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Archive for May, 2011

Table Rock

Seven of us from our Saturday prayer group hiked up to Table Rock this morning and prayed over the valley.  Wow.  It was such a beautiful morning to hike the foothills!

Our key verse for the devotion was Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…”  Or another way to put it, Christ set us free so we would be free.  O my word, those words are so amazing!  He’s all about freedom.  Not a freedom to do our own thing (that’s not true freedom), but a freedom to live out of the abundance of who He is.  We are no longer under obligation to source our own life.  We are free in Christ.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for setting us free.  May we have the courage and strength to walk out of our prison cells!

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Within the past few months, I heard of a troubled congregation who was thinking about praying and fasting.  They knew they desperately needed prayer.  They spoke of the value and the necessity of prayer.  The leadership said they were planning on bringing everyone together for extended times of prayer.  Perhaps they are still getting organized.  As of yet, they have not come together as a congregation to actually pray.

Far be it from me to be critical of this congregation.  Every last one of us struggles to deliver on our good intentions.  Setting aside time for prayer doesn’t come easy.  But what struck me about this situation is the notion that we must get organized to pray, when really all we need to do is actually pick a day and time and begin praying…as if our life depended upon it! Whoever can come, will come.  We just need to do it…  “What are we waiting for?” is a good question, because there is no time like the present to pray.  It’s easy to talk about praying and never get to it.  It’s also very easy in our generation to look to organization to make it happen.  Seeking God in prayer is a deliberate choice we act upon.  By not acting, we are dulled by our perpetual attitude of good intentions.

Andrew Bonar wrote, “O brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper—and sleep too—than not pray.  And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest.  The LORD is near.  He comes softly while the virgins slumber.”

Right now is a good time to pray!  The LORD is near…  He is waiting for us to seek Him earnestly.

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I was reminded this morning of that story of the beginning of the Lone Star Mission at Ongole, India:

“A faithful few had held on believing and courageously year after year.  Now the mission was about to be abandoned.  The work had apparently failed; money had failed.  Dr. Jowett and his wife took with them that famous old Hindoo woman, Julia, nearly one hundred years of age, and ascended the hills above Ongole to ask God to save the Lone Star Mission and the lost souls of India.  The old Hindoo saint mingled her tears with her description of that most important and most thrilling moment of her life–that memorable sunrise meeting on “Prayer-Meeting Hill,” as she rehearsed the story one night in Nellore, India, to Dr. Cortland Myers… “They all prayed, and they all believed!… They talked and they prayed again!  They wrestled before heaven’s throne and the face of a heathen world, like Elijah on Carmel.  At last the day dawned.  Just as the sun rose above the horizon Dr. Jowett arose out of darkness and seemed to see a great light.  He lifted his hands heavenward and turned his tear stained face toward the great Heart of Love. He declared that his vision saw the cactus field below transformed into a church and mission buildings!  On that well nigh abandoned field, Dr. Clough baptized 10,000 persons in one year; 2,222 in one day!” — July 23, Mrs. Chas E. Cowman, Springs in the Valley.

May we be so bold as to storm heaven’s throne, believing God for His mighty working power to move heaven on earth for His Kingdom purposes, for His glory!

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Pretense and religiosity are probably the most difficult sins to crack within the human heart.  Remember the religious elite of Jesus’ day?  They were so hardened with spiritual pride that they were impenetrable to the liberating truth of God.  Their reality was so based on falsehood they couldn’t bear to be stripped down to nothing, so they opted out.  Instead, they were insulted and offended by every word Jesus spoke. They clung to their own form and version of godliness and gloated over their authority to have Jesus crucified.  They missed the whole point.

Religious pretense is a self-convincing falsehood.  However, only the one living in falsehood is convinced… Those around the façade see through it quite clearly.  It is as though the one wearing the façade is blinded by its perpetual use.  That’s a frightening thought.

When we try to authenticate something that is false, as though it were real, we are living in falsehood.  We are living a lie.  It’s an affront to God because He sent His Son so that we might come to know WHO HE IS.  As long as we are parading a form of godliness (trying to impress others with how spiritual we are), we are denying people access to the real thing: Jesus Christ in all His glory.

Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”

O Lord God, we ask You to peel away all the layers of religious veneer and remove every inauthentic manifestation of our flesh, so that what people see in us is You.  We confess every form of godliness apart from You as sin and renounce all methods to draw attention to ourselves.  And if it requires that You shut us up to do this work, so be it…  We want Christ alone or nothing. To the cross we go! For Your glory and name sake we pray, amen.

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Seeking God

1 Chronicles 16:10-11, “Glory in His holy name, let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.  Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually.”

The Hebrew word for seek is “darash” meaning, “to resort to, seek with care, inquire, to frequent a place as to tread upon it.”  Three times in those two verses the word seek is found.  It’s an important word, evidently.

All day long we seek after things, pursuits or ambitions or people.  Sometimes we seek and discover.  With God, if we seek Him, we will find Him (a promise) when we search for Him with all our heart.  That’s what Jeremiah 29:13 says.  I think that’s the best definition of prayer: seeking God.

Go and seek after Him today, dear one.

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O Father, as we turn our attention to You as a nation today, will You sharpen our awareness of You?  Will You lead us to repentance for the many ways we have denied and forsaken You?  Will You cleanse our minds from images and sounds that have portrayed You as something other than who You are?  We renounce all falsehood to follow after You!  We confess all sin and call it sin.  We worship You, the Living God, in spirit and in truth.  Have Your way in us today and tomorrow and every day following!  For Your Name sake and glory!  In the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord, amen!

http://nationaldayofprayer.org/about/find-an-event/

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Text Praying

Texting is not my favorite activity.  I would much rather pick up the phone and call someone.  However, texting is one of the quickest ways to send out prayer requests and prayers!  When I receive an urgent prayer request, I will send a text to about 40 prayer warriors who I know will drop what they are doing and pray!  It’s incredible.  Within seconds I begin receiving replies telling me they are praying.  And when the answer comes, I let them know they were apart of God’s amazing, miraculous work!

That’s one way to use technology to advance God’s purposes.  His idea, of course!  Glory to God!

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