Friday, January 24, 2014

Review of our Week of Prayer

This week we have set aside 5 days as a church to seek the Lord in prayer. On Monday evening we began with Confession. We looked at a number of things that we needed to repent of ranging from prayerlessness, complaining, gossip and everything in between. Although it was painful to look at things that we can easily overlook, it was a blessing to turn from them in repentance and to experience the times of refreshing that followed.
Then on Tuesday night we moved to a time of Adoration. We considered the attributes of God as revealed in scripture and simply worshipped the Lord for who He is. So much of our times of prayer are spent bringing our requests before the Lord which is a tremendous blessing. However it also important in prayer to worship God for who He is. On Wednesday we began to pray for Revival by asking the Lord to provide a Renewal in our hearts personally, a revival in the church locally, and also an awakening globally. Thursday night we turned our attention toward Missions. We  began to pray over our own Jerusalem and the ministry we do in our community. Then we moved to Judea, and interceded over the ministries we partner with. Following Jerusalem and Judea we prayed over the uttermost parts of the earth, which included the persecuted church. What a humbling thing it is to consider how great the need truly is in the world to hear the gospel.  This evening we will conclude our time of pray by crying out to God over the next generation. 
I am excited to see how the Lord is going to answer our prayers in the days ahead. There is power in prayer. I am reminded of the words of one man concerning prayer. 

"There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer." A.T. Pierson

Monday, January 13, 2014

Good News

Mark 1:1-2 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the Prophets:

In Genesis we read, "In the BEGINNING God created the heavens and the earth." In John we are told, "In the BEGINNING was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." Here in Mark we read "the BEGINNING of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." 
The word Gospel means good news. 
The good news is that although man was formerly separated from God, Jesus died on the cross bridging the gap so we could be reconciled to God. Because of His sacrifice there is atonement for the sins of mankind. Our sins can be erased and forgiven. There is freedom from guilt and shame. There is a glorious liberty found in responding to this gospel. There is a personal relationship provided with the living God. We can have the hope of heaven. We are given the assurance that when we die we will be with the Lord Jesus. There is a hope beyond the grave. The gospel message is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. 
Have you responded to the good news of the gospel? Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

If ever there was a time when we needed good news its now. 
 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Walk

Gal 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.


I enjoy taking walks, and so does our dog. When I put on my running shoes she knows what is about to happen. When I grab the leash she starts to shake with excitement. If my dog had a happy place it would be walking, anywhere!
When the Bible uses the word walk it refers to the order ones behavior or their manner of living. The word flesh refers to the depraved nature of a person. The power of the flesh is broken when a believer is saved. Now although the power of the flesh is broken it is not removed completely. We are no longer in bondage to obey the flesh, but it is still a battle to reckon our old person dead. From the moment we wake up in the morning until we go to bed at night, the flesh constantly attempts to control the believer as it did before salvation made you alive to the Lord.
In any given situation I am given the opportunity to walk after the life of the Spirit or to walk according to my flesh. 

As a believer chooses to order his life according to the working of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will provide the power to overcome the evil desires of the fallen nature.  As a child of God chooses to cooperate with the Spirit of God, there is victory.
How we need to be filled with Holy Spirit and to be baptized with His power (Acts 1:8). As we walk in the Spirit we are not going to fulfill the lusts of the old life. We won't be entangled in the things that once dominated us and controlled us.
The Spirit of God is waiting to be depended upon.  He won't force you to do something, but He will provide what you need as you yield to Him.

If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. Luke 11:13

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Liberty or License

Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Paul encouraged the believers to "stand fast" in their liberty that Christ had made them free. He exhorted them not to hearken to those who were coming into the church with an oppressive legalistic, and self righteous relationship with the Lord. The believers had been liberated, adopted, redeemed, saved, and it wasn't because of what they had done, but because of what Jesus had done. There is a glorious liberty in Christ, especially when you consider that we were formerly in bondage to sin. We are to praise God for that liberty, for the Bible says whom the Son sets free is free indeed. 

Paul however did not want to be misunderstood by his readers, and therefore he gave an important clarification on the Christian's liberty. The liberty that we have in the Lord is NOT a liberty to go out and sin, but rather a liberty to NOT TO go out and sin. You see before you knew Christ you had no liberty over sin, you were in bondage. But now that you are in Christ, you do have the liberty to no longer live a lifestyle of sin.

There were some who falsely looked at the grace of God as a license for licentiousness. In other words, now that I have grace I can live however I want. I can indulge in my former practices but have grace to bail me out. Those who think that way, and live that way do not truly understand the grace of God. When a person is born again the Lord gives them a freedom not to go back into the world.  Paul corrected this view in writing to the Romans, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" Romans 6:1-2

I have found that the Holy Spirit actually exercises a stricter supervision in my life. The Holy Spirit gives me the desire and the power to turn from all the things that I used to be in bondage to. As a believer I passed from under the control of a mere system of legal enactments into the control of a person, namely God the Holy Spirit.




Saturday, January 4, 2014

An Unexpected Way to Bring in the New Year

For most of us, we enter into a New Year with an expectation. We are hopeful of what the coming year will bring. We want to start off on the right foot. We want to start out of the blocks running in strength. That is how I wanted to start out. Yet the Lord apparently had other plans. 
First of all I developed a strange infection underneath my jaw line. There was a spot near the lymph nodes that began to swell. So I went to the doctor and had to have it looked at and have a minor procedure done to remove it. Thankfully it turned out to be a bacterial infection, for which I am taking antibiotics and healing. However it did leave a nice hole in the side of my face that is beginning to mend. On the same day I went into the see the doctor, I strained my back. I could not twist to the right or left without feeling sharp pain. Happy New Year indeed.  I went into the New Year thinking, "Okay Lord I am not certain what all of this is about, but I know I need You, that's for sure." 
My family and I were able to go out of town for a few days. During this time I was able to begin the healing process and seek the Lord in prayer. The Lord is so faithful to speak to us when we seek Him. I began reading through 1 Samuel looking at the story of Hannah. Twice it is recorded that, "the LORD closed Hannah's womb." For a season, God did not allow Hannah to have a child. During this time in her life she was broken. Others who knew her best could not understand what the Lord was taking her through. Yet in the midst of her personal disappointment Hannah turned to God. The Lord answered Hannah's prayer and gave her a son whose name was Samuel. As I thought about the story of Hannah, I realized we don't always know why God allows certain things to take place in our lives. We don't always have answers to life's questions. It's important that like Hannah, we turn to the Lord. That we go into the House of the Lord and pour out our heart before the God who loves us. Sit at His feet and worship Him for who He is, and what He has done. I am not certain of what this year will bring, but I am certain that I am not alone. You can have that same assurance.