How We Can Limit God- Part Three

       Several weeks ago I started a three-part series about ways we limit God.  One of the ways we limit God is by having a lack of faith; another way is by having un-confessed sin in our lives.  This week, I am going to address a third way that we can limit God.

       In addition to the two ways mentioned above, we also can limit God through ineffectual prayer.  James 5:16b says, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."  If this is true, then the opposite must also be true; ineffectual prayer availeth little.  So how can we know that our prayers are making a difference?  I would like us to take a look at three words in this verse.

       First, lets look at the word "effectual."  According to this dictionary, the word "effectual" means, "Producing an effect, or the effect desired or intended; or having adequate power or force to produce the effect. The means employed were effectual."  How can we know that our prayers will have enough power to be effectual?  First, let me explain something about how prayer works.  As humans, we have all sinned, and thus cannot approach God.  However, I John 2:1b says, "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:"  Jesus is our advocate, meaning that Jesus  approaches God for us.  Thus, Jesus is the one who gives power to our prayers, so our prayers won't be effectual unless we are connected to Jesus.  This brings us to the second word, "righteous."  

       According to the same dictionary , the word "righteous" means, "Just; accordant to the divine law. Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man."  If we are not living righteous lives, we cannot be having fellowship with Jesus, and therefore our prayers won't make much difference.  Now, by "righteous lives," I don't mean that we will never sin.  Everyone sins, but Proverbs 24:16a says, "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again."  When a righteous man sins, he doesn't give up; he gets up and keeps going!

       Lastly, lets look at the meaning of the word "fervent."  According to the same source, the word "fervent" means, "to be hot, to boil, to glow."  Are you hot, or just lukewarm?  Fervency has nothing to do with how loud you pray with your mouth, but rather how loud you pray with your heart.  In other words, a fervent prayer isn't measured by the tone of the mouth, but by the temperature of the heart.  The more a person wants his prayer to be answered, the more fervently he will pray.  If you find yourself indifferent as to whether or not your prayers are answered, ask God to change your heart and make you passionate about the things that He is passionate about.

       In summary, if you are connected to Jesus, you will live righteously, which will lead to effectual prayers.  And when you are in fellowship with the Maker of the universe, your spiritual temperature will rise, leading to fervent prayers.  When these things happen, God's un-limited power is suddenly unleashed!

Men's Camping Trip

       I am deviating from the series I am doing on how we limit God, but I will finish it.  For now, though, I am going to do a post about camping trips.  Men's camping trips, that is.  I recently went on an overnight camping trip with my five brothers, and that resulted in some ideas for a blog post.  So here goes.....

       Things you must take on a men's camping trip-
1.  Guns.  It wouldn't be a "men's" camping trip without them.  We took our 22's and a BB gun; just take your gun of choice.  (On longer trips, you may need a bigger gun and some dynamite.)
2.  Ammo.  Obviously.
3.  Knives (such as pocket knives, hunting knives, etc).  Pocket knives can double as butcher knives and table-knives and can even work as a fork in a pinch (but only on a "men's" camping trip).  This thought may sound gross to some people, but seriously, if you can use a knife for raw meat, then why not for cooked?
4.  Sleeping bags.
5.  Men.  Preferably younger brothers, at least if you have them.  If not, call me about renting mine.
Brothers can come in handy, serving as cooks, fire-starters, wood-collectors, etc.

       Things that aren't necessary, but are handy.
1.  Flashlights.  Let me explain.  If your brothers are like mine, they will take a flashlight along, and you can borrow it!  This is seriously what happened on our trip.  Two of my brothers brought flashlights, and the rest of us didn't.  Well, while getting ready for bed, we just shared the flashlights, and that worked fine until the two with flashlights left the tent to get something, at the same time!  Now, before you think that we had an argument about it, we didn't.  After all, real men don't argue.  They settle disagreements with fist-fights! (JUST KIDDING!!)

2.  Food.  This is really handy, but you can always get your own grub in the woods.  (No, marshmallows don't grow on trees, but you should be able to get by with some small game and fish.)

3.  A tent.  If you don't have one, you can always sleep under the stars.

       What not to take on a men's camping trip-
1.  Cellphones.  Okay, you can take one if it's absolutely necessary, but don't use it more than you have to.  I mean, what if Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett walked out of the woods and saw you sitting at your campfire texting?  Just be a man, stay off your phone, and enjoy the woods.

2.  Alarm clocks.  If your brothers are like mine, they will wake up at dawn anyways.  And trust me, when my brothers wake up, my sleep is OVER!

       So, with the weather warming up, get out of the house and spend some time in the woods.  And if you are interested in renting any of my brothers for a weekend, give me a call.  And make sure you remember to ask about the bulk rate.  (I give discounts if you take all five!)

DISCLAIMER- This article has NOT been approved or sanctioned by the FDA, EPA, or PITA.  The opinions stated are solely those of the writer.  The writer is not responsible for any calamities suffered by anyone who actually takes his advice.  Do NOT try this at home; only at the campsite!