Holy Spirit that even allows us to do that.

Amen, without the aid of the Holy Spirit, we could not understand spiritual truths. He is the One who convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment.


However, when we respond to His prompting, then repentance for sin is the firstfruit of the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In humility and faith, we need to confess our sins so that He can cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We need to understand just how fallen we are and how much we need God and His grace in our lives. Without Him, we are lost, dead in our sins and doomed to eternal loss.

Amen. The condemnation we are under before we are converted is revealed by the Spirit. Then, He reveals the loveliness of Jesus and His grace. It is this that saves the soul from sin. Grace is the transforming power.

Thus in earnest prayer, we will fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to give us His Holy Spirit. Then all we have to do is to ask God, and He will gladly grant us His Spirit. "The heavenly Parent is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him than earthly parents are to give good gifts to their children." - Ellen G. White, Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 284.

Amen! "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Luke 11:13.

As with other spiritual things, the gift of the Holy Spirit is never an end in itself. He is given to elevate Jesus, to reproduce Christ's character in our lives and enable us to serve others in building up the body of Christ, the church. So, any worship practice, public or private, that elevates the Spirit above Jesus Christ is wrong. For it is through Jesus that we "have access by one Spirit unto the Father." (Eph. 2:18).

Why is the gift of the Holy Spirit the greatest gift that Jesus could give to us? What has been your experience with the reality of the Holy Spirit in your life? How different would your life be without this gift?

There would be no peace, love, and joy. Without the Spirit we would remain selfish and lost. We would be weighed down by the guilt from our own sins, and would have no protection from Satan. Without the Spirit, we would not have any power to do any good thing. Praise God for the Holy Spirit!!

How can we know if we have the Holy Spirit, if we are indeed in a converted state?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Thursday March 9

Praying for the Holy Spirit


How can we know if we have the Holy Spirit, if we are indeed in a converted state?

When Jesus comes into the heart fully surrendered to Him by the agency of His Holy Spirit, we are truly living by faith (full surrender). This will ALWAYS be revealed in the divine nature taking possession of the heart and mind--seen in that all of the fruits of the Spirit will be present in the life without one missing!

What does that look like?

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.


This fruit is unmistakable evidence that a soul is truly converted. Jesus leads us through trials that are for our good--and we have a choice--will we cleave to Him and let His glory (character) be seen, or murmur and complain, and grieve away His Spirit? It is not possible to commit a known sin and STILL RETAIN all of these fruits in the life. We need Jesus continually! May we realize the necessity of watchfulness and prayer in order to resist temptation--and how important that sweet, "thoughtful hour" with Jesus is each day! By beholding Him we are changed and more thoroughly converted each day, that is, the fruit that is begun at conversion will be more abundant! We are better prepared for greater trials that we will face ahead! Praise God for the clear evidence of one truly converted!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Amen, Pastor Sean!  That all would enjoy the peace that passes all understanding, even amid great trials. And, great trials are coming. Many will say that they are already here. When we patiently endure such trials, we are His witnesses in the world and the world beyond.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Friday March 10

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, "Asking to Give," pp. 139-149, in Christ's Object Lessons. For a helpful collection of encouraging promises read Ellen G. White, "God has Promised" (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1982).

From page 143 in Christ's Object Lessons I appreciated this:

Our prayers are not to be a selfish asking, merely for our own benefit. We are to ask that we may give. The principle of Christ's life must be the principle of our lives. "For their sakes," He said, speaking of His disciples, "I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified." John 17:19. The same devotion, the same self-sacrifice, the same subjection to the claims of the word of God, that were manifest in Christ, must be seen in His servants. Our mission to the world is not to serve or please ourselves; we are to glorify God by co-operating with Him to save sinners. We are to ask blessings from God that we may communicate to others. The capacity for receiving is preserved only by imparting. We cannot continue to receive heavenly treasure without communicating to those around us. 


Without prayer, we would have no spiritual power in our lives, because prayer connects us to the Source of that power. Without prayer we would have no vital link with God. We will become empty vessels who might have "a form of godliness" but will be devoid of the power and promise of the gifts from on high. And, no question, as we have seen all this week, we have been given wonderful promises about God answering prayer. But what about the times when we don't get what we pray for, even when we have sought to meet all the conditions to the best of our God-given ability? "But be not discouraged if your prayers do not seem to obtain an immediate answer. The Lord sees that prayer is often mixed with earthliness. Men pray for that which will gratify their selfish desires, and the Lord does not fulfill their requests in the way which they expect. He takes them through tests and trials, He brings them through humiliations, until they see more clearly what their necessities are. He does not give to men those things which will gratify a debased appetite and which will prove an injury to the human agent and make him a dishonor to God. He does not give men that which will gratify their ambition and work simply for self-exaltation. When we come to God we must be submissive and contrite of heart, subordinating everything to His sacred will." - Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 89.

Amen!  And, this we will do if we have seen the loveliness of Jesus. If we will spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ, we shall remember what great things God has done for us, and at such and infinite cost!


Discussion Questions:


    In what ways does prayer impact our whole spiritual existence? That is, what effect does prayer have on you when you pray? In what ways are you different after you have prayed than before you did?

When we pray, are we reminded of our relationship with God? Do we then remember His promises, and His requirements for hearing our prayers? Are we reminded of His leading in the past?


    What do you say to someone who has prayed and prayed for something and it hasn't happened as the person had hoped and prayed for, such as the healing of a sick child or the like? How do we learn to trust God even in situations like this?

Have we not been given the answers? Can we not testify that all things do work for good to those who love God and keep His commandments? If we do not trust God with all we have and all we are, then we need to get to know Him better. How can we do that?


    In class, talk about your own experiences with prayer, and about what it means to you. What have you learned about prayer that could help others who might be struggling with understanding the purpose of prayer?

    Why is it important to pray even if we don't fully understand how it all works?

Do we learn about others when we talk with them? Is not prayer, talking with God? Or is it just a one way conversation? When I pray, the Holy Spirit speaks to me about many things. What does the Holy Spirit speak to your mind when you pray?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Are you asking God for help throughout your day? He wants you to come to Him just as you are, seeking His help in all you do. Try it. Talk to Him as a friend who has your bests interests at heart. He loves you more than you know.

Richard, I was glad to see you post this. I'm little worried that some well meaning honest individuals might get caught up on David's statement in the Pslams about the Lord not hearing if we regard iniquity in our hearts. I'm open to being wrong but I think the word "regard" in this verse isn't strong enough. What does it mean to regard something? Most of the time it means to hold in high esteem or to have respect for something or someone.

So what if someone looks at their heart and see's something there they don't like nor want and they pray for help, will God refuse their prayers then? I say no. They are not "regarding" their sin. They want it gone. Sometimes the devil uses this verse and similar ones to keep people from coming to God. They think they understand but do not. I'm reminded of this counsel...

Some seem to feel that they must be on probation, and must prove to the Lord that they are reformed before they can claim his blessing. But these dear souls may claim the blessing of God even now. They must have his grace, the spirit of Christ to help their infirmities, or they cannot form Christian characters. Jesus loves to have us come to him just as we are,--sinful, helpless, dependent. We claim to be children of the light, not of the night nor of darkness; what right have we to be unbelieving?  {RH, April 22, 1884 par. 7}

By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Amen!  I am glad you  brought this up, Jim. When we pray for help to overcome sin, we are responding to the Holy Spirit. Jesus does all He can to help us. And, when we really want this kind of help, why would He delay an answer? What does it mean to "regard iniquity" in the heart? It is not wanting help to overcome sin. It is liking sin more than Christ, so that we are unwilling to come to Christ just as we are, sick and needy.

It is impossible to overcome sin until we come to Jesus. We cannot make ourselves "good". It is God's grace that causes us to fall on our face and seek forgiveness. If we stay away from Jesus, we will never overcome sin. And, even after we are born again of the Spirit, we still need to cling to Christ. While the "old man" is dead, he wants to crawl up out of the grave. It is only God's grace that can keep him under. As Paul said "I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor. 9:27. We must put this in the proper context in harmony with what else Paul taught. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Galatians 2:20. It is the power of an indwelling Savior that empowers repentant sinners to not sin. Without Christ, I can do no good thing. Praise God, we have a Savior who suffered and died that we may live!!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Glen

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How can we know if we have the Holy Spirit, if we are indeed in a converted state?

When Jesus comes into the heart fully surrendered to Him by the agency of His Holy Spirit, we are truly living by faith (full surrender). This will ALWAYS be revealed in the divine nature taking possession of the heart and mind--seen in that all of the fruits of the Spirit will be present in the life without one missing!

What does that look like?

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.


This fruit is unmistakable evidence that a soul is truly converted. Jesus leads us through trials that are for our good--and we have a choice--will we cleave to Him and let His glory (character) be seen, or murmur and complain, and grieve away His Spirit? It is not possible to commit a known sin and STILL RETAIN all of these fruits in the life. We need Jesus continually! May we realize the necessity of watchfulness and prayer in order to resist temptation--and how important that sweet, "thoughtful hour" with Jesus is each day! By beholding Him we are changed and more thoroughly converted each day, that is, the fruit that is begun at conversion will be more abundant! We are better prepared for greater trials that we will face ahead! Praise God for the clear evidence of one truly converted!

Amen! When we taste and see that the LORD is good Psalm 34:9 trusting in Him, His personal abiding divine presence eclipses every enticement of Satan; filling us with total contentment and satisfaction, while filling us with what carefulness...yea, what clearing of...ourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge 2 Cor. 7:11)! Not only that, but He is the one who, abiding in our soul-temple, rebukes the adversary of our soul at the onset of every temptation; if, we are willing, and sober, watching unto prayer (1 Peter 4:7) .

Christ was made a quickening spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47

The natural man must die, and the new man, Christ Jesus, take possession of the soul.... Godís Amazing Grace 226

The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. Godís Amazing Grace 212

The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. That I May Know Him 56


Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Corinthians 13:5

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:1


Jesus did not convey the idea that merely one drink of the water of life would be enough. All who taste the love of Christ will continually long for more, but they seek for nothing else. The riches, honors, and pleasures of the world do not attract them. The constant cry of their hearts is, ďMore of You.Ē Our Redeemer is an inexhaustible fountain. We may drink, and drink again, and we will always find a fresh supply. Humble Hero 78

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4

To those who obey, the Word of God is the tree of life. It is the word of salvation, received unto eternal life. Those who follow its teachings eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. On the effect which this word produces on us, depends our destiny for eternity. It possesses the elements necessary for the formation of a perfect character. The Christian is appointed to connect with God in such close relationship that his life is bound up with the life of Christ in the eternal life of God.
This Day With God 120


...Jesus...will live through (YOU), giving (YOU) the inspiration of His sanctifying Spirit, imparting to (YOUR) soul a vital transfusion of Himself. Sabbath-School Worker 02-01-96.03  ...as the blood is in the body, and circulate there as a vitalizing power... 7T 189.02

Glen

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I especially like this:
The Christian is appointed to connect with God in such close relationship that his life is bound up with the life of Christ in the eternal life of God. This Day With God 120
...Jesus...will live through (YOU), giving (YOU) the inspiration of His sanctifying Spirit, imparting to (YOUR) soul a vital transfusion of Himself. Sabbath-School Worker 02-01-96.03  ...as the blood is in the body, and circulate there as a vitalizing power... 7T 189.02