Have You Lost Power?

Power


If we get away from brooding on the tragedy of God upon he Cross in our preaching, it produces nothing. It does not convey the energy of God to man; it may be interesting but it has no power. But preach the Cross-, and the energy of God is let loose. It pleased God to by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. “We preach Christ crucified.”

You see, we lose power if we can’t concentrate on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these, we are to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We have to concentrate on the great point of spiritual energy—the Cross, to keep in contact with that center where all power lies, and the energy will be let loose.

Oswald Chambers

Read More

The Place of Immunity

Immunity

The Place of Immunity

Considering the size of God’s promises, it is actually a misfortune that most of us have no more time than a few minutes of devotions each day and a church service or two a week. The secret place in prayer and communion with our God is not a place to come and visit now and then, but a dwelling. For those who dwell with God, His presence is not merely our refuge, it is a permanent address.

This place of communion of heart between Christ and His bride is the place of immunity. It is God’s shelter from the distress and distractions of life. Here, He tells us what to pray; and here our prayers are answered.

Francis Frangipane

Read More

Are You Standing Against the Insidious Threat of Worldliness?

World

We cannot ignore the fact that we desperately need a startling manifestation of God to shake us out of our spiritual lethargy and selfish complacency. We cannot substitute a program for power and have the least semblance of hope that the unsaved will be attracted by it.

Unless believers in the church today have their spiritual strength replenished repeatedly by the Spirit they will not be able to overcome the increasing power of spiritual wickedness threatening them today. The church cannot cope with the menacing threat of worldliness except the companies of believers pray for power to meet the insidious threat.
T. M. Anderson in 1937

Read More

What Are Your Weapons

FullSizeRender-2

What Are the Weapons of Our Warfare?

In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul listed the whole armor of God. Only one piece of the armor is actually a weapon. The sword of the Spirit is clearly identified as the Word of God. 2 Corinthians 10:3 uses the plural, assuring us we have weapons for warfare. What would be the other primary weapon? I believe the other primary weapon of our warfare is stated right after the words identifying the sword of the Spirit as the Word of God in Ephesians 6:17. The next verse says “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions.”

I am utterly convinced that the two major weapons with divine power in our warfare are:
· The Word of God

· Spirit-empowered prayer

God has given us these two sticks of dynamite to demolish the enemy.

Beth Moore

Read More

Elijah Was Just a Man

crying pic400x400

Elijah Was a Man

Provoking Thoughts on Prayer

James 5:17 “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.”

Twice in my life I’ve been compelled to spend a month in prayer. The two occasions of spending a month in prayer involved setting aside my usual office hours and other assignments exclusively to seek God in prayer for an entire month. I would eat meals with my family, but the rest of these days were spent in worship and prayer.

I was in prayer when I felt the Holy Spirit speak, “I want you to confront the strongholds of Communism in Eastern Europe.” I immediately saw in my mind the Berlin Wall. I sensed the Lord was calling me to travel six thousand miles from where I lived and once there in West Berlin, I was to lay my hands on the call and simply tell it to come down “in Jesus name”. In just a few months I was there and obeyed. Little more than a year later, the Berlin wall itself would come crashing down.

Dick Eastman

Read More

The One Thing You Need Most

The One Thing We Need Most?

IMG_4638If God is so good as you represent Him, and if He knows all that we need, and better far than we do ourselves, why should it be necessary to ask Him for anything?

I answer, What is He knows Prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object in God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need—the need of Him? Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other needs; prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer. So begins a communion, a talking with God, a coming-to-one with Him, which is the sole end of prayer.

George MacDonald

Read More

Untitled

wildman-1

Is Your Zeal Wasted?

We all have enthusiasm for church. There is a great fervor for Bible study, and there is excitement for the clothing drive at the local shelter. And zeal for worship abounds! But have you experienced the passion for prayer? Prayer grows ever more marvelous the more it increases in my life!

Recently I heard the whisper of the Lord in a deep, still quiet morning, “You have lost your first love for others.” I thought, wait a minute, my first love is about you! Isn’t that scripture about losing my first love for you? More to come on that in a minute.

I find this so true: we focus on a scripture out of context from the verse before or after it or take only part of the verse and lose the whole meaning of what the Holy Spirit was communicating through the writer.

A couple of examples:

Galatians 6:2, “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ”. We usually read a translation that says something akin to, “Bear one another’s burdens…” We think, oh yea, we are supposed to help each other out when we are burdened down. No, that is not what the verse means. This particular translation says, “in this way”. What way? Rarely have I ran across anyone who knows the verse that precedes Gal. 6:2 and answers the question, “How do we bear each others burdens?”

Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted”. This is the way we carry the burdens of others, we become people who restore those who have taken a fall in sin, no matter what the sin. No matter what the sin? Bankruptcy, sexual sin, pornography, embezzlement, manslaughter, murder, the list goes on. And the answer is Yes.

How about this one:

James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. This is a verse most of us are familiar with. Not too long ago I decided to memorize the verse. I was shocked! Since taking a deeper look at this verse I have asked well over thirty people, “Do you know the first part of the verse? I have yet to get the right answer from one person. Do you know?

The answer is this, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Oops, Lord, do you mean that part of being a righteous man includes confessing my sin to other people and having them pray for me? How embarrassing. Kind of changes the verse by reading the entire words, Hugh.

Now let’s go back to that “first love” issue. In Revelations 2:2-3, eight signs are identified that show the great zeal of the church at Ephesus. But, there was something missing. The Lord said to them, “Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches” (verse 5). Wow! That is serious.

The same sin exists in the church today. It is alive and well in me and I am repenting as I write and confessing my sin right here. There is great enthusiasm for the study of the gospel and the truth. Oh, do we work hard serving! But, what does the Lord value most? He values–“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love each other or me as you did at first!” (verse 4). The sin is not loving God and each other as much as we are capable of!

What the Lord values most is tender, sweet, vulnerable, fervent love for Him and for each other. A Christian can work hard being a wonderful example to others; however, if this tender love for our savior and love for others is missing—it is all for naught in the eyes of Jesus.

My dear brothers and sisters, Revelations 2:2-5 speaks of our deep abiding in Jesus, making time every day to find the secret place in His presence. Absolutely everything in this journey with Jesus depends upon concentrated fellowship with Him in quietness, stillness, and intimacy—be still and know Him.

Is your zeal in religion to first know Christ? Does all your service, prayer and consumption of the Word flow from a profound yearning to know Him intimately? Let us declare with the Psalmist, “My soul thirst for thee, my flesh longs for thee”.

Read More

27 November 2105 Provoking Thought on Prayer


Winning Spiritual Battles

You and I are just about as effective as a crew of workers attempting to tear down a building with loud mouths, sticks, and stones when we try to break down our strongholds with carnal weapons like pure determination, secular psychology, and denial. God has handed up two sticks of dynamite with which to demolish our strongholds: His Word and prayer. What makes prayer so powerful? Prayer keeps us in constant communion with God, which is the goal of our entire believing lives. Without a doubt, prayerless lives are powerless lives, and prayerful lives are powerful lives; but, believe it or not, the ultimate goal of God has for us in not power but personal intimacy with Him. We will never win any spiritual battles without prayer.

Beth Moore, Praying God’s Word

Read More

Everything With Him Began With Prayer How About You?

jesus_praying

Part 1

“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ (Luke 3:21-22, NIV).

Luke gives us a rare insight into the beginnings of Christ’s ministry. All four of the Gospel writers chronicle the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus at His baptism by John. And, they tell us about the great mystery of this voice coming from heaven identifying Jesus as “My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” But, only Luke chronicles that Jesus was praying as heaven opened up. Why is it that Luke was the only one of the four Gospel writers to record that Jesus was praying? Luke didn’t even know Jesus personally.

Luke gathered the material to write his gospel from eyewitness accounts and his own personal research. We know now that Luke’s accuracy as a historian has been widely documented. In the books of Luke and Acts he refers to rulers and historical events that have since been confirmed as accurate. As Luke said, “With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,” (Luke 1:3, NIV). Luke ranks, in his own right, with the finest historians of the day.

Having Eyes to See

Do you ever just miss the obvious? I mean, miss seeing something spiritual that is right before your face? It has something to do with having “eyes to see and ears to hear.” If we are going to discern the spirit, then we must be “in the spirit.” We must be spiritual people. We must walk after the spirit, not the flesh, and have our minds set on the spirit. “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Rom. 8:5, NIV). We know there are two dimensions, the physical and the spiritual. But, the physical world superimposes its system upon us. It is pervasive and insidious. We must battle with all that is in us to set our mind on the spirit.

I walked into a Christian school to take a tour and interview with the current headmaster to discuss the possibility of applying for the job of headmaster (the private school counterpart to a public school superintendent.) As I walked in the main entry to the school I had one of those “ah ha” spiritual moments when you perceive something in the spirit. Covering the wall of both sides of the foyer entry were dozens and dozens of athletic plaques recognizing the school’s athletic achievements. I looked for any similar awards for academics, fine arts, or anything to identify this was a Christian school. There was nothing to be found. I heard the whisper of the spirit in my ears, “Open your eyes and see what is really important to this school.” Later I discovered that the school had gained almost immediate entry into the state association where all public schools competed in activities and that the school had instantaneous success in the premier sport for the state, football. Oh, and in one of the school’s first years of football it had to forfeit victories for not following the rules of the activity association, victories that would have put them in the state playoffs. After accepting the job as headmaster, it took me three years to subtly move, little by little, the athletic plaques to the athletic wing of the building. I replaced the athletic plaques with items that highlighted academic achievements, the arts, athletics, and more importantly, items that let everyone know who entered the building that this was a Christian school.

Luke was a close companion of Paul and traveled with him on his missionary journeys. He was the only one who stayed with Paul to the end of his life and in his imprisonment. “Only Luke is with me.” (2 Tim. 4:11). Paul identifies Luke as the “beloved physician” in Colossians 4:14. Luke paid attention to details. He saw what others did not see, heard what others did not hear.

My daughter and son-in-law are physicians. I can personally attest to my daughter’s fastidious attention to detail as a young girl. And I am sure her husband was the same way growing up. One time her advisor in college told me that they did an experiment in the lab where they had to count 2,000 fruit flies. Rachael counted 4,000. Physicians pay attention to detail. Maybe that’s one reason so many physicians turn out to be successful writers, from Copernicus and his On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres, John Keats the famous poet, Conan Doyle with his Sherlock Holmes, to Alexander McCall Smith and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. In their journey to become physicians today, doctors are trained for four years in college, four years in medical school, and three to five more years in residency. They are trained to learn how to pay attention to details.

But there is something more working here with Luke.

It is quizzical and compelling that on other instances Luke is the only Gospel writer to draw attention to Jesus’s prayers at dramatic events.

In the cleansing and healing of the leper, Matthew, Mark, and Luke chronicle the event. But only Luke inserts in Luke 5:16 that that Jesus withdraws to pray as the great multitudes followed Jesus and came to Him from every direction.

Only Luke recounts the dramatic all night prayer in which Jesus prayed to God before calling the disciples to Himself and choosing the twelve. (Luke 6:12)

As Peter professes the revelation given to him by the Father in heaven that Jesus is the Son of the living God, only Luke pens that the event happened as the disciples joined Jesus while He was alone praying. (Luke 9:18)

Jesus took Peter, John, and James to the top of a mountain where these three saw Moses and Elijah speak to Jesus. In Luke 9:28 only Luke mentions that Jesus took the three up to the mountain to pray.
As Jesus taught the disciples how to pray in the model prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, only Luke takes note of what preceded the event. It came about as Jesus was praying in a certain place when He ceased, one of His disciples said, “Lord teach us to pray.” (Luke 11: 1-4)

All four of the writers chronicle Satan tempting Peter, but only Luke, in 22:31, pointedly writes that Satan had asked permission to sift Peter, but Jesus prayed for him that his faith would not fail.
In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus went off to pray and only Luke writes, in 22:41, in his Gospel that Jesus instructs the disciples to pray that they would not enter into temptation.

As Jesus is being crucified between the two criminals He speaks to the Father. In Luke 23:34, only Luke reports that Jesus asks the Father to forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.
At the very instance of Jesus breathing His last breath He commits His spirit into the Father’s hands. All of the Gospel writers include the crucifixion in their discourse, but only Luke records Jesus’s final words of prayer, “Father into Your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46, NIV)

Also, Luke is the only Gospel writer to chronicle two of the most pointed parables that Jesus told to instruct us on prayer. In Luke 11:5-13 he retells the story that Jesus told of the friend who comes at midnight. In this parable Jesus instructs us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking. You will receive, find, and the door will be opened. Then in Luke 18:1-7 Luke narrates the great parable of the persistent widow that Jesus used to teach us that God listens to the prayers of the faithful.

Luke chronicles all these events of Jesus praying and teaching on prayer. The Holy Spirit used Luke’s training as a physician and his natural propensity for details to teach us what the Lord wants us to understand about prayer, pray always. In God’s economy Luke’s gifting and training are not coincidences or happenstances. For the Lord has truly made all things for His ends. “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36, NIV).

Luke tells us that while Jesus was praying at His baptism the Father spoke in a voice from heaven that was heard by all. Can you see the scene now– John the Baptist baptizing Christ and an audible voice is heard from heaven. What must those gathered around thought? God declared to the world in front of all the many people that Jesus is the Son of God in whom he is well pleased. The word must have spread like wildfire.

Read More

Do You Pray? Really? Do You Pray?

IMG_6439

Where do you pray?

Is it really that important where I pray? Evidentially it is; Jesus specifically mentioned where we should and shouldn’t pray.

Where not to pray: Standing in the church and on street corner. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full (Matt. 6:5, NIV).

Where to pray: In private in your room. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matt. 6:6, NIV).

In this instance in Mark, “Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed, ‘Everyone is looking for You’” (Mark 1:36,NIV). Mark paints the picture that Jesus went away in seclusion to pray and that everyone was trying to find Him. Obviously, He didn’t stay close and He wasn’t easy to find.

Here is a pattern that begins to develop and that Jesus will teach the disciples: where should you pray, when you should pray, and who should hear you when you pray. Jesus answers these questions pointedly with the disciples. For now, he lets His example teach. I wonder if they perceived it? Pray early. Pray in secret. Pray to your Father in heaven. Pray not to be heard by man, but by your Father, who is in secret.

The secret to prayer is to pray in secret

This is the great secret to prayer: pray in secret. Prayer is meant for the Father; we don’t pray to be heard by men.

Most Christians have heard the term their entire Christian life, quiet time. It goes by many names in various denominations and movements: daily devotional, 7-minute quiet time, the morning watch, and on. All of these stand for the same precept, coming to the Lord in the early morning, seeking Him, and committing in prayer our day to Him. It is the spiritual discipline of communing with our Lord. The names of the daily devotionals that are meant to encourage us in this communion are so familiar to us. Just hearing their titles conjures up memories of seeking and finding the Lord in the early morning hours: My Utmost for His Highest, Jesus Calling, Streams in the Desert, The Book of Common Prayer, and so many more.

We see this pattern of early morning prayer with our Lord beginning at the start of His ministry. He repeatedly departed to a solitary place, either in the hills, out of town, or some remote garden. There He found a place where there were no distractions. There he shows us, secret prayer must be made secretly.

The Word of God and history of the church give us clear evidence that men and women who want to be used of God must know what it is to encounter the Lord and be in His presence.

Abraham: “Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD” (Gen. 19:27, NIV).
Moses: “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Ex. 33:11a, NIV).
Isaiah: “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you” (Is. 26:9a, NIV).
Solomon: “I love those who love me; and those who seek me early shall find me” (Prov. 8:17, KJV).
David: “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Ps. 5:3, NIV).
“A desire for God which cannot break the chains of sleep is a weak thing and will do but little good for God after it has indulged itself fully. The desire for God that keeps so far behind the devil and the world at the beginning of the day will never catch up.” ~ E. M. Bounds

Symmetry

The great contrast here in Mark is Christ’s public and private life. His public life was one filled with great crowds, the power of the spirit in operation, and teaching with authority. His private life was one of solitude, prayer and listening to the Father. How does your private life match up to your public life? Is there symmetry between the two?

My pastor is a man full of the grace and mercy of the Lord. He is known for being gracious in his dealings with others. He is not perfect; he makes mistakes like any of us. We had been working on a project conjunctively and he missed a point of information and made an incorrect decision. I really felt like he needed to know what he had missed and it was important, but who wants to correct your pastor? After much prayer, I decided to make him aware of his misstep. His reaction? Totally predictable. His immediate response was, “What do we need to do to correct my mistake?” How can we make sure this doesn’t happen again?” It wasn’t a few weeks later that I listened as my pastor revealed for fifteen years he has been fasting and praying every Monday. This one statement told me a great deal about my pastor’s private life; I have seen his public life. Believe me, they are in symmetry. And, as I always say, “You tell everything about where a person stands spiritually by how they receive instruction or correction.”

He prayed to His Father—we know that. He prayed for His disciples. Because He was a man, He likely prayed for Himself as man, that He might be strengthened for service. The lesson Jesus teaches us is so clear. Prayer was His daily priority. He understood the need for time in the secret place to hear from the Father to start the day.

His life and the word teach us about prayer. The teaching is so simple and clear it is outrageous.

Mark 1:35: “Rising a great while before day—So He labored for us, both day and night.” And He is still laboring for us.

The question of the hour is, “Do you pray?” I don’t mean a quick blessing at the dinner table, a traditional good night prayer with your spouse or a child, a rote prayer at church as the pastor leads the congregation, or so many other “quick fixes.” No, I mean do you have a consistent place you go almost daily, where you wait on the Lord? A place where you speak to Him and He speaks to you? A place where you are still and look deeply into the Lord as He looks into you? Are you intimate with the Lord in prayer daily?

Read More