Today is worship! Only 9 days remain before the election! Remember what is at stake! There are several key issues, but one that should be on each of our hearts is the opportunity to being a part of saving babies, whether unborn or born! May God have mercy, and may He not allow the leaders whom we select, to be those who will continue to run a nation that allows the reckless killing of these precious lives. Add to this, the tragic statistic that about 60% of American homes are led by a single parent! These single parents need our support! Emotionally, financially, spiritually and socially… family support! As babies are saved, adoptions must increase! We must determine to be a part of the support system for the well-being of both the birth mothers, and the families who welcome into their homes a new child. Let’s pray for the number of homes with only one struggling parent to dwindle from 60% to 30% then 10%, etc! We pray that our nation would become one that has many families having one man and one women, married and faithful in love! We pray for the relationship of marriage to be embraced again, not just living together, but lovingly married… as God intended! This basic building block is the divine pattern for all societies across the globe. When families are weakened and deviate from the original pattern found in Genesis 2:24-25, it affects our entire society! Let’s pray for families that worship God to increase in our nation! Pray for a return to Deuteronomy 6:4- In Jesus Name, Amen
Prayer is powerful! Anyone can do it! Anywhere, anytime, and with it you will be able to tackle anything that you face in this life! Still, even with prayer being a very easy thing to do, we just don’t seem to do it. This is another reason that our prayers fail… we have the lack of prayer. Jesus explained this, about prayer; “Ask, seek, knock. Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, and knock and the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7, 8) Let’s say that there are 5 frogs sitting on a log. Four frogs decide to jump. How many frogs are sitting on the log? If you said, “one” you wouldn’t be correct because this is a trick question. The correct answer is 5! Right! No one jumped! They just decided to jump. “Just do it” is actually a very important insight! Jesus promised that “everyone who asks, receives and everyone who seeks, finds and everyone who knocks, to him the door will be opened.” Everyone!!! What a promise! However, it only works for those who use it! Use it or lose it. The author, James, was known to have prayed so much that his knees were severely calloused and they called it “camel knees”. He is the author in the Bible who instructs us saying, “We have not because we ask not” (James 4:2). So, the truth is, we do not have because we do not ask! Failure to pray is the failure of prayer. This is the number one reason for us having any true spiritual growth in our lives. We all need to make a deliberate decision to make time for prayer… and do it! I ask you, dear reader, will you begin today and devote yourself… your life… to prayer? “Father, I want to live the rest of my life devoted to prayer. Today I choose to make this choice…just for today I will do it, and then each day after this I will make this same choice… and some day this daily habit will make special victories possible in and through my life!” In Jesus Name, Amen.
|Tomorrow is worship! We only have 10 days left before our election. Let’s reflect on what we have learned and prayed about this past week. Pray for #1- Opportunities to speak about your faith. Pray for #2- Jesus’ desire for the USA to become an obedient nation. A nation of people who are learning and responding to all that He taught and commanded. Pray for #3- That we will take an active part in saving the lives of babies! That we will support leaders and laws that are determined not to murder them. Pray for #4- Our personal development and focus to pray more effectively. That we would guard ourselves from the busyness that stops us from praying. Pray for #5- That the priority of God’s Word and the Spirit’s influence be the guiding lamp to our feet. Finally, pray for #6- That we will strive to put on the whole armor and to have intentional focus in prayer. I came across a great line for thought; “Just for today, I will…” I think that this phrase is applicable to us because even as I scan the list of last week’s prayers, it can be a bit overwhelming. So let us focus on today’s praying! Choose from this week’s issues...just for today! Pray that God will empower your prayers as you pray for—fill in here whatever items fit from what we covered this past week—and add to your prayer time… “just for today!” Join me, as I end this week praying; “Lord, just for today, I pray to put on the whole armor of God. I pray that You will defeat Satan’s schemes and efforts to destroy our nation. I raise the shield of faith and swing the sword of Your Spirit! I pray that You will break down every enemy that comes against Your Truth! Thank You for hearing me about this, just for today! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” **Now, tomorrow, we have another day to pray and seek our “just for today” habit of prayer. You will be blessed and encouraged to see that as you develop your capacity and strength to accomplish more in prayer, you will find that you are growing a little stronger, wiser, and are capable of praying for more and more! Remember, “the effective prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much” (James 5:16).|
Power in prayer is possible for all of us… not just those we perceive to be the “super spiritual”. I say this, because God promised us His power, whenever we pray as He taught us. We, as a united church family, have been praying as God would have us to pray for almost 100 days! During this time we followed Jesus’ pattern in Matthew 6:9-13, known as, The Lord’s Prayer. We have prayed to put on the “armor for spiritual battle” from Ephesians 6:10-20. We learned the 4 attitudes needed for powerful praying; P- R- A- Y. While all of these truths from His Word are a good start, they could never be all that we can and should learn about prayer! Each one of us must make certain that we keep seeking God, personally, and then we must be sure to find ways to seek Him with friends, family, or with the church as a whole church body! (When we can finally schedule it!) I encourage you to devote yourself to regular and daily prayer. John 4 is the story of Jesus being urged by His Father, in prayer, to go through Samaria. His decision to listen and obey what He heard, led to His reaching a whole city with God’s gospel! Wow! What a difference His prayer life made! What do you find stopping you from living with this devoted priority of prayer? Most often, it is not just one thing, but several things that stop our prayer times. A variety of hindrances stop the prayers that win the battles! Let me just start with the reality of “being busy”. It is very easy to get too busy! 24 hours in a day, 8-9 hours for sleep, and maybe 3-4 hours for meals. The average job can easily take 10-12 hours of your day if you include traffic, which leaves, at the most, 3 free hours…just estimating. The conclusion will be obvious, there will be very limited, if any, time for prayer. Along with busyness, comes a second challenge that will also hinder your devotion to prayer, and this will be…your ability to focus. It is extremely hard to “settle down and pray” when lists are still to be done, family has needs (or demands), or even a problem from work is still on your mind and is eating away at your concentration. We can easily find ourselves asking, “where is there even any time for my family, or for my marriage… much less for prayer?!? Now, here is where I am going to tell something that you may not believe. It is about a very busy man from church history, Martin Luther. He, as he observed his very full days of ministry and Bible study was heard to have said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer!” Whoa!!! This is exactly what I have personally discovered! The more I pray… the less time I spend on “important items”, that were just not necessarily my “priority items”. They were things that I found could be done at another time, or even later in the week. I have learned to distinguish between “important issues that were once my priority”, and to rather, allow my prayers to guide me to where I am to focus my energy. This actually results in my having a more effective use of my time! Choose prayer first and see what prayer will do with your priorities! God is a Master in changing a life from just “using time” (as I think is important), to having my time being governed by what He thinks is important. It may seem to be a small difference in adjustments but it will have a big difference that will result in living a life that is focused, deliberate, and effective! Busyness is never effectiveness. Prayer leads to effectiveness. Seek first, in prayer, to building the kingdom of God and a life of righteousness… and all the other things will fall into place and work themselves out! Amen.
Today we fast and pray. Fasting can be a great added measure for effectiveness in prayer. The Bible has many accounts of prayer and fasting done together resulting in a greater power in prayer! Think of the different times in the Bible when there was prolonged fasting and prayer: Moses on Mount Sinai (twice) spent 40 days with God. He fasted during this time. This season altered the entire relationship of God with Moses and the Israelites. This is what God used to forge a new covenant for the nation, a covenant that lasted for the next 1400 years! Elijah was 40 days alone with God, after which he launched the prophets’ school that gave an effective spiritual voice to a very broken nation. Jehoshaphat called the nation to fast and pray when a three-nation-alliance was coming to destroy Judah. God heard their prayers and defeated this triad and gave King Jehoshaphat a great victory. Ezra was three days fasting and pleading before God for the nation and its recovery. Daniel spent 21 days praying and fasting for the future welfare of the Jews. Jesus spent 40 days fasting before entering His public ministry. Each of these seasons of prayer, along with fasting, launched great spiritual movements that had long-term and even eternal impact! Jesus was asked by His disciples why He had greater power in his life and ministry. We see from His answer in Scripture, that Jesus tells us that the “difference maker” is to have greater faith! See in Matt 17:20-21; Jesus answered, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind of power does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” It is from prayer, along with fasting, that enables us to increase our faith into a greater faith! Give fasting a chance! Try joining us each time we fast on Wednesdays and see if fasting improves your focus and desire to grow spiritually. “Father, we separate ourselves in prayer and add our fasting to these prayers. We know that You love for us to hunger for Your Presence, and to desire to be holy as You are holy. Deepen us, that we may increase in seeking Your holiness, and may it be seen in the way we live our daily lives. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
How would you answer the question, “What does Jesus long for?” Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth is mine. Therefore everywhere you go make disciples of those around you so that you create an obedient nation to all I command you. Baptize them in the name of YHWH seen as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and remember and see that I am with you always even to the eternal ages.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Jesus longs for obedient nations, led by obedient leaders who exemplify and teach the citizens how to walk with Jesus and work with each other. Jesus desires that our nation, from top to bottom, is taught and modelled by holy and righteous followers of Christ our King. There are two sides to an obedient nation: #1. Loving God with all our hearts #2. Loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. This can also be said; #1. Worship on one side and #2. Influencing others to love God on the other side. I must live to glorify God and serve others! The one side of who I am is devoted to my relationship with God, and is of the deepest and most sincere nature. The other side is devoted to influencing unbelievers to become believers and then continuing with guiding and encouraging them as they take their journey of holiness… for as long as I am in their lives. This is our purpose for living! It is really that simple! What is Jesus praying for right now? Jesus is praying, “Father, that You would glorify Yourself and Your Son, and unify Your people so that their message to the world would be believed.” What are we praying for right now? May it be the same!
“O Father, glorify Yourself in me and through me and open my heart that I may be used to lead others to seeing that your Son is the Savior of the world!” We are saved to serve! Amen!
Today I want us to think about how important it is for God’s people to be praying and using our power of freedom to vote, as a means of protection for the lives of both unborn and born babies. In Pharaoh’s day, he made a law that commanded midwives to throw all the baby boys to their death, into the Nile River. During Herod’s rule, he tried to have his soldiers kill and eliminate all the baby boys in Bethlehem. Athaliah was a queen who hunted down and killed every baby boy in her kingdom. What is the source and cause of such historical demanding of the termination of the lives of precious babies? It has happened and is still happening on both a national and a global scale. While we may not be able to put a stop to this infanticide on a global level, we do have the power to put a stop to both our local and national murder of infants. How? Through our prayers, and then with our voting. Will you join me in doing what we can to be a part of the solution? There are many layers to this complicated and ancient problem. We can begin by praying for sexual purity among our young people. Pray for parents to guide and develop the next generation in such a way that it leads to their having the knowledge of God and a love for people. Pray for churches to have connection and influence in reaching the young people for Christ. Pray for fathers to take on, again, the true role of being a dad. Pray for a new sense of mothering to be encouraged and inspired in our nation. Pray for families to be made up of a man and a woman who deeply love each other, and are raising children in a love and truth filled environment. We must also remember to pray for those who are a single parents. Single parents are now 60+% of our society’s homes and they need support and wisdom to be able to manage and build a family. In many ways, they are doing with “half a team” what a 100% team, fully functioning, must accomplish. Pray for divided families to forgive each other. Pray for divided families to build trust with each other. Pray for divided families to get good counselling and to create step by step plans that lead to healing the damage that brokenness has done. Step back… get on our knees… and look at the monster of destruction that is out of control waging war on the American family. Only God can clean up this mess! It is like a plate of spaghetti… where do we start? We start with prayer! Seek God! Intercede faithfully! “O Father, we need forgiveness for the way our nation has destroyed the family. We need healing of families that will enable them to become a healthy families! In Jesus Name, Amen.”
Today is worship! What is so important about our public worship? There are many in our world who have to worship in secrecy. Places like North Korea, parts of China, Somalia… they meet in secret, and owning a Bible is against the law! In Afghanistan, the followers of Jesus are forced to meet secretly… if they can even meet at all! In Iran, the churches are monitored and regularly raided by their government. I could go on and on, talking about North Sudan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, etc., these who allow no public worship and abuse their citizens with torture and fines, along with many other ways of persecuting them. It is shocking how many nations oppress the church of Christ. A few years ago I was watching one of our LA Council meetings on cable television. One of the council members was trying to put into law a noise ordinance, to be complied with by our own local churches. I was stunned this was even happening, but what really blew my mind was that there was not one American pastor present at this meeting to be able to object to this plan… including myself! However, there were about 15 Chinese pastors all arguing with this council member that his law was like China law- where freedom for religion was not allowed! Pastor after pastor raised the same point. “We came to escape that restricted environment and enjoy the religious freedom of America!” Horrified and saddened, they urgently appealed to prevent this new “noise ordinance law”. Thankfully, these faithful and courageous pastors won the conversation and this ordinance did not pass! What reason could there be behind a law that was made to squelch and forbid the noise coming from a local church? Sounds of prayer and praise spilling over into a community surrounding the church! Pray for our use of the gift of freedom-of religion! Pray for opportunities when asked what our “noise” is all about, that we will be eager to listen and faithful to tell others that, Jesus is what all this noise is all about! “Lord, You have instructed us to tell, shout, and rejoice with speech, song and words declaring our forgiveness! We, a people chosen of God, living lives that matter, must never cease to express our gratitude for our freedom from sins! How shall they hear without a preacher or spokesmen? Lord, send us before we lose the freedom to speak and listen, or to question and answer that the meaning of life is in a relationship with You! Amen.”