Devotionals by Pastor Mike Fabarez

Empty Phrases

Jesus said that when we pray we should “not heap up empty phrases” (Matthew 6:7). Later he lamented a hypocritical form of worship by quoting the indictment that first came through Isaiah: “These people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me” (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew15:8). We must be so careful when we bow our heads to pray, or lift our voices to sing. God is not impressed when we utter mere words such as “Praise the Lord!” or “Hallelujah!” He is looking for worshippers whose spirits (i.e., minds, hearts, and thoughts) are engaged in expressing the meaning of those words (cf. John 4:23). It is easy to melodically recite lyrics of Christian songs, but it takes concentration, sincerity and thoughtfulness to truly worship in song. We should never hide behind fine sounding words while our minds wander through a set of thoughts about something else. This is a special challenge when someone else is leading us in prayer during a church service or at a Bible study. Those words coming from the one composing and vocalizing the prayer must be echoed in our own minds and then thoughtfully directed to God from our own hearts. When we are leading in prayer or praying privately, we must be careful to never “heap up empty phrases” which our minds never grasp or our hearts never direct to God. Real prayer and real worship require our minds. Don’t switch them off. Don’t let them wander. God deserves our full attention and desires our attentive communication.

- Pastor Mike

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Step back a moment, focus your eyes of faith, and then come with Joni into a world you’ve heard about from your youth but have never seen: heaven. You just might discover that heaven is closer--and more real--than you’ve ever thought. In this joyful best-seller, Joni Eareckson Tada paints a shining portrait of our heart’s true home. Joni talks about what heaven will be like, what we’ll do, and whom we’ll see. She shows how heaven will be the satisfaction of all that our hearts cry for, something more real than anything this side of eternity. And Joni tells how we can prepare now for the reality of heaven. With hope for today and vision for those who struggle in life, Heaven invites us to a refreshing and faith-filled picture of our glorious destination. Once you’ve caught a glimpse of heaven, you’ll see earth in a whole new light.

About Focal Point

Focal Point is the Bible teaching ministry of author and pastor Mike Fabarez. Focal Point delivers relevant and accurate Bible exposition on its daily radio broadcast and is dedicated to clearly explaining the truth of God’s Word.

About Pastor Mike Fabarez

Dr. Mike Fabarez is the founding pastor of Compass Bible Church in South Orange County, California and has been in pastoral ministry for more than 25 years. He is committed to clearly communicating God's word verse-by-verse and encourages his listeners to apply what they have learned to their daily lives.

Pastor Mike is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Talbot School of Theology and Westminster Theological Seminary in California. Mike is heard on hundreds of radio programs across the country on the Focal Point radio program and has authored several books, including Preaching That Changes Lives, Getting It Right, Praying for Sunday, and Why the Bible? Mike and his wife, Carlynn, reside in Laguna Hills, California with their three children, Matthew, John and Stephanie.

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