YOUNG PEOPLE: RELIGION IS GOOD FOR YOU

I published the results of this research under the post – GOD LOVES YOU, DO YOU LOVE GOD? with a different message but this post is aimed at young people with the message on the CBN video.

Dr. Josh Packard, executive director of Springtide Research Institute, told CBN’s Faithwire about his extensive research into 13-to-25-year-olds, noting studies have long found “religion is good for you.”

“Faith and spirituality are good for you,” Packard said. “If you’re a person who believes in some kind of higher power and has a connection to that higher power, you’re generally flourishing more than your peers.”

He continued, “Those who pray more tend to be flourishing more in all areas, including their mental health.”

Packard’s comments are particularly stunning when America faces an “epidemic of mental health [crises] among young people.” Meanwhile, there’s also a massive rise in the proportion of “nones” who no longer affiliate with a specific faith or religion.

Data pointing to increased wellness among the faithful is particularly pertinent in the midst of these dynamics, pointing to a potential solution to cultural conundrums.

Packard said there are lessons in Springtide Research Institute’s findings that can inform the culture and churches alike, especially in an era in which faith is being downplayed or diminished.

“Young people would be … better off if more of them had a connection to something bigger than themselves,” he said. “But also, I think a lot of religious institutions and leaders would do well to take mental health into account, so that like faith and belief could be appropriately part of somebody’s overall approach to health.”

While young people might not be aligning with Christianity at rates they once were, Packard said many still see themselves as spiritual, and more than half pray.

While the separation from biblical truth is undoubtedly troubling for Christians, these realities show at least openness to a higher power. And that intrigue could lead to receptive Gospel introductions.

“We see lots of desire from Gen Z to embark on these conversations and explorations of meaning and purpose and, ‘Why am I here on this Earth?’” he said. “So, the desire hasn’t gone away. The exploration hasn’t gone away.”

As Faithwire has extensively reported, countless surveys and studies show the benefits of faith.

Recent research has found Christians are exceptional at giving, fare better in relationships, church attendees are happier and more content, and churchgoers have better mental health. Read more about these findings.

PRAYER CONNECTS YOU TO THE SOURCE OF LIFE

God’s Word clearly tells us to ‘pray about everything.’

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21

What an important Scripture read it often and practice what it teaches and you will know the truth about God and His desire to be in a relationship with you.

Today, science is beginning to recognize the value and the power of prayer. Researchers investigating the role of faith in health are discovering evidence that’s hard to refute.

THE MIND HEALTH REPORT (Secrets to Unlocking Your Mind for Work, Love, and Life) produced by Newsmax: A 2014 study confirmed that people who engage in private prayer, intercessory prayer, and church activities are healthier and live longer.

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY: Researchers found that praying for somebody increases your readiness to forgive them. When a group of men and women prayed for the well-being of a close friend every day for four weeks, they were more willing to forgive not only the friend but people in general. Forgiveness is associated with better overall health and satisfaction with life.

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: Their researchers discovered that prayer and religious practices improve your ability to pursue and achieve long-term goals. Prayer affects regions in your brain that improve self-control, and people who view their goals as sacred are more determined to attain them.

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON: A research study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison concluded that victims of abusive relationships recovered a positive self-image and reduced their emotional pain when their lives included prayer.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Columbia University researchers found that people who value religion and regularly attend church are 90 percent less likely to suffer from depression than their non-religious peers.

If you pray according to the will of God expect to receive a response as did Isaiah

As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.Isaiah 7:16

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” Isaiah 29:7

That’s pretty strong evidence in favour of prayer, wouldn’t you say?

Source: The Word for Today

GOD APPOINTMENTS ARE POSSIBLE

Make prayer the steering wheel of your life as do Alex and Stephen Kendrick but you also need to get out of the driver’s seat and let the Holy Spirit take control.

Brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who have created iconic Christian films like “Facing the Giants,” “Courageous,” “Fireproof,” “War Room,” and “Overcomer,” are gearing up for a unique, new project they believe is a “divine appointment” for the times in which we’re living. “Lifemark,” which releases in select theaters nationwide on September 9 with Fathom Events, tells the true story of an adopted young man’s journey to meet his birth parents. The film comes as society boisterously debates the life issue and as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that codified nationalized abortion. The Kendricks, who partnered with actor Kirk Cameron to create the powerful adoption story, know the timing isn’t a coincidence.

This movie is a result of prayer and letting God direct the Kendrick brother’s actions.

Watch this video and be inspired. If you live in the USA watch out for the movie, Lifemark in September.

PRAYING AND MEDITATING ON SCRIPTURE WILL IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH

Gone are the days when gun-shy theologians bowed to the god of science. Reliable scientists are now affirming how ingenious God is and how His principles hold up under the piercing light of scientific scrutiny.

Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, MD, who studies the relationship between spiritual phenomena and the brain, has demonstrated that we were designed physically and mentally to interact with God through prayer and Scripture. It’s a known fact that there are centres in the human brain that respond positively to prayer, reading and meditating on God’s Word, group worship, hymn singing, and empathy for other people. And Dr Newberg believes that practising a personal religious faith is the most powerful way to maintain a healthy brain.

The brain’s frontal lobe is used in focusing attention, rational thinking, and decision-making. It responds to prayer and meditation by helping to reduce stress, strengthen our immune system, enhance memory, and increase our capacity for compassion. It helps us ward off age-related brain deterioration and live longer! Newberg’s research indicates that praying for at least twelve minutes a day slows age-related brain decline. Prayer and reading Scripture also deactivates areas in the brain associated with anger, guilt, anxiety, depression, fear, resentment, and pessimism. It seems that finally, twenty-first-century science has joined ancient Scripture in echoing what the psalmist said: “Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous.’”

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.Psalms 139:13-14

Can you think of a better reason to ‘let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly’?

And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

Source:Vision Christian Media

PPAYERS AND PETITIONS

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:4-7

What an amazing and encouraging Scripture. Do you believe what is says? Is it your experience? It should be, it is mine. Mind you, I am 85 years old and have been serving the Lord many years. For 30 plus years, I owned and managed Christian Press and Care & Share Products distributing Christian materials to Christian and secular gift shops. Over those years I have seen God answer our prayers in amazing ways. You can read about those in my book Build a Kingdom Business – Empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Available on Amazon as an ebook or from me as a trade paperback book – ron@bakb.com.au

CHAPTER 5

God’s Provision and Protection
God miraculously intervenes in a watershed event at Care & Share Products to dramatically impact two organizations and the lives of a number of individuals.
The following scripture is appropriate to this story.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28
As I previously explained, I purchased Christian Press Pty Ltd from Bill Dalrymple in October, 1983.
Bill owned the premises and was very generous in giving us a low rent. One consideration in that decision was the fact we employed his two sons. Both were mentally retarded, one significantly so.
In early 1988, Bill advised me that he needed to sell the premises and he gave me 18 months notice so that I had sufficient time to look for a new home for Care and Share.
We had only just changed the name of the company from Christian Press to Care & Share and our customer focus from Christian Bookshops to Card & Gift Shops. As this was God’s call, we knew Care & Share had a future so were confident He would provide a new home for His company.
Bill employed a major real estate group, Raine & Horne, to look after the property sale. Enter Ted Angus – the protagonist of the story. He is our hero.

Ted Angus was our contact at Raine & Horne. Ted was in his 50’s and I knew on his first visit to inspect the premises that the Holy Spirit was “knocking on his door”. He was not attending a church but had Christian friends and was clearly searching for meaning and purpose in life. Every time he brought people to view the property, we had deep and meaningful discussions. At times, embarrassingly, he was oblivious to the fact that his clients were ready to leave. Over the course of about nine months that it took to sell the property we became friends.
During this time, I gave Ted a number of Christian books to read. As well, he became a regular visitor at the Christian Bookshop in Bankstown which was walking distance from Ted’s, Raine & Horne office.
Cecil, the owner of the bookshop and Ted also became good friends. It was a joy therefore, for both of us when Ted finally came to know his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ about 6 weeks before we moved out of 3 Harley Crescent, Condell Park.
I remember the phone call when Ted told me (“the penny had dropped” – his phrase) he had come to realize who Jesus Christ really is. Ted subsequently repented and accepted Jesus as His Lord and Saviour. The circumstances were interesting; Ted had just finished reading a Christian book Cecil had sold him. Whilst I can’t remember the title, I do remember Ted telling me, the author died before the book was published.
The book was about the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus. The author had had problems with
what he perceived as discrepancies in the different Gospel accounts. I remember Ted’s excitement as he explained to me how the Holy Spirit had given the author understanding. “It was like he was at a football match and realized that a person on the other side of field would have a different perspective on the match and therefore give a different report on it”.
Amazingly, the Holy Spirit’s inspiration prompted the author to write the manuscript. Though he died, it was the instrument God used to convert the author’s brother and get the book published so it could
aid the Holy Spirit to change the lives of people like Ted Angus.
Also, if Bill had not sold number 3 Harley Crescent, I would never have met Ted and be used by
God in his conversion. No doubt, God could have done it differently but as you will see, God had
much more to show Ted through the relocation of Care and Share.

If you want to read the rest of this amazing story which includes God using a hail storm to get us into the right premises, you will need to purchase the book.

CONNECTING WITH GOD

Want to connect with God then pray as David did.

Five days ago I posted Getting in Step with God which was also based on David’s Psalm 25. I was extremely disappointed as I did not get one like or one comment and yet I thought it was a powerful message that needed to be reinforced. Hence this post, although this time, I am giving you almost the entire psalm. God’s word is more powerful that my words.

Teach Me Your Paths – Psalm of David (Psalm 25)

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and He makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.”
Psalm 25:1-21

We know David was a sinner (Bathsheba and Uriah) but he understood repentance and God’s forgiveness. He was a man who feared the Lord. God even said He was a man after God’s own heart. What does this mean? I think it means David knew and trusted God and was doing His best to live that out.

What we need is humility in relation to ourselves and confidence in relation to God.

David understood the truth of God’s Word. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” Psalm 66:18-19, What about us? Do we know God has heard our prayers as David did?

(ebook) Love to Pray - Religion & Spirituality Christianity

If you want to improve your prayer life then I would recommend you get the book by Alvin Vandergriend Love to Pray. It will take you on a 40-day journey that will change your prayer life forever. Love to Pray is all about loving the one to whom you pray and learning to express that love in a continuing dialogue with God. This book will help you discover how to become “devoted” to prayer as a way of life rather than as a duty. This 40-day devotional will transform your prayer life. This book may be done individually, as a small group, or an entire congregation.

Dr. Alvin VanderGriend is the Prayer Evangelism Associate for Harvest Prayer Ministries in Terre Haute, IN. He holds degrees from Calvin College, Calvin Seminary, and Fuller Theological Seminary. He pastored Christian Reformed churches from 1963 to 1982 when he moved to serve that denomination as Minister of Evangelism Resources. In 1996 Alvin became director of HOPE Ministries (Houses of Prayer Everywhere) where he developed the Lighthouse strategy and provided prayer-evangelism training. More recently he served as the National Facilitator of Lighthouse Ministries for the Mission America Coalition.

DO YOU LOVE TO PRAY?

If you do not, it really is an insult to your Creator. You have failed to recognise your true dependence upon Him. You do not take your next breath without His provision. He sustains His universe. Moreover, you do not know the extent of His love for mankind as revealed by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, and in His Word, the Bible.

Dwell on these scriptures:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?Romans 8:31-32

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (Also read the preceding two verses)

Our heavenly Father is delighted when his children acknowledge their dependence as His children.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!Matthew 7:7-11

Jesus makes it clear here that our heavenly Father, who is perfect in His love and unlimited in power wants good things for us , his children.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

God does not promise to give us anything and everything we ask for . But He does make an astonishing promise to us that is even better. He promises to give us whatever we ask for that is according to His will. He knows what we need, the things that are truly good for us, the riches of His grace that He wants us to have.

To find out what is according to God’s will, just read God’s Word, there He tells us what He wants most for us. Go to Romans 8:29 – “to be conformed to the likeness of His Son“.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.Romans 8:29-30

This then should be our starting prayer: “Please heavenly Father conform me into the image of your Son.” You can be sure this prayer is according to His will and it will be answered. The Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life, love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control.

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

Living eternal now is only possible through prayer. Do you realise “prayer is life’s greatest joy, highest privilege and most powerful venture.” Nothing can compare to it. This gem was extracted from the “Love to Pray” course by Dr Paul Cedar.

God wants to use you to do great things but it is only possible through prayer.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalms 16:11

David understood the truth, go to the Psalms for abundant wisdom.

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.Psalms 16:7-9

We were created to be in fellowship with God and we get a glimpse of that with Adam and Eve walking with God in the Garden of Eden before The Fall. Jesus sacrifice for us made it possible for the Father to send the Holy Spirit (third person of the Trinity) to indwell all believers and thus renew our fellowship with God the Father. We need to acknowledge the fact Jesus made it possible for us to pray to our Heavenly Father and we do so by saying “in Jesus name we pray.”

Hopefully, you will come as David did to realise that prayer is the talking part of a love relationship with God. Sadly, many see it as a spiritual discipline, something I need to do to get right with God.

What does God do for those who relate to Him in love? David said it well when he said, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

I hope you do not mind me giving a plug for my book here:

Contents: Chapter 1: Why, Living Eternal Now – Ready for Jesus Return, Chapter 2: Existence of God, Chapter 3: Evidence for Creation & Genesis as History, Chapter 4: Evidence for an Inerrant Bible, Chapter 5: Testimonies of PhD Scientists, Chapter 6: Powerful Testimonies of People (from all walks of life) Living Eternal Now, Chapter 7: Holy Spirit’s Role in Living Eternal Now, Chapter 8: Role of Prayer in Living Eternal Now, Chapter 9: Discerning the Times.

One of the good things about the book is you can choose any chapter/topic of interest and start there. Each chapter is independent from the rest of the book.

Available as an eBook on Amazon. Also available as a trade paperback book by donating AUS$10. Click the Donations icon on the Home Page to do so. You will also need to email the delivery address to ron@bakb.com.au. The donation will cover delivery to anywhere in the world.

YOU PRAYED AND THIS HAPPENED

A God story to encourage all believers to pray more. This is how God works. The Chosen Film series has been a phenomenal success but the Chosen Team had no idea of where to from here. Hence, Dallas Jenkins, Director, Chosen Team, request for prayer.

A month ago, Dallas released a video titled “I’m in a tough spot” (https://youtu.be/Px-FPr–nRQ) expressing a need for prayer and direction for Season Two. Go view it before you view the video below revealing the result of all the prayer.

Once prayer started things started to happen that were unexplainable. A must see video.

ALWAYS PRAY AND NOT LOSE HEART

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Jesus said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”

And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:1-8

This story by Miguel Lau of International Justice Mission demonstrates the need to persist in prayer, no matter what, until God provides an answer. Check out their website http://www.ijm.org.

Miguel Lau recounts how after a year and a half of opening the Bangkok I.J.M. field office our team had yet to get a first rescue. Our staff had already done everything they could. And then they committed to pray.

FORCED LABOR

I felt like the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 was speaking directly to us—to me. So, we decided to pray, every day, until we got our first rescue. We would just keep knocking. No matter what.

One of the spiritual disciplines we follow at International Justice Mission is daily prayer as an office. In the midst of work that can be so heavy, prayer allows us to shine light on even the darkest of challenges. So, every day in prayer I would raise my hand, ask for prayer and sit back down. At the beginning, I tried to come up with something encouraging or exciting to tee up the prayer. But I quickly realized that was mostly for me. And most days I did not have anything exciting to report. I just had the commitment to pray. So, many days all I said was “Please keep praying for breakthrough in Bangkok.”

To be honest, there were a lot of days where I did not want to pray. When I thought about everyone looking at me expectantly as I stood up during prayer—all of the people who worked so hard on the relationship with the grant foundation and the government, all of the people who sacrificed long hours helping us get set up, and all of the people trusting us with each decision to achieve this mission—and all I had to say was “please keep praying for Bangkok,” I did not want to pray. I felt like we were failing. I felt like I was annoying. But we had to keep knocking. God told us to keep knocking.

We did have some victories, including our first two arrests and convictions and a third grant to keep operations going. But we still did not have a rescue. So we kept praying. Every day.

Finally, on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at approximately 9 p.m. Bangkok time, after four long years trapped and abused, the police and our team rescued a young man from the ship he was trapped on. The first rescue on a ship for our Bangkok team.

We had prayed for 15 months. And God had answered.

Not only that, but a second rescue came a week later. Again, God answered our prayers.

Then let the persistent widow be an encouragement to you. Just knock. Over and over and over and over again. Knock until you get an answer.