Why Pray? (10 reasons)

We make requests to God and then we wonder whether they made any difference. We ask ourselves, Is God answering my prayers? If not, why not? If he is, how is he doing it, because what’s happening isn’t quite what I asked for? Did I ask wrongly then?

Wisdomforlife

Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” kept a running dialogue with God (a sort of lament). He credited God for good things and lamented things that went wrong or that he wished were different.

In one of his well-known laments, Tevye is feeding his horse, looking up at God saying, “You made many, many poor people. I realize, of course, it’s no shame to be poor. But it’s no great honor either. Ahh, so what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?”

Then he launches into the song, “If I Were a Rich Man.” At one moment in the song, he sings, “Lord who made even lion and the lamb, You decreed I should be what I am. Would it spoil some vast eternal plan if I were a wealthy man?!”

In another lament, Tevye sits dejected by the side of the road with his lame…

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Resource for you (or group use)!

Two-month devotional guide – “Meeting God in His Word– 

Meeting God in His Word is a reachable two-month guide that could change your life. It’s also a great gift for someone you care about! It’s a 15-minute plan for each day.

Here’s how it works

Meeting God in His Word

Step 1 – First five minutes… in praise and giving thanks

It’s best to enter God’s presence with praise and thankfulness. We honor God by declaring His greatness: “Father in heaven, your name is exalted, and you are worthy of praise. Today, I praise you because you are the only true God. I specifically praise you because of your:

Focus on one attribute each day (a long list of attributes is provided)

  • Love: sacrificial giving for my benefit
  • Mercy: withholding the judgment I deserve
  • Grace: goodness to me when I only deserve judgment.
  • Patience: bearing with disobedient creatures like me
  • Kindness: thoughtful actions for my good
  • Faithfulness: loyalty and trustworthiness
  • Holiness: complete uniqueness and separation from sin
  • Power: your ability to do all things
  • Salvation: provider of forgiveness and reconciliation
  • Sovereignty: absolute authority and rule over your creation

“I praise you for salvation through my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Jesus alone, I come to you. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is your gift of love to me as an unworthy sinner. I thank you that through Jesus I have been…

  • Forgiven of my sins
  • Justified in your sight
  • Reconciled to you
  • Adopted as your child
  • Given the Holy Spirit who lives in me
  • United with the body of Christ, the Church
  • Assured a home in heaven”

“I acknowledge that (apart from Jesus as my Savior), I am unworthy of you and your love. I ask you to teach me how to live a life that pleases you. Open my eyes to see and my ears to hear as I enter your Word. I humbly ask you to use your Word in my life to change me more into your likeness.”

Step 2 – Second five minutesspecific Scriptures

Carefully read the chosen verses and underline keywords or phrases

Consider the following example.

John 14:1-3

“Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (NLT)

The underlined words and phrases are the ones that make connections with your life.

Re-read the verses several times and pause to think about the words and phrases you underlined. Think about ways that these words connect with your walk with God.

Step 3 – Final five minutes… responding to God through His Word          

Talk to God about the connections you’re making in the words and phrases. Perhaps one or two key ideas speak to your walk with God in deeply needed ways. In the passage above, we could talk to God about our tendency to be troubled or our need to grow in our trust in God’s plan for us. We could also thank God for giving us assurance for our future. We could tell him how much we look forward to being in that place Jesus is preparing for us. Finally, through this Scripture, we could express our longing to always be with our Savior.

TWO DAILY EXAMPLES

Meeting God in His Word

Date __________

Time __________ 

Scripture

Colossians 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

  • 5 Minutes of Praise and Giving Thanks

 

  • 5 Minutes in the Word (underline key-words and phrases)

 

  • 5 Minutes Responding to God through His Word (focus on the underlined parts)

__________________________________________________________

 Meeting God in His Word

Date __________

Time __________ 

Scripture

Romans 5:8-10 – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” 

  • 5 Minutes of Praise and Giving Thanks

 

  •  5 Minutes in the Word (Underline keywords and phrases)

 

  • 5 Minutes Responding to God through His Word (Focus on the underlined words)

______________________________________

Order Today!

Purchase a 5×7 nicely spiral bound copy ofMeeting God in His Word” (with two months of the examples above 70 pages). Send your name and mailing address to s.cornell@millersvillebiblechurch.org

Great for use with other people! We ask $ 8.00 each to cover production and mailing costs. A bill will be enclosed with the book/s you order.

Steve Cornell 

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Begin early the process of dying

Is it wise to begin early the process of dying? Should it be part of the maturing process as a follower of Christ? How can we be ready for the end of our journey on earth?

Wisdomforlife

sunrise-c.jpgWe (in most western cultures) are more insulated from suffering and death than any previous people (and we like it that way).

Aging parents are no longer completing their final days in our homes. We visit our elderly in convalescent facilities and hospitals We prefer not to allow the realities of suffering and death to be part of the ongoing experience of life.

Previous generations welcomed aging parents into their homes to finish their time on earth. This came with hardships and sacrifices, but it also educated young people in what earlier generations called, “The art of dying well.”

It’s one thing to teach loved ones how to live well; another, to teach them how to die.

A wise teacher once said, “Death is the destiny of every person and the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).

We cannot deny or escape the universal truth “From dust we…

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True or False

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* True or false? Most people understand that their upbringing affects their lives. True.
* True or false? Most people understand how (and how much) their upbringing affects their lives. False.
 
Most adults who grew up in dysfunctional homes know that they had an unhealthy upbringing. Most of these same people, however, do not have a clear understanding of how (and how much) their past affects their present lives and relationships. As a result, they don’t adequately recognize how unhealthy attachments to their past are hurting their present relationships.
 
My book offers a guided discovery of how and how much our opinions about life, ourselves, and our approach to relationships remain influenced by childhood years.
 
Q. Do you recognize how unhealthy attachments to your past are hurting your present relationships?
Those who weathered a painful past typically react in four different unhelpful ways.
 
1. Ignoring the past
2. Denying the past
3. Accepting the past (in a self-defeated way)
4. Perpetuating the past
 
Get your copy of The 18 Year Factor TODAY on Amazon for only $13.95! HERE
 
Be equipped to help others!
Steve Cornell
 
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Church – structured and spontaneous

TCare-Ministry-Logo-FOR-WEBhe Church is an organism, not just an organization. This truth cautions against overly structuring the life of a body of believers.

As an organism, the spiritual life or life generated by the Holy Spirit should lead to spontaneous ministries of the Spirit among Christians.

The Church is the habitation of the Spirit of God as he gives life, indwells, baptizes, seals, fills and gifts each individual member of the Church (Rom. 8:9; I Cor. 6:19-20; II Cor. 1:21-22 I Cor. 12:3; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 5:18-21).

  • Experience of the ministry of the Spirit is both a structured and spontaneous reality.

I am continuously learning about connections people make in our Church and ministries happening that were not organized and structured by leadership.

  1. Is it possible to stifle the ministry of the Spirit with too much structure?
  2. Is it possible to hinder the ministry of the Spirit by lack of organization and structure? (see: I Co. 14:26-33)
  3. Is it possible to overly depend on structures to accomplish the ministry of the Spirit?
  4. Where is the balance on this matter?

The formal/structured Church gatherings are important times of corporate worship and instruction. Believers connect with each other in these settings and carry those connections into the rest of life.

Mutual caring and accountability do not necessitate being in Church buildings. Nor does it necessitate structured contact through programs.

Steve Cornell

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Unresolved, pushed around, and burdened

  • Palm-Sunday-650x487Do you feel unresolved, pushed around, and burdened?
  • Are you carrying and reliving painful memories from the past?
  • Do you struggle to look normal when you feel that everything inside of you is chaotic?

Many people identify with these experiences because they share in common the ongoing effects of a troubled upbringing. I call this the 18-year Factor. The 18-Year Factor is a way of referring to the first 18 years of life — the most impressionable years.

Clear voices are making it known that “Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today” (Dr. Robert Block, the former President of the American Academy of Paediatrics).

Our 18-year Factor forms a kind of template for the way we think, how we feel, and how we act—especially in adult relationships. We all benefit from looking more closely at our upbringing —no matter what kind of home we experienced.

Perhaps you ask, “What good will it do to look back?” “If we can’t go back and change it, why bother thinking about it?” “Why get stuck in the past?” “Isn’t it better to forget it and move on?” These questions often serve as deflective clichés for denying the ongoing effects of a painful past. Yes. The only thing you can change about your past is how it affects you in your future. But a better understanding of our history will help us improve the way it affects our future.

A story behind your story

Most people recall positive and negative experiences from their upbringing. If you had an overall healthy 18-year factor, you are part of a rapidly diminishing number of people. But even if you fall in that category, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from looking more closely at the influences that shaped the way you see yourself and relate to others.

For those who are married or planning to marry, this benefit is especially valid. Marriage is one of the primary contexts where 18-year-factor issues emerge. Differences in upbringings are a familiar source of marital disagreements. We are wise to engage in conversations about these differences before they become a source of conflict. I would argue that these conversations should be a required part of preparation for marriage.

The way we communicate, resolve conflict, process anger, and many other essential parts of life arise from our 18-year Factor, the most impressionable years of our lives.

Exploring the 18-year Factor takes us on a journey back to our childhood home. That journey allows us to look closely at how the people, circumstances, and experiences of the past continue to affect our lives and relationships.

After almost 20 years of speaking on this subject and 35 years of counseling experience, I finally wrote my book, “The 18-Year Factor – How our upbringing affects our lives & relationships.” The 18 Year Factor consists of 13 chapters, each with discussion points. For better application and discussion,

I’ve included many real-life stories in The 18 Year Factor. I hope that you could not get through two pages without wanting to highlight or underline something helpful and insightful (see key lines below).

I wrote the 18-year factor by applying my years of experience in counseling to the latest findings in the field of psychology. I did not, however, write it as an explicitly Christian book. I aim to reach the broadest possible audience and to influence public school teachers, counselors, and social workers who are required to understand the ACE study (Adverse Childhood Experiences). Most states in the USA are also committing themselves to be trauma-informed states regarding adverse childhood experiences.

At the end of my book, I focus on restoring the whole person. This is where I address the spiritual dimension of restoration and explain why I chose Christianity as the most realistic and plausible understanding of spirituality.

Key lines from The 18-Year Factor

  •      Attachments to a painful past make it difficult to do well in the present.
  •       Yesterday’s loss doesn’t have to control the way you see your future.
  •      Don’t let the diagnosis define your destiny.
  •      Where you’ve been doesn’t have to define who you become.
  •      Include the past in who you become instead of letting it define who you are.
  •      Overcoming a problem involves understanding where and how it originated.
  •      The only thing you can change about the past is how it affects the future.
  •      What you focus on is what will become your reality.
  •      The only person you can change is you. Get started!

The 18 Year Factor is Available on AMAZON 

Steve Cornell, President of 18 Year Factor (LLC) Box 118, Millersville, Pa. 17551

18yearfactor@gmail.com

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Do this in remembrance of your sins?

When I was a young boy, two main things entered my mind on Sundays when our Church gathered around the communion table.

First, I knew it would be a long service because the pastor was not about to give up sermon time. So Church would end no earlier than 12:15 — instead of noon.

Secondly, I recall a strange sense of fear. The pastor would always read and make a strong point from I Corinthians 11:27-30 (in the King James Version) – especially the part about eating and drinking damnation to yourself and the many who are weak and sickly among you, and many who died.

  • “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause, many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”

Who wants to get sick or die?

Like most protestant pastors (following the lead of most commentaries on I Corinthians), he stressed the need to be careful not to participate at the table with unconfessed sin. Thus the call to “examine ourselves” lest we eat and drink “unworthily.” With this emphasis, each person’s focus turned inward in a search for unconfessed sins.

The stated purpose for communion: “In remembrance of me,” easily got lost in a self-preserving concern of protection from “damnation” (whatever that meant). And who wants to get sick or die?

If you identify with my experience, let me assure you that the apostle Paul would be deeply troubled by such a misunderstanding and misapplication of his teaching in I Corinthians 11.

Many years later, I was studying this text and noticed that most commentators went right to this widely held misapplication instead of hearing the warning in the actual context. A little help from the context quickly clarifies the real intention of the text read by my pastor. The widespread misreading of the text has led to a strange kind of protestant confessional booth.

A protestant confessional booth

Walk with me through a few translational points.

Translation problem

The old translations of I Corinthians 11:27 go with the KJV: “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily...” Most newer translations, however, capture the intended meaning much better. The ESV, for example, makes the needed correction, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner…”

Small difference? Not really. Focus on the worthiness of the participant has turned the table into a protestant confessional. “Let a man examine himself” then becomes the opportunity to engage in a strange kind of introspection that promotes the very individualistic attitude the apostle was opposing in I Corinthians 11.

An unworthy manner

The “unworthy manner” was the individualistic focus involving behavior that sinfully violated both the unity of the body and care for the needy. It was a particular issue addressed in context – the fellowship meal they shared at the time of remembrance. The verses surrounding the portion recited at communion (vv.23-32) provide the key to why Paul wanted them to examine themselves and why some among them were weak, sick, and dead.

Paul wrote, “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, and another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?” (vv. 20-22).

The important connection is between the words used in I Corinthians 11:23-32 and the final exhortation:

“So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment.” (vv. 33-34).

Communion was never intended to be what the protestant Church has made it over the years. We have turned it into an intense soul-searching effort to find and name unconfessed sin lest we partake as one unworthy. This facilitates the individualism that was at the root of the sinful division of the Church. When Paul warns, “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself” (v. 29), the body is the Church, the people of God. Failure to discern the body had to do with sinful disregard for the needs of others.

The focus was meant to be on others, not oneself. 

I must come to the meal and remembrance in a way that promotes love and unity toward the body of believers. When I make it about me and my needs, I sin against the Lord. His sacrificial death brings us together in unity. To celebrate its remembrance in a divisive manner offends the sacrificial love of our Savior.

Final question

But you might ask, “Should we be unconcerned about celebrating with unconfessed sin?” We should always and immediately confess our sins. Confess them, preferably before gathering with other believers. The bread and the cup are in remembrance of Him, not in remembrance of our sin and not about protecting me from judgment. What I remember about Jesus is how he took away my sin as the lamb of God and how he sealed my standing with God for eternity. More importantly, I remember this with my fellow believers who share in Christ with me.

This is not to say that there are not other ways we could eat in an unworthy manner. Forbidding husbands and wives who are not living in harmony would be a closer example of an application of the warning. The violation of the unity of the Church and care for the less fortunate was “the unworthy manner” of the warning.

Steve Cornell

 

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