Do you believe that university life is about more than classes, assignments, studying and weekends? Are you interested in finding more meaning and purpose in your life? Do you enjoy listening to and sharing ideas with others? Then, please join our weekly Bible discussion group.

Campus Bible Talk meets every Monday during the school year (except during holidays and during Reading Week Breaks) at Athabasca Hall, Heritage Lounge, at 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Solution to the Problem of Sin

Last evening we concluded our discussion on the Problem of Sin, with the Solution to the Problem of Sin, provided by God in the Bible.  We looked at a few verses from the New Testament that show clearly how Christians are justified and reconciled with God through the blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior.  God has a plan of salvation for mankind and if we seek God diligently, we will definitely find Him.  Finding God will give us peace on this earth and eternal life with God in heaven.

We will study more about how to have this peace and this eternal life when we return next term.  Our first talk will take place, Lord willing, on January 10, 2011, at the same time, 6:00 p.m., at the same place, the Heritage Lounge in the Athabasca Hall, on the University of Alberta campus.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011. 

May God bless everyone of us during this holiday season.

I have included the notes from last evening's talk.

The Solution to the Problem of Sin

Opening Question: Have you ever had to pay a fine, for returning a book late to the library or for violating a traffic rule or regulation?

When we do something wrong, whether it is something small or big, there are consequences that we pay.  At times the consequences extend only to our own lives, but sometimes these consequences can affect other people in our lives, our relatives, friends or even strangers.

We talked last time about the problem of sin.  Sin brought death into our lives, physical death and spiritual death, separation from God.  However, when God created man, He did not want him to live under the power of sin, under the threat of death and separated from God.  God wanted man to live in a close relationship with Him.  And he had a plan since the beginning for this to happen.

In Genesis 3:14-15, we read about the curse that God put on the serpent (the devil) and the promise that one day an offspring of the woman (Eve) was going to crush the head of the serpent:

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.  15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

God says He will put enmity or strife, warfare, between the serpent the Devil and the woman – between the serpent’s followers and her offspring.  Offspring is her family.  Jesus comes from her family and this is the first prophecy or foretelling of the future about Jesus – Jesus is going to crush the head of the Devil – whereas the Devil is only going to bruise Jesus (that happens when Jesus goes to the cross to pay for our sins).

John 3:16 is perhaps the best known verse in the Bible.  It says:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What does this verse tell us?
God loved the world.
God gave His one and only Son.
God wants whoever believes in Him not to perish.
God wants them to have eternal life.
In Romans 5, we read, beginning in verse 1, then verses 6-10

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  10 For if, while 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!

What does it mean to be justified?
To be justified means to be declared free of blame or of the penalty.   We have been declared free because of the blood of Jesus.

What does it mean to be reconciled?
Reconciled means to be accepted, to re-establish a lost relationship, to be settled, at peace.  We are at peace with God because of Jesus.

In 1 Peter 2:24, we read: 24 “He [Jesus] himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

If Jesus took all our sins, which means that we do not have sins anymore in our lives.  Remember, that Adam and Eve were afraid of God and ashamed, because they had broken His laws and His commandments when they ate from the tree God told them not to eat from.  Now, we can approach God with confidence and without any fear because Jesus took the penalty and paid it for us.

But how do we receive this state of peace with God and of salvation from our sins and the promise of eternal life with God? 
We have all taken the first step, which is to learn about these promises and this salvation.  The word of God is the only way to learn about these things.  If we read it, study it, meditate upon it, we will learn about the things that we need to obtain peace with God and salvation.  We will learn the commandments of God and what in particular He wants from us to do to be saved.

Hebrews 9:14 tells us that the blood of Christ cleanses our conscience from our sins: How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

In 1 John 1:7, we read: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

The blood of Christ continually cleanses us of our sins.  No matter our sins, if we come back to God and walk according to His commandments, we can have the forgiveness of our sins.

In Matthew 7:7-8, we read: 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.


God has a plan in place for resolving the problem of sin.  Jesus gave Himself so that our sins may be forgiven.  If we study the Bible, the Word of God, we will learn about what God wants from us to do, in order to be in a good relationship with Him, to have peace and eternal life with God in heaven. We will continue to study more about what we need to do and what God’s commandments are next semester when we return on the 10th of January.  If anyone wants to study these sooner, please see me and we can talk.

Campus Bible Talk 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Problem of Sin

Last evening we discussed the Problem of Sin and its consequences in our lives.  We saw the fall of Adam and Eve, when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and we looked at the results of their sin.  The Bible says it clear that we are all sinners and that sin brings our physical and spiritual death.  However, God has a plan for the salvation of mankind from its sins and this will be the focus of our next talk, the last one for 2010.

The notes from last evening's talk are below.

November 29, 2010

The Problem of Sin

Opening Question: What is something you may have done wrong and what were the consequences?

We are not perfect people, although we may try to do the best in our lives.  There are times when we are not able to achieve what we want and sometime we may do the wrong or incorrect thing, no matter how much we may want to and try to do the right things.

Today, we are going to look at the problem of sin and what does the Bible teaches us about that.

In the beginning, God created everything, including man and woman, and everything was good.  In Genesis 1, verses 26-27 and 31 we read that:

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Everything that God created was good.  The earth, everything in it, the man and the woman, everything was good.

In Genesis 2, verses 8-9, we read that:  8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A little later, In Genesis 2:16-17, God commanded man not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  This was because they would die if they did that.  We read: 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

In Genesis chapter 3, we read about how the woman (and the man) did not listen to the advice of God and they did what God commanded them not to do.  We read, beginning in verse 1 to 19: 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”  2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”  4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.
5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.  8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”  14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals!  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”  17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.  18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

What did Adam and Eve do?
They listened to the words of the serpent and not to the words of God.  They disobeyed God and broke His commandment.

What was their punishment?
Adam and Eve lost their special relationship they had with God and they were sent away from the Garden of Eden.  Now, they would know the world of pain, suffering and death.

Now, there are many lessons from this passage and I wish we had time to discuss all of them.  However, today we are going to focus on the fact that Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, who was the incarnation of Satan or the devil (we know this from one other verse in the Bible – Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him; and they broke the commandment of God.  In the Bible, breaking the commandment of God is referred to as “sin” or “sinning”.  Word for word this means “to miss the mark” – so you are trying to do something right or hit the target and actually you missed it.

So, Adam and Eve missed the mark of keeping the commandment of God.  Their punishment was physical death and spiritual death.  They were separated from God and they could not draw near to Him, because sin had stained their bodies and their souls.

The sin nowadays also follows us.  Like Adam and Eve, we also know the world of pain, suffering, rejection and death.  How does it happen that we sin?  James helps us explain how sin happens in our life.  In James 1, verses 13-15, we read: 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

So, what causes us to sin?
Our own evil desires cause us to sin.

In James 4:17, James continues to explain that: If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.  This shows that there are two types of sin – sins of commission – doing something wrong and sins of omission – not doing something you should.  Both are sins and both cause us problems and consequences just like when a drunk driver hits a person crossing the street – the sin of drinking and driving causes the problem and consequence of killing another person or at least injuring them, losing your drivers license and possibly paying fines or going to jail. 

In Romans 3:23, we read: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 

According to this is there anyone who has not sinned?
No, we have all sinned.

Romans 5:12 says: Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, (Adam) and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned

What does our sin produce?
Sin produces death, both physical and spiritual – separation from God.

Romans 6:23 tells that: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


As we have seen, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and they sinned against him.  We also sin and break the law of God and thus bring death and suffering upon ourselves.  However, God has a plan to resolve the mankind’s problem with sin.  We are going to discuss this plan and this solution next time.

Campus Bible Talk 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Time for Everything

Last evening we had a special activity.  We enjoyed a pizza/movie night, as well as a study from the word of God.  Our topic was A Time for Everything.  We looked at Ecclesiastes 3 and how God has set a time and a season for everything.

The notes from this study are below.

Today we are going to look at Ecclesiastes 3, the entire chapter, which has 15 verses.  Let us turn to these verses:

Ecclesiastes 3
A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

What does it mean in verse 5, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them?
It means there is a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to end something and a time to start something, a time to bring something to conclusion and a time to start something new.

I like verse 7, the second part, a time to be silent and a time to speak.  It means that sometimes we need to speak up about something we feel it is important for us; however, there is a time to be silent and to think and analyse and allow for other people to also have a chance to speak up.

9 What do workers gain from their toil?  10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.  14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
15 Whatever is has already been,
   and what will be has been before;
   and God will call the past to account.

God has appointed a time and a season for everything.  In verse 12, we see that Solomon, the wisest man on the earth, by the wisdom and the inspiration of God, is telling us that “nothing is better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”

Therefore, let us take some time now away from the worries and the problems of life.  Let us enjoy the blessings of God and this time of fellowship with one another.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What is Our Purpose?

God blessed us with a great study last evening.  The topic was What is Our Purpose?  We looked at the Bible to find the answer to this question.  We learned that God wants us to have reverence for Him and to keep His commandments.  Furthermore, God wants us to show kindness, love, mercy and goodness to people around us, and to provide for both their spiritual and physical needs.

These are the notes from this talk.

November 15, 2010

What is Our Purpose?

Opening Question:  What is your favourite object or tool and what is its purpose?

While occasionally it is possible to use an object not exactly to their made-for purpose, most of the time the result will not be that satisfactory or at times it could be disastrous.  Think about using a sledgehammer instead of a mallet or a simple hammer.  Certain objects are designed and made with a unique purpose and if not used according to that purpose they will be broken and destroy everything else in their path.

Now let us look at our purpose according to the word of God, the Bible.

God created us with a unique purpose

Earlier we have discussed how God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27).  This means that we have in us the potential to be good, patient, loving, kind, graceful, and merciful and all the qualities that God has instilled in us.

Ecclesiastes, in the Old Testament, is written by Solomon, the wisest man ever to live on the earth (and also one of the richest men – 1 Kings 10:23).  In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, we read: 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

According to Solomon, the duty of all mankind is to fear or have reverence for God and to keep His commandments.  God will judge everything that we do, whether it is good or evil, so we need to be careful with our lives.

In the same way that a marathon runner prepares for a very long time for his race, training and working hard to achieve his goal, in the same way we are to strive with our best efforts in order to achieve our goal and fulfil our purpose.

Besides Jesus, no one else can offer eternal life.  Jesus said in John 14:6 that: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

So if our purpose is to keep God’s commandments.  How do we keep the commandments of God?
By studying the Bible and learning about Jesus and about the commands that God has given us through Jesus and the words of the Bible.

Jesus himself told his apostles before going back to Heaven, in Matthew 28:18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

One of our purposes is not only to study and learn the commandments of God, but to obey the Bible and what it says as it is Words from God. 

Another purpose for Christians is to take care of the needs of other people, not only their spiritual needs, but also their physical needs.  Many verses in the Bible tell us about the responsibility of Christians to do good and to help other people, in whatever they need.  James 2:14-17 tells us that: 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

What is James talking about here?
Our purpose is to help each other, our brothers and sisters.

Paul tells us very clearly and plainly in two letters about what is expected of Christians, people who are trying to be like Christ.  We read in Galatians 6:2: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. And in Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

What does it mean to carry each other’s burdens?
Helping and providing for the needs of the other people.

What does it mean to look for the interest of the other, not just for your own interest?
That whatever other people need we should look to fulfil that need and not ignored it.

2 Timothy 2:20-22 says:  20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.   21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

What are some of the evil desires of youth?
Wanting to get rich, wanting to be powerful and famous, etc.

What does it mean to pursue righteousness?
To do those things that according to the standards of God, not of man, are considered right.


God has created us for a unique purpose: to show reverence to Him and to keep his commandments.  We need to learn about the commandments of God, teach them to the world and provide not only for the spiritual needs of the people, but also for their physical ones.

Campus Bible Talk 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Knowing God

Knowing God was the topic of our talk last evening.  We discussed the different ways in which we learn and we know about various subjects and how we can know God by reading and studying the Bible.  We looked at a few verses from the Bible, which explained that Jesus is the only way in which God is speaking to us today and that we should listen to Him.   Out talk concluded with the idea that the Bible is the complete word of God and that there are no more new revelations or additional truths beyond those in the Bible.

Please find below the notes from this talk.

November 8, 2010

Knowing God

Opening Question:  What is your favourite way to learn something new?

There are many ways to learn about something.  One and the most common one is to study it in some form of organized education.  Some people learn from practice or by working along those people who are already knowledgeable about the topic in question.  Nowadays, many things can be learned on the Internet and many courses are even offered online.

How can we know about God?

1.         The Bible teaches us about God

God has revealed himself through the words of the Bible.  In Hebrews 1:1-2 we read:  1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

In the Old Testament, God spoke to some of the people directly.  God spoke to Adam and Eve, to Noah, to Abraham and to Moses.  In Exodus 3, verses 1 through 4, we see God talking to Moses:  Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.  3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”  4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

So, in the Old Testament, if people wanted to know the will of God, they were expected to listen to the word of the prophets, to whom God had spoken.

In the New Testament, God spoke to people through Jesus Christ.  In John 12:49-50, Jesus says that: For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.  50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

What does it mean to us that God has spoken through Jesus?
We should listen to Jesus to find out the will of God.

The New Testament has recorded many teaching of Jesus.  The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are accounts of Jesus life, His teachings and His miracles.  The other books of the New Testament are written by people who were taught by Jesus, who spent time with Jesus and with His apostles and disciples.

Mark 3:13-14 says: 13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach

the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament, is the word of God ultimately even though people wrote it down, because God spoke it both to the prophets, and to Jesus and to His apostles.

The New Testament says that it is given by God, inspired by God.  In 2 Timothy 3:16, we read:  16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  And Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:21: For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

When a secretary types a letter dictated by her boss, who is actually writing the letter?
The boss, of course.  The secretary just writes down what he or she tells her to.

So, when Paul and the other writers penned down the word of the Bible, they only wrote what God told them to write.

In the same way that in order to know how to use a new computer or a new TV we need to read the manual, in order to know God, we need to know the Bible.  The word “testament” also means “will”.  In order to know the will of God for us, we need to study the Bible and listen to the words of Jesus, written in the Bible.

2.         The Bible teachings are complete

Not only is the Bible the way to know God, but the Bible is also complete.  Today, we do not need any other book written by men to complement the word of God. 

In Jude 3, we read that: Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.

What does it mean that the faith was given once for all?
It means that we do not need new faiths or new revelations about faith today.

Revelation 22:18-19 teaches us that:  18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.  19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

We are not to add or to take away from the word of God, and we are warned with a great punishment if we do such a thing.

What does it mean to add to the word of God?
It means to teach things that God did not include in His word, the Bible.

Paul is very clear when he advises us not to turn our ears to teachings that are not in the Bible.  He says in Galatians 1:6-9:  6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.  8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!  9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Even if an angel appears to us and teaches something different from the word of God, we are not to believe them.


We can know God and His will for us by studying the Bible, which is the inspired, true and complete word of God.

Campus Bible Talk 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Notes from Prayer - part II

Last evening we concluded our two-part discussion on prayer.  We talked about the need to pray consistenly, in all circumstances.  We looked into those situations when God answers our prayers with a "no" or "not now" answer.  Finally, we saw how our prayers should be a reflection of our lives and that we should live in such a way as to not hinder our prayers.

Below are the notes from last evening's talk.

November 1, 2010

Prayer – part II

Opening Question:  What is one thing you usually like to say to people when you talk to them?

In our last lesson, we discussed how we can always talk to God through our prayers.  We talked about some of the things we can pray to God for and how to do this.  We noted that our prayers help us to focus our thoughts and our decisions on what we need and what God can do to provide for us.  And, lastly we saw how God blesses us through our prayers.

Today, we are going to discuss a few more thoughts about the prayer.

1.         The prayer should be a constant act in our lives

We are told to pray at all times, regardless of the circumstances in our lives.  We do not pray only when things are going great in our lives nor do we pray only when things are going poorly and we need help.

Here is an example of a prayer of thanksgiving: Ephesians 1:16: I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  Paul is saying that he remembers the church in Ephesus, giving thanks to God always in his prayers.  In Philippians 4:6, Paul urges the church in Philippi: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

So, in our prayers we give thanks to God for His blessings, without being anxious on what the outcome will be, because we know that God hears us and He answers our prayers.

We should give praise and adoration to God when we pray to Him.  1 Chronicles 29:11 says: Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all."

In Acts, chapter 16, we have the example of Paul and Silas praying while they are imprisoned.  Let us read verses 16-25:  16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.  17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved."  18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.  19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.  20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.  23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

As we can see, Paul and Silas were praying when things were not going right in their lives, after they were beaten and thrown in jail.  In the following verses, we read that God saved them from imprisonment and that even the jailer believed and became a Christian.  So, no matter the circumstances in our lives, we should not give up praying.

When we pray, we can pray for our family and friends, for those who are sick or sad.  We can pray for those who are not Christians yet.  We can pray for your own spiritual growth and any other needs that you may have.  Matthew 7:7 says: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

2.         God answers some of our prayers with a “no” or “not now”

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, we read about Paul having a “thorn in his flesh”: 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Paul had some kind of physical impairment, about which he asked God to heal him.  However, God’s answer was “no”. 

Now, we know from other verses that Paul had the power to heal people.  In Acts 28:7-9 we read: 7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably.  8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.  9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.

Why did God reply with a “no” to Paul’s prayer?
God’s power was made perfect in Paul’s weakness.  It is not necessary for God for us to be powerful or rich in order to be good servants to God.  God has created everything and everything is His.  He wants us to serve Him with our spirits and with our hearts.

Sometimes, God answers our prayers with a “no” or “not now”.  It may be that our prayer was in accordance with His will.  It may be that we may think whatever we are praying for will help us in our lives, but God, in his infinite wisdom, knows best and he will provide us what we need and what is best for our overall life.  Like our earthly fathers or mothers that sometimes say “no” or “not now” to our requests.  It is not because God does not love us, but because he loves us that he is willing to say no in that the right plan for our lives can happen.

3.         Our prayers should be a reflection of our lives

In 1 Peter 3:7 we read that: Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

The verse says that if we are not acting appropriately in our lives, this will hinder our prayers.

How can our prayers be hindered by our actions?
We cannot focus on what our needs are and what we should ask from God if we are not living in a way that is worthy and pleasing to Him.  While God is always willing to listen and to provide for our needs, we should also be willing and able to live our lives in accordance with God’s will, so that our actions will not hinder our prayer.  We cannot do wrong things in our lives that prevent us from praying or doing the right thing, then turn around and blame God that he did not help us with the problem or request that we ourselves aren’t willing to help others on.  That would be like someone coming to you and saying why did not you help me get a better mark in school?  And you say, but you did not ask!  And they reply, well, I was too busy partying and staying up late, so I was too tired to ask you – but you should have realized that and helped me anyway.  In the same way we have to be careful not to blame God when we mess up.


Prayer should be a constant act in our lives and we should pray to God no matter the circumstances in our lives.  God always answers our prayers, although sometimes His answer is “no” or “not now”.  And finally, we should live in such a way that we will not hinder our prayers.

Campus Bible Talk 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Prayer - part II

This evening we are going to conclude our discussion on prayer, with "Prayer - part II".  You are welcome even if you missed part I last week, since we will have a quick review at the beginning of the lesson.

We do not have the Heritage lounge tonight, so our meeting place will be in the hall right in front of this lounge and we will meet as usually at 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Notes from Prayer - part I

Last night we focused on "Prayer - part I."  We discussed about how we can pray to God, what to say and what are some things that we can ask from God.  We looked at the importance of prayer in our lives, to guide our thoughts and our decisions and to realize what blessings God has already given us.

Here are the notes from last night's talk.