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April 7, 2022 7:05 am
Reality check. Let's admit sometimes our prayer life falls into a pattern that's predictable and even obligatory. We know were supposed but were not especially good at a loss.
We search for the right words and often fall back on clichés well today on Insight for living Chuck Swindoll's teaching from Colossians chapter 4 section of Paul's letter that should restore our passion for prayer.
This is message number nine entrance 10 part teaching series through Colossians. He titled today's message a brief checklist for the near the end of our time in the little letter to the Colossians as we arrive in this fourth chapter. This verse two through verse six, section is a bit of an interlude's quiet. It's before Paul's magnificent conclusion to his letter renames any number of people and finishes his letter with remember my chains. May God's grace be with you easy to forget, isn't it, that entire letter is written while he is chained to a Roman soldier at his side is under house arrest.
He has no idea what his future holds. There is not one word of pity he doesn't even asked that we pray that our then they would pray that he would be released what he prays and asked prayer about is the opportunity that is his obvious sitting alongside this one soldier after another.
Day after day, month after month chapter 4 verse to devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart, pray for us to that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chain. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should live wisely among those who are not believers and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone listening to Insight for living to search the Scriptures with Chuck Swindoll. Be sure to download his searching the Scriptures. Studies by going to inside world.org/studies and now the message from Chuck called a brief checklist for believers. Never underestimate the power of small thing little thing little in size but not little insignificant small words words we speak may seem unimportant, but sometimes they have the ability to change the whole course of our lives, small D actions that we are involved in the day, no applause and often will not even be seen by others, but all the difference. Those actions can make some time. Blending small words with actions that seem insignificant result in phenomenal change to lives come to mind that are so different they lived separate from each other but a small world of small word changed everything.
Ehrhardt wanted to be an aviator but two obstacles stood in her way. Number one she lived in the 1920s. It was an era when there was great prejudice against women doing much of anything outside the whole.
They were considered frail and weak and fragile and really not that competent. Secondly, she was a woman because of that she didn't have what some would call this stuff necessary to fly a plane. She couldn't make a living as a pilot and show she she took a job as a social worker one day out of the blue the phone rang and the person on the other. The line offered an offensive proposition to her. He said to her, we have someone willing to fund the first female transatlantic flight. Our first choice backed out so we come to you and we decided to ask if you would do it but you need to understand the details. You won't actually fly the plane you'll sorta be along for the ride. Two men will be set on the fly is your chaperone. They'll fly the plane will pay them a lot of money. We will pay you anything. She now understood why the first person didn't choose to say yes. 01 more thing the added you very well may die while on the fly. There's a very real possibility. The plane will not make it across the will. Guess what amelia Ehrhardt said the little word yes changed everything. Not in that flight. But in less than five years. She became the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic and later became one of the most famous and respected people in the whole world. All the calls of one little word yes Ruben hurricane Carter lived in the 1960s was a prizefighter at the top of his game if you will.
His career took off in a meteoric way and he was known all over the country is the best among the boxers in the middle weight class. However, he was wrongly accused of a horrific crime he did not commit a triple homicide. There was a rush to judgment. He was put on trial in front of a prejudice judge and prejudiced jury came up with a bogus verdict that he was guilty three life sentences in prison were leveled against him. It was a dizzying sudden fall from the pinnacle of success and fame and fortune. He had known and earned Carter could have accepted his fate with a shrug and spent the rest of his years behind bars. When he decided he would not live the rest of his life as a victim, and he uses the little word no is the basis of his belief. I am not guilty. I do not deserve this verdict. I won't accept this fate and you did something about it. He spent his time and energy reading and studying law and history as he planned his own defense. He refused to believe that they can ruin his life. They had merely put them in a place he didn't deserve. And he would let that ruined his life. He determined he would one day leave the prison walkout, an innocent man a better man, and an improved man. It took 19 years and two lengthy trials to overturn the verdict. Ultimately he walked out of that prison and resumed his life. All because of a little but not insignificant word followed by strong determination. The word no. I repeat my opening line. Never underestimate the power of little things I agree with the American author Bruce Barton who later became a congressman. Sometimes what I consider what tremendous consequences, from little things I'm tempted to think, there are no little things but the time I'm through. I hope you will feel the same way all of us tend to sell little thing short, we think talk is cheap is not cheap at all weaving words are often throw away words very few were throwaway words were to learn from these lives that are yes should be yes leading to what may be real possibilities and are no needs to be followed with strong determination that will result in very significant set of things.
The things we say and the things we do mean a lot. The apostle Paul would certainly agree with that. In these five simple sounding versus of Colossians chapter 4 he underscores the importance of the simple word small but not insignificant.
Pretty and also the importance of a simple but not insignificant action word wall versus two, three and four. We look vertically into the Lord's face as we bring to him.
Our prayers and he spells what that would include and then in verse five and six.
We look around us at those who were on the outside so if you will versus two, three and four are addressed to the insiders and one of the most important things we could do however our best work and it is not done around anyone else. You don't pray and call attention to yourself.
You don't pray using words that are repressive or complicated, but we pray in all sincerity to a God who hears us and we await him for an answer and then when we walk we walk in such a way that those on the outside, become curious and cannot ignore the fact that we are different from the average individual. They live around will look first at the vertical, two, three and four and we will learn about training among and for insiders and then we will look at Fort versus five and six. The way we walk.
Look at how Paul writes of this.
First, he writes a prayer with word, a word like devotion devote yourselves to prayer. The Greek says continue watching it with Thanksgiving.
There's passion in the statement. Prayer is active, not passive prayer was Bo not weak.
Remember Hebrews 4 we are to come boldly before the throne of grace, not in weakness, not pleading not begging not hoping were going to be heard but boldly walking boldly into the presence of God. Yet humbly acknowledging that he has the right to answer.
However, he please we are to pray with an alert mind and with a thankful heart not to be dreamy and wondering in our prayer we are to have a series of thoughts that are expressed devotedly in today's terms, I would use the word get the words get with it when it comes to prayer. Get with it, don't mumble the prayer don't come halfheartedly, but come with vigilant with a mission in mind, devote yourselves to pray with an alert mind and a thankful heart. I'll be honest with you I don't know of any harder work than prayer devoted prayer passionate prayer prayer. That's utter behind-the-scenes with confidence speaking to someone you cannot see chatting by faith on something you have not felt or heard. And yet there it's claimed by prayer and he says in this oh so not only to be devoted to prayer but to be visionary look at how he puts it, pray for us to that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ's like it that Paul doesn't hesitate when he says pray for me, why were like this, but sometime were hesitant to say when someone says how can I pray to to answer, pray first for me. Pray for me. Let me tell you what my needs are. I will often have thoughtful people ask me what are two or three things I can pray for you about always appreciate Paul doesn't wait to be asked.
He offers what they can pray for, pray for us. How do we pray look at what it says that God will give us many opportunities, literally, that God may open to us a door of the word everyday religion we face close doors we face obstacles. We stand in front of what appears to be in a shut opportunity that we would wish would open. That's what we pray about. Pray that there might be an opening that God can bring. It may seem close to us but to God.
There is no such thing as open or closed, and in his own time and in his own way. He opens the door and the apostles case is this. Pray that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ had to stop to think about where Paul was. He was in a house in Monroe chained at the wrist to a Roman soldier.
What a terrific opportunity. I call that a captive audience.
He can't get away.
He's chained up to me.
Pray that I will have the words to use that I will have the approach that would be appropriate. Pray that I might make inroads into his thinking, because all of his life. He has been a Roman. He has been taught all the mythology of the Roman world. He is been reared by parents who were pagan and the soldier sitting by me is an open door of opportunity pray as he puts it, that I may make the message clear and obvious as verse four. Pray that I will proclaim this message is clearly as I should. In fact the sentence before that.
That's why I am here in chain the Lord know what he was doing when he put Paul to absolutely if they will come to Paul. The Lord will make it possible for them to chained themselves to them and once they are chained to him, he will have the opportunity to make Christ known was it affected go back to Philippians 1 book just before Colossians go to Philippians 1. Look at verse 12. You will see in verse 12, a reference to the same situation. This is one of the prison epistles, the call, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
All four of them written under house arrest while polished chain.
You and I might be there at the fact that were not able to be out on the streets making Christ known Paul isn't he realize God is sovereign. He has been here for a purpose and so he tells us in Philippians 112. I want you to know this, my dear brothers and sisters that everything that is happened to be here. This helped to spread the good news read on for everyone here, including the whole palace guard knows that I am in chains because of Christ's, and because of my imprisonment. Most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God's message without fear. How great is that you think the praetorian guard would have ever sent out an invitation and said to Paul, Paul, come in to the palace and let us know about Christ. They wouldn't do that. So the Lord takes one soldier after another, and plants him next to Paul for an extended period of time the soldiers would rotate. Oh hi Rufus how are you I have met you before, no limit to you why I'm here now wonder why you're under arrest were sitting in the motel you got my 28 chain not going anywhere like witnessing to somebody on the plane 16 hours, they got an opportunity 16 hours bad. Now, how we do it is important you can turn people off and I have a minute. They don't want to listen to another word so you need to know how to do it. That's why pulses help me to make it clear regarding its using words that will be offensive or confusing or over their heads. CS Lewis writes, any fool can write learned language, the vernacular is the real test.
If you can't turn your faith into it. Then you either don't understand it or you don't believe it likely that sounds if your words are so confusing and so high and mighty. You don't really believe you're just mouthing empty word see charset and Spurgeon put it well Christ's and feed my sheep feed my lambs. Some preachers, however, put the food so high that neither she nor lambs can reach.
They seem to have read the text feed my giraffes you're not giraffes you're she, she thought deliberately keep it at the base level I not to insult you, as a matter of fact that's a compliment. I want you to miss one main word of what were reading so that's the reason we break it down to support the only reason I mentioned the Greek is to add color not to impression. On the contrary, is to help you realize there's coloring these words, there is meaning behind the impulses. Because of this opportunity because of my imprisonment. Verse 14 Philippians 1 most the believers. Here again, so not only did he impact the soldiers who had been lost and were now born again. The other people around them, but it visited were gaining confidence Paul could do it and change my goodness to be able to do it as a free man or freewoman about to Colossians. Pray that I will proclaim this message is clearly as I should. So what we learn what we learn to those who are on the inside look closely reborn. To pray continually, gently puts it, devote yourselves to prayer, pray continually we learn to pray passionately not dream a little. Needless words drifting off and on but pray passionately and to pray specifically pray for me. Pray that I will make the most of the opportunity. Pray that I will be clear that that will revolutionize your prayer me tell you a quick story on me because so so many prayers are memorized and I'm a believer in in memorizing a I love to memorize the hymns that we sing a lot to memorize verses of Scripture, but I don't memorize prayers that habit was broken in me by my older brother who love the Lord who long before I did and when we were growing up as kids in this window family. Our parents want to treat us in prayer and so they would ask different ones of the three of us to pray, assist once you prayed she would pray in or want to pray in the when the rent out the kids ask me and they said trust when it when you pray in your is my prayer, God blesses food make a strong free we may use a held in street service or to the and I pray that just like that God blesses food make about as strong free that we will use. I hope things are restored to the amen pass the gravy pass the potatoes passive liver or whatever we were having at night. No passive liver and my brother looked at me one time and he said Charles when you learn to pray.
I mean really pray my first thought was how quickly can I cut his lips off not being very teachable since he was an older brother, but he was right. That was prayer a memorized prayer is not answered.
The mean of blessed thing but going to the motion is like praying like training within the number is nothing. I wasn't a beginner pray he will use original work you do it spontaneous. You don't care what someone else may be thinking because you're all doing it alone listening to Insight for living Chuck Swindoll titled the section of Colossians. A brief checklist for believers and there's much more ahead.
Earlier you heard me talk about the searching the Scriptures, study notes, when were in the middle of the study, like today's it's the perfect time to point you to this helpful resource. Once the program is finished. This interactive study tool is intentionally designed to help you dig deeper on your own so that the truth of the Bible becomes alive to you. If you haven't already done so, check out this creative resource by going to Insight world.org/studies soon will conclude this brand-new 10 part teaching series on Paul's letter to the Colossians, and while there's still time to be sure to take advantage of two helpful books. Chuck is written both of them tie in naturally with our study in Colossians. The first is a full-length commentary on Colossians Libyans and Philemon and the second is a captivating biography on the apostle Paul. It's titled Paul a man of grace and grit. Both of these books. The commentary on Colossians in the biography on Paul are available for purchase when you call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or by going to Insight.org/off.
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The preceding message. A brief checklist for believers was copyrighted in 2014 and 2022 in the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited