Friday, June 13, 2008

A Clear Conscience

Acts 24:16

When you're tempted to do the wrong thing, do you listen to your conscience or do you just ignore it and keep going? Although sometimes it will seem as through people are acting without a conscience-we all have one. Our conscience is a gift of God that we should care for and give great attention to because it is given to us for our own protection.

Every day we face decisions that involve our conscience, and it sends up red flags when we're about to do something wrong. When our conscience speaks and we ignore it, it's like taking a knife and dulling the edges. It becomes ineffective. If we disregard it enough, we'll make a shipwreck of our life (see 1 Tim.1:18-20)-which means that we will have a disaster of a Christian life.

That's when we are most vulnerable to false doctrines and sin, and it's why people throughout the centuries have worshipped all kind of things. What's happened is their belief system has disappeared. In order to quiet their conscience, they've changed the way they think. They've deliberately chosen to exchange the truth of God for a lie (see Rom.1:21-25). However, no one is going to get away with that. God will allow their heart to be given over to darkness. Whoever violates the laws of God will suffer the consequences.

Is it safe, then, to let our conscience be our guide? Not really. It all depends upon how our conscience has been programmed. Has it been programmed with the Word of God? When the Word of God becomes the grid of truth that protects our conscience, then we know we can respond in the right way. This is because the Holy Spirit enables us to understand the truth and will guide us to do the right thing.

However, understand that the Holy Spirit isn't your conscience. Every person has a conscience-that's why there are people who know right from wrong, even though they aren't Christians. Yet only those who've received Jesus as their Savior have the Holy Spirit. The holy Spirit works in conjunction with our conscience and works to strengthen us and teach us the truth.

We know we can dull our conscience, but the good news is that we can also make it stronger. Paul said, "I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men" (Acts 24:16). How do we do that? We program ourselves with the absolute truth of the God's Word. God's way is the best way-it's the only way to find happiness, peace, joy, and eternal security. We have to have His Word and His Spirit as our defense.

Are you going to take heed of your conscience? Are you going to listen to what God is saying to you? Or are you going to do everything your way?

Your conscience is a gift of God to protect you, so you should take good care of it. therefore, get in the Word of God. Obey the leading of the Spirit. Make sure that you program your grid system based on God's truth ;). And strengthen your conscience by seeking God. Then you, too, will have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Effectively Tackling a Prayer Burden

Nehemiah 1:4-6
When Nehemiah heard that his people lived in great distress and reproach, that the walls of Jerusalem lay in ruins, and that the gates of the city remained burned and broken, he responded with prayer:
"I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days...And I said: "I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night" (Neh.1:4-6).
Nehemiah was experiencing a prayer burden. A prayer burden can be defined as a strong motivation to pray for others and to carry the needs of others before God in prayer until God responds.
The Bible has a great deal to say about burdens. We are to bear one another's burdens (see Gal.6:2). We are to go the second mile in helping another person (see Matt.5:41). Much of our ability to bear natural burdens is derived from developing our ability to carry spiritual burdens in prayer.
A sense of spiritual weight usually accompanies a prayer burden-a heaviness of heart, a drag on one's emotions, a spirit of mourning, or a feeling of restlessness that we can't seem to shift ourselves away from a problem or need that has come to our attention.
God does not act in many situations because we do not pray. God waits for either the co-instigator of the negative situation to cry out to Him for forgiveness, or for the victim of the negative situation to cry out to Him for mercy. Then He will act.
If you feel burdened to pray for another person, God desires to act on that person's behalf. he places the burden to pray on your heart, and He moves through the opening. As you pray, you can get in on the blessing that God has for that person through an answered prayer.