I’m not trying to be ugly, but the truth is, sometimes it takes all you have to encourage someone else, right?
WELL THAT’S NOT WHAT I WANT TO DISCUSS!!!
Below are some ways that I encourage, using FB, TW & IG. I trust they will
encourage you, to
My editor will be grumpy with that sentence.
If you like this encouragement CLICK HERE for a 3 minute video abut focusing on the Lord, not get directed.
Family, not always an easy to be intimate with are they? How much more difficult to have intimacy with God. If you liked this encouragement, CLICK HERE for a two and a half minute video.
Praying to the God of Hope. If this encouragement challenges you CLICK HERE for a short post and a 2 minute video. It’ll bless you.
I have a few posts on politics, but let me give you this one on racism, CLICK HERE.
If you want to confidently pray for others’ salvation, CLICK HERE.
Forgiveness? What do you do with that? Well, you could skip over it, OR, you can CLICK HERE and challenge yourself to listen to a 30 minute message of mine about Taking Sin Too Lightly.
If you didn’t listen to the video on Taking Sin Too Lightly, you may want to now. Just CLICK HERE even though it is a 30 minute message of mine.
Do you trust Him? Maybe, by the way you pray, you are actually calling God a liar? CLICK HERE for a two and a half minute video that will challenge your prayer attitude.
Not only should we pray for mercy, but we can also pray and not worry. CLICK HERE for a great 3 minute video on not worrying.
Sometimes my reading of scripture prompts me unto real seriousness, like fasting. CLICK HERE for my short post and two and a half minute video on fasting.
I love Answers in Genesis and the Ark Encounter. CLICK HERE for some AIG cartoons
Is Romans 8:28 true? CLICK HERE for a very short post walking you through that concept. And CLICK HERE for a longer post which looks at an ugly.tragedy, making the same argument. Or you can CLICK HERE to see that God’s plans aren’t always “clean and neat.”
Humility, CLICK HERE to read this short post where 82 children demonstrated humility in a way that would put us to shame.
Deal with sin? Yuk! Again, I would remind you, to see my video on Taking Sin Too Lightly, just CLICK HERE even though it is a 30 minute message. Forgive me. I’m not trying to push this.
CLICK HERE for my short post, “You Pray Too Much” and the accompanying 2 minute video encourages you to let the Word of God direct the way you pray.
If you pray with me you know how important praise is to me. CLICK HERE for a one and a half minute video on praise and Revelation 5:8.
Blessings my friends (and while we’re at it, be a blessing to others).
I’m almost scared to even write that title.
Here is the video that accompanies this post. Tell me what you think.
If this video doesn’t scare you away, you may be interested in some others. CLICK HERE to see the list of Prayer Basics videos. Nearly all are 2 to 3 minutes each.
Yesterday I posted the idea of BLAMING GOD regarding politics. CLICK HERE for it.
YES! Blame God. It’s the Politics of Romans 13:1
Surely people have been zapped for less than that!
If you have followed any of my political posts, I hope you see that the last thing I want to do is alienate a Christian Republican or a Christian Democrat.
And yes, I’ve heard you. Many of you think that a Christian “other-party” is oxymoronic.
I’ve also heard this, “How in the world could this person have voted for that person!?!?”
I never think like that. And here’s why.
It’s not because I’m some holy guy. No! My question is a lot bigger than, “How in the world could this person have voted for that person!?!?”
So, my question is, “How could God have put that person into office!?!?”
Of course, if Romans 13:1 is not true then I can start blaming people.
But until somebody shows me Romans 13:1 is not true, I guess, all I can do, is blame God.
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And I’m NOT talking about 2 deacons being grumpy at the pastor!
Before I even write on politics we must have a proper understanding of God’s role in government.
Jesus Christ. . . the Ruler of the kings of the earth. . . Revelation 1:5
This verse and many others like it make one thing very clear.
God is the One who is in control.
If you ask me why bad and terrible things happen, I confess that I will hide behind Isaiah 55:8 & 9.
So that prompts the next question:
If God is truly in control, then what is our interaction with the devil, the evil one?
I will discipline myself to NOT talk about how Spiritual Warfare has been so blatantly “marketed.” If you are interested in my short post on that subject, CLICK HERE.
Our interaction with the evil one though, is much more narrow than HE WANTS you to think. And the location of our battle with him is NOT OUT YONDER, but rather, in our minds (2 Corinthians 10:5).
The devil is messing with our minds, folks:
And one of the proofs that he is successful, is the division in the Body of Christ.
But let me speak out of the other side of my mouth. MANY OF US DO NOT NEED THE DEVIL. We are divisive all on our own.
Friends, we are the problem. Not the world!
I have put together a BIPARTISAN VOTERS PRAYER GUIDE to help us. You can view it online or download it as a .PDF by CLICKING HERE.
These daily prayers can be found on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.
There is a Political Disconnect in Our Churches, and it is not complicated:
We are letting OUR POLITICS DIRECT OUR THINKING instead of the word of God.
So, like last week’s post on RACISM, (CLICK HERE for last week’s post) let me give you a few anecdotes centered around three ways of handling POLITICS IN THE CHURCH:
The Right Way
The Wrong Way
The Typical Way
With whom are you struggling? Before you answer, look at Ephesians 6:12a, For our battle is not against flesh and blood. . . The people on the other side of the aisle ARE NOT YOUR ENEMY.
I’ll never forget the pastor friend of mine who led a weekly prayer meeting and used to pray against the president EVERY SINGLE WEEK, until one day he read Romans 13:1, Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.
The next week he said, ” God put this president in office. He is not my enemy, regardless of whether I agree with him or not.” And so he started praying differently for him.
Praying for the death of a president, from Psalm 109:8 or ANY SCRIPTURAL PASSAGE is wrong, but unfortunately it is not uncommon. And in the last ten years I have seen this way too often. Let me tell you JUST ONE of the things that is wrong with that kind of a prayer.
Besides Roman 13:1 above, you have verse 2 following, which says, So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves.
But you say to yourself, “Okay, but I’m not so mean as to pray death to anyone, Mark.”
Well, try this:
When I say to you that GOD’S TENT is big enough to handle people that baptize differently than you, how quickly do you agree?
Probably very quickly.
When I say to you that GOD’S TENT is big enough to handle people that pray differently than you, how quickly do you agree?
Again, probably very quickly, right?
Now consider those two time frames above. How quickly did you agree?
Here’s the money question:
When I say to you that GOD’S TENT is big enough to handle people that VOTE differently than you, do you agree just as quickly?
Most people do not. They agree, but not very quickly.
THE TYPICAL WAY
Let me ask you, “Are your political prayers selfish or selfless?”
Selfish Prayers are the typical way we handle politics. Let me give you an example. 1 Timothy 2:2 says, [Pray] for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
And you probably say, “Well, what’s wrong with that, Mark?”
Here’s why I call it selfish. We pray that God would, “Put the right people in office so that we can live a tranquil and quiet life, free of problems.”
Friends, the PROBLEM with that prayer is that it DOES NOT WORK in countries like Syria, Iran, etc. And that kind of a prayer is CONTRARY to God’s will, if His plans are to discipline us, as a church.
Now, let me be the first to tell you, that I do not know God’s mind. I do not know His plans.
But friends, as I look around I find myself PRAYING OFTEN that God would show us mercy.
Friends, the meaning behind 1 Timothy 2:2 above, is that it is our praying, communing with the Father, that brings you a tranquil and quiet life. The tranquility and quiet do not come BECAUSE OF the results, but IN SPITE OF the results.
That is the evil one’s distortion and deception, and the reason I claim that the battle is in our minds, not out yonder!
Remember who was leading Rome when Paul wrote most of his letters. It was Nero, whom we are told by tradition, would eventually cut off Paul’s head (sorry for the visual).
Let me end with a quote from Ronnie Floyd. (Email on 10/10/2018)
A divided church cannot call a divided nation to unity.
CLICK HERE for the BiPartison Voter Prayer Guide.
Below I will give you 3 anecdotes about racism in the church.
From them you will be:
But my friends, this is where it begins. With you and I (IN THE CHURCH) looking honestly at the issue.
Below are 3 ways of dealing with racism:
The Right Way
The Wrong Way
The Typical Way
The first time I saw this sidewalk insert, I eagerly sought the story.
The broken part of the sidewalk says,
AN HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE
As the story goes, that part of the sidewalk had been there since the church was built at this location in 1892.
But, in the mid 60’s someone asked, “a bit too loudly” if all people were welcome, as the sign said.
Nobody answered, but the next week the sign was taken out of the ground, put into storage, and a blank slab of cement was laid.
Sometime late in the 90’s, in its broken state, it was returned to the sidewalk to proudly show that, YES, All People are welcome.
That it lies there in a broken state tells its own story, don’t you think?
THE WRONG WAY
A few years ago I did a 4 night prayer revival during the Obama administration. The associate pastor of the host church continually talked down the President. And frankly, it got up my nose.
I asked the Lord for a very tactful way to deal with it, and so the next night I pulled him aside and delivered what I believe the Lord laid upon my heart. It turned out to be so significant that I included it in both Book 1 and Book 2 of The Pray-ers.
Instead of giving you the conversation with this pastor, let me quote Alexander Rich, the itinerant preacher in my novel, who dealt with the exact same issue, just 130 years earlier, EXACTLY the way I did.
“. . . Alexander Rich continued. “You believe in the flood right?”
“Oh yes!” The preacher responded, “Worldwide disaster, worldwide flood.”
“Then,” Rich interrupted, glad at least that this young pastor had not caved to the growing debate about the age of the earth and the truth of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. “Then, my friend, if we all came from the same parents, do you know what that means?”
Brother Rich had the young man’s complete attention. He leaned forward, intrigued, eyes widening, and awaiting a deep truth.
“What that means my young racist friend is that you have a little black guy inside of you somewhere.”
Sorry for the shameless plug (www.ThePray-ers.com).
When I said this to the pastor, it shut him up, but only until the next day when he returned. I am sorry to share with you what he said, but I think you need to hear it.
He cornered me after the service and then said, “They may be your relatives but they aren’t mine.”
No matter the amount of melanin in your skin, you and I BOTH have people in our lives that think this way.
THE TYPICAL WAY
I was in another church for an all day intensive. At lunch, the pastor and I talked about the feedback he was getting from the Sunday School and Worship Services that I led. The feedback was a great blessing, and so after lunch we sat down, prayed about it and decided that I needed to come back for an all week prayer revival.
A few days later he called me. We chit-chatted for a few minutes and then he said, as broken as I have ever heard him, “Mark, my deacons said that you can’t come back, you’re too dark.”
Now BEFORE YOU GET excersised over this anecdote, let me remind you, this happens on ALL SIDES of the issue, Asian, Hispanic, White and Black.
True, there are some churches I can’t get into because I am too dark.
But there are other churches I can’t get into because I’m not dark enough.
Is it any wonder that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week?
Obviously we can point our fingers at the deception of the evil one. But may I take this question in a slightly different direction?
Let me make a broad statement, that you may or may not agree has some merit.
“The unsaved can’t be expected to act like anything other than what they are, UNSAVED!”
QUIT LOOKING AT THE WORLD, expecting them to act differently!
But what about the church? My friends, in the church, we are the ones without excuse. Why? Because:
We are the ones that have the Holy Spirit living within us. And,
We are the one’s who have been given the grace to live above this.
Consider this. Do you think that maybe God loves us enough to discipline us?
If He does, it will NOT be:
Because the unsaved are acting like the unsaved.
Rather, it will be:
Because the church is NOT acting like the church?
May God have mercy upon us, in spite of us.
We continued our study of Galatians with a focus on Gal. 3:1-18 in which we saw how Paul uses logic to explain how foolish it is to reject salvation by grace alone in favor of a works-based system.
As the quote from Bob Deffinbaugh in the attached Take Aways says so clearly, God’s strength is perfected in our weakness. Most of us still fall into the bad habit of trying to please God by working hard at it. We read our Bible, go to church, join a Bible study group, tithe, pray whenever we think about it, show kindness to strangers, etc., etc., etc. None of these things are bad, but we shouldn’t do them to please God. In Psalm 51, David tells us what really pleases God – “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise” – Ps 51:16-17.
David understood that unconditional surrender to God’s sovereignty is the sacrifice that pleases Him most. When we learn to stop trying so hard to “be holy” by virtue of our works and simply get out of the way so that God can direct our thoughts, words, and actions through His in-dwelling Holy Spirit, that’s when we will “be holy” – for God is holy.
Please note that next Sunday, September 23, we will continue our study of Galatians with a focus on Gal. 3:19-4:7 in which Paul speaks about the believer’s adoption into God’s family as a joint heir with Jesus Christ.
In His Service,