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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Power from on High

“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 NASB

Just before Jesus ascension into heaven He gave these instructions to His disciples. At this same time He instructed them to go into all of the word making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19,20). Although the disciples spent three years under the teachings of the master teacher, Jesus, prior to His sacrifice, and then another forty days with Him after His resurrection, they were still unqualified and unprepared to proclaim the gospel. Jesus told them to go into Jerusalem and wait. He specifically told them to wait for the promise of the Father, the power from on high, which is the Holy Spirit Himself. Only after they receive the power of the Holy Spirit could they be His witnesses. (Acts 1:8)

Apart from the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we too are unqualified and unprepared to do anything for the Lord. We may have the greatest education, the most well funded and organized programs, and the highest form of zeal in our heart, but apart from the power of the Holy Spirit these things are utterly useless.

The disciples were obedient to the instructions of Jesus. They went back to Jerusalem and waited. They waited in a constant state of prayer and expectation. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit filled each one powerfully. After receiving the power from on high they went out into the streets of Jerusalem where Peter preached the gospel and three thousand souls were saved.

I believe one of the main reasons we aren’t seeing revival within many of our churches is due to the works of the flesh. We aren’t dependent upon the power from on high-the Holy Spirit. The other reason is unrepentant sin within the church which grieves the Holy Spirit and hinders His power. Both of these abominable acts leave the church self-sufficient making it inefficient.

Today when someone accepts Jesus as their Savior they receive the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:9-11). However, as Christians, who have the Holy Spirit within us, we can still grieve His power. How then as Christians do we obtain this power from on high? The same way the disciples did. First, we believe and therefore are obedient to the words of Jesus. Second, we then wait in prayerful anticipation, dedicating ourselves to praying for God’s power until the time comes when we are so full of God’s presence and power within our lives it can no longer be contained. Third, we then leave our upper rooms, walk out into the world, and through the power from on high kick down the gates of hell. Fourth, we repeat these steps again, and again, and again.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Help Wanted

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Luke 10:2 NASB

 

Just after Jesus sent seventy laborers into the fields to reap a harvest for His kingdom Jesus spoke these words. When we look into our world today, after two thousand years of the churches labor in the fields, we rejoice over all of the progress that has been made. However, this truth still remains today-the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

When we look at the statistics of the America church we see a frightening truth. The harvest is multiplying while the laborers are decreasing. According to Thom Rainer, the CEO of Lifeway, Southern Baptist churches lost a little over one hundred thousand members last year and have had the lowest amount of baptisms since 1948. Unfortunately, in 1948 there were only six million Southern Baptist, today there are more than sixteen million. While this study was made specifically for the Southern Baptist Convention we realized that the statistics are not much different for most other denominations; some are much worse.

Looking at the vastness of the unreached people and the lost condition of our nation can be overwhelming. Truly the harvest is plentiful. When we look at how unreached our nation is for the Lord we shouldn’t be surprised at how wicked it has become. Lost people will act like lost people. However, our nation isn’t lost because we have fewer church members. It is lost because we have fewer church members laboring for the Lord. We cannot blame the world for its lost state, for, it is the church that Jesus commissioned, giving it power and authority, to go out and share the gospel across the globe.

Within the walls of the church most are discouraged with the entitlement society that is rapidly growing in our nation, not realizing they have created an entitlement society within the church itself. We go to church wanting to be blessed, but will not return a blessing. We go to church wanting to receive, yet we have no goal to give. We go to church wanting to be fed, although have no heart to feed. The problem with this is, God doesn’t call us to go to church, He calls us to be the church.

What then is the solution to this devastating and deadly problem? Jesus made it clear; we are to beseech the Lord of the harvest. We are to pray for God to send workers into His fields. We need to stop fussing about the problems and start seeking the solution by praying that God would send out the gospel seed sowers along with the harvesters out into the fields.

Set aside a daily time to pray for God to send workers into the field. Set aside a day or a weekend dedicated to praying for this need. If there are ministries in your church that are shorthanded, beseech the Lord of the harvest. Don’t stop praying until you see God stirring. Once you see God stirring, pray some more.

Yes we need to pray for the sinner that God would draw them unto Himself, yet at the same time, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). Pray! Keep in mind though; when you begin to pray, the first one God will begin to move will more than likely be you.

lwjas0044

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Does God Turn a Deaf Ear?

“If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear but certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer nor His lovingkindness from me.” Psalm 66:18-20 NASB

 

As the Psalmist clearly records, God will not hear us if we regard wickedness in our heart. If we have regard toward something in our lives we have feelings for it; feelings that cause us too long for and desire what it is that we regard. If we regard wickedness we have a desire for it.

The heart is often also referred to as the sole, or the mind. It is the emotional and spiritual state of an individual. If our heart, the spiritual core of our being, regards wickedness, God will not hear our prayers.

God’s standard for His children is clear, He told us to “be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16). If we choose to disregard God’s standard, we grieve the Holy Spirit hindering every area of our spiritual lives. A heart with regard to sin stands in contempt to a holy God and cannot be used of God.

Holiness is a choice. But, it is also an act of God. We have no ability to live in accordance to God’s standard of holiness apart from God’s work of redemption within our lives. However, if we make the choice to repent of our sin and ask God to forgive us and cleanse us, He will. (I John 1:9).

With God’s redemptive work in mind Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Yes, I have committed many sins in my life, yet, I have repented. Because I have repented and trusted in God’s redemptive work I know I am also forgiven. “Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer nor His lovingkindness from me.”

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Preparing our Heart for Prayer

“We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” I John 3:20-22 NASB

 

In reality there is only one way to prepare your heart for prayer and that is having a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. I Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus is the one and only link between God and man. If we pray to or through anyone else we are wasting our time and blaspheming the very name of Jesus who paid the price for us to have relationship with God. James 5:16 tells us, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” This now presents to us a major problem because the bible tells us, “There is no one righteous not even one.” (Romans 3:10). As a result of this problem we see our great need of Jesus.

Romans 3:22 tells us the righteousness of Jesus is applied to our lives when we place our faith in His sacrifice and Romans 3:26 lets us know, we are justified, (made righteous), through that same faith. Because of this amazing truth our prayer life is not dependent upon us, our abilities, or our righteousness-it is solely dependent on Jesus. When we pray, we pray through Jesus and His righteousness knowing that Jesus is personally carrying our prayers to the throne of the Father.

This does not however, give us a license to live as we choose and expect Jesus to be our errand boy at our beck and call. He is Lord! We need to live, breath, walk, talk, think, and exist with Him as our Lord. He died so we may live. The lives we live are to bring glory to Him and not ourselves. The prayers we pray to Him and through Him should honor Him.  

Now, when the devil comes bringing about his lies and accusations condemning your heart, telling you that you are not worthy to pray, simply say back to him, “Your right devil, I’m not worthy, but Jesus is, and it is through Him I pray.” Satan doesn’t want you to pray because he knows a prayer warrior is destructive to his kingdom.

Therefore Christian, I challenge you to be the prayer warier that God has called you to be. Don’t stand in condemnation but in confidence knowing that your prayers are righteous through Jesus and will accomplish much.

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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Asking with the Wrong Motives

“You do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:2, 3 NASB

Is there anything wrong with asking God for personal needs? Of course not! Jesus Himself said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7). God is our Father, and He wants to bless us. However, He, and He alone deserves glory. When we ask of God selfishly, for the purpose of bringing glory to ourselves, we are asking with wrong motives; that prayer will go unanswered. Yet, when we are in need and we ask God to provide for us our need, we give Him glory because we are trusting in Him with full dependency.

In Luke 19:10-14, Jesus told a story about a Pharisee who had these wrong motives. Jesus said, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, bemerciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Notice, Jesus said the Pharisee “stood and was praying this to himself.” This was an all about me prayer; a prayer that is abominable to God. The Pharisee had no desire to give God glory for His life. He only desired to bring glory to himself.

On the other hand the tax collector didn’t even feel worth to lift his head before a holy God. Yet he trusted in God, depended on God, and called upon God. He knew he had no hope apart from an almighty, all-merciful God.

What is the motive of your heart today? Is it to bring glory and exaltation to you? Or, is it to bring glory and exaltation to God?

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Praying God’s Will

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 NASB

 

All too often as Christians we get frustrated with the ways of the world. We stand at a loss as to what we should do to counteract the rampantly increasing immorality in this world and the blatant disrespect of God. Everywhere we look we discover this world is slipping further away from our Lord’s glorious grace. In the same way we become frustrated with many of our church folk who seem to care less about the spiritual condition of the world and are often caught up in the world themselves.

In frustration we ask ourselves, “Where do we draw the line?” The answer to that question is simple. We draw the line on the altar of grace and put or knees on it, seeking God in prayer. He alone has the power to change the heart of the wicked and bring revival to the stagnant. Therefore, it is to Him that we call upon in prayer for the repentance of the sinner and revival of the saints.

            In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus gives us an example prayer. Not a prayer we should meaninglessly quote or chant, but an example of how we should pray and things we should pray for. In this prayer Jesus tells us to pray for God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. What is His will? His will is for God’s kingdom to come.

            Many people misinterpret, “Your kingdom come,” as the second coming of Christ. Although the second coming of Christ is something all Christians should long for, that is not what Jesus was talking about.

            When John the Baptist came as the forerunner of the Christ, announcing one was coming who was greater than he, John proclaimed, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:3). He was referring to Jesus. Jesus, who came to usher in the kingdom of heaven upon this earth. Jesus ushered it in through His death, burial, and resurrection, and those who have accepted His salvation are living within that spiritual kingdom.

            We should pray daily that God’s kingdom would come, and that His will is done, on earth as it is in heaven, right now, today, at this very moment. As Christians we should pray daily for the kingdom of heaven to consume this dry and parched land. We should pray daily for the lost, calling them out by name that God would get a hold of their lives transforming them and make them citizens of His kingdom. Pray for your city, town, community, neighborhood, county, and state that God would stir revival in their midst. Although I have never been to Detroit, I pray that God would stir a major revival there and restore that city for His glory. Just think of what an amazing testimony it would be of the power and grace of God. Remember, there is NOTHING impossible for God!

            We should also pray daily for our churches and our pastors. Whether they’re healthy or not they need our prayer. You might say, “My church is a dead,” or “My pastor is no good.” Isn’t that all the more reason to pray for them? Criticism won’t produce revival; however, committed Christians praying will. Paul requested prayer for himself as he proclaimed God’s Word. (Ephesians 6:19). Just think how mighty our missions, ministry, outreach, evangelism, worship, and preaching might be if we prayed-Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Praying in Faith

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 NASB

How often have you thought a situation was past the point of no return? It is hopeless. It is a lost cause. It is irreversible. Many times throughout the years I have had people come to me and say something similar to, “Pastor, can you pray for my loved one? He is beyond hope but I would appreciate it if you would pray for him.” If he’s beyond hope why should I waste my time praying for him? However, if I believe in a God of whom nothing is impossible there is always hope.

Some also have the mentality since God doesn’t heal all the time they will not trust Him to heal any of the time. There are a few instances in scripture where God clearly chose not to heal. However, the great majority of the time God does heal.

The request of prayer James mentions is a request of wisdom. However, any request can be entered into this scripture with the principle requirement of faith remaining the same. When we know in our mind that God is almighty yet, come up with a multitude of reasons why He won’t answer our prayer we have become the double minded man that James warns us about. “For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord”

When we stand in need and have a burden to see God move on our behalf we need to become unwavering in our faith and set in our heart to prevail in prayer until we see heaven moved. We are not twisting God’s arm to move on our behalf. We’re not even remotely strong enough to do that. However, scripture is clear, God is almighty, there is nothing impossible for Him, and all things are possible to those who believe. We are singularly minded, standing in faith, knowing He is able, and He is willing. 

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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A House of Prayer

Many times throughout the Gospels we see Jesus going into the temple. One of those times Jesus drove people out for making His Father’s house something God had not intended for it to be. Often, we too are guilty of making God’s house into something other than what He intended. Jesus said in Matthew 21:13, “It is written My house shall be a house of prayer, but you are making it a robbers den.” We emphasize missions and so we should; but that’s not what Jesus said. He said His house would be a house of prayer. We focus on preaching and teaching, and so we should; but that’s not what Jesus said. He said His house would be a house of prayer. Music gets much of the attention in ministry as well, and again it should. But that’s not what Jesus said, He said His house would be the house of prayer. Jesus said, “My house shall be a house of PRAYER. Missions, evangelism, teaching, preaching, music, and many other things are very important; however, they are empowered by prayer. Have we made God’s house a house of prayer? Or are we making it into something God never intended?

            If we are going to see revival, true revival, in our churches, in our communities, or in our nation, we must pray. A prayer-less church is a powerless church. Likewise, a prayer-less Christian is a powerless one. We fuss about how far our nation is slipping away from God, but, are we praying? We gripe that prayer has been removed from schools, but, are we praying? We complain about the rampant immorality in the world, but, are we praying? We sneer at those who reject Jesus, but, have we prayed for them?

            When we as God’s people begin to pray, truly pray, in fervent, passionate, prevailing prayer, we invite the powerful presence of God to invade and overcome our seemingly hopeless situation. It is way past time for Christians to stop playing church, and start being the church; the church that Jesus called us to be-a house of prayer. Church, I give you this charge-stand firm as God’s people uniting your hearts in prayer and seek the face of God for revival.   

I, however, am only accountable for my actions as you are only accountable for yours. I choose to pray. What about you? As history clearly records, every great awakening was birthed in prayer. Will you join me?  

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Feasting on God’s Word

“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” Matthew 4:4

Now that the holiday’s, are behind us and 2013 is gone we look forward to greater things in 2014. We often make goals and challenges of different sorts for ourselves to better our lives. The most popular challenge is to eat less and lose weight. However, I want to challenge you to a daily feast in 2014.

Not a feast on the bread of this world but, a feast on the bread of God’s Word. If we can help it we don’t go a single day without physical food. If we abstain from physical food for too long we will become very ill and eventually die. Spiritual malnutrition is just as deadly.

So many people today are spiritually malnourished because they do not consume the vital nutrients to survive and thrive spiritually-the nutrition of God’s Word. When Jesus made this statement He was at the end of a forty day fast. At that time Satan came to tempt Him to turn the stones into bread. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 that gave reference to the bread from heaven, the manna that God provided for the nation of Israel in the wilderness.

Through these words of Jesus we see that there are some things more important than physical bread. If we are going to be the men and women God has called us to be, living up to His full potential, make a goal for your life to feast on God’s Word so you can grow to be blessed and be a blessing.

There are many charts and timelines available for free online that will help you with daily bible reading, and reading through the bible in a year. However the greatest thing you can do is just open God’s Word and start your feast. Don’t be legalistic about it. Enjoy it, absorb it, and most importantly seek God through it. 

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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