Today we continued our study of the Book of Exodus with a focus on Exodus 11:1-13:16. These chapters describe how God arranges for the deliverance of His people from Egyptian captivity and the illustration of how He will arrange for the spiritual deliverance of all people.
Much has been preached, taught, and written about the foreshadowing of Christ in the first Passover – how the unblemished male lamb, described in Exodus 12, points to Christ as the spotless Lamb of God Who was sacrificed in payment for our sin debt – a debt that we could not pay. We rightfully praise God for this demonstration of His amazing grace. But I wonder how often we hear and read about another important aspect of God’s plan of redemption.
When we look carefully at the detailed instructions that God gives to the Israelites concerning leaven, we’ll see something that is very important to God. He instructs them to remove all leaven from their homes at the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which started at the beginning of 15 Nisan and ended at the end of 21 Nisan (a period of one week). We know that leaven is a symbol of sin. So what is God telling us? In effect, He’s saying that the least we can do to honor His sacrifice on our behalf is to remove sin from our lives. He knows we can’t be perfectly sinless, but He expects us to make the effort to please Him with what we think, say, and do.“as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”– 1 Peter 1:14-16 ________________________________________________________
Please note that next Sunday, Sept. 24, we will be led by Willie Hart as we continue our study of the Book of Exodus with a focus on Exodus 13:17-15:21. Here we see how God miraculously intervened in protection of His people in the face of Pharaoh’s powerful army because He had plans for His people.
We were so blessed at our class fellowship event today by our guest speaker, Patricia Holbrook as she shared practical applications from Psalm 42. As is so often the case, Dr. Stanley’s message today on trials was reinforced by Patricia’s remarks – Praise God!
As you listen closely to the 3 minute audio below I begin to talk about Hael, and angel in the book. You will hear this “old-gal” give a high pitched, I don’t know, whoop, screech, something. It was Freudian in nature I’m sure!
Seriously she has become a good friend, in part, because of this character, this Guardian Angel in my book. And as you can tell by the picture to the left, Hael clearly likes her too, for he actually sent a birthday card to her.
She tells that the first time she read the book she, “read it in 1 day, and how far along are you Mark with the second book?” She has been a PAIN in my side, but a cute one.
She recently told a friend of mine, “You tell Mark that I’m 81 years old, and if he doesn’t get that book finished real soon he may have to read it to me in heaven!”
Her and I have had a lot of fun, except a few weeks ago when I told her I put book 2 aside so that I could focus on another novel. “But,” I told her, “Hael is the one telling the story.”
The interview below I did over the phone because I spoke in her previous church and I knew everyone would love to hear from her, even though she wouldn’t be there.
I’ve never done an interview like this before, but then I’ve never known someone like Miss Pat before.
Enjoy this short interview with my friend, Miss Pat.
If you are interested in the book you can CLICK HERE. The idea behind the novel is to teach prayer through the fun of Christian Fiction. I often teach that “prayer is more caught than taught, so if you want to learn to pray, get around people that pray.” Hence, in the book, men and women are modeling prayer.
Be aware that we also send out E-Letters every 10-12 days, and we NEVER beg for money.
After returning a rental car today (originally published July 1, 2016) I took a back road walking home and went on to our local bike trail.
While I walked a very nice young woman asked me for 30 seconds of my time to talk to me about a subject that I knew I would strongly disagree with her. I won’t share with you any of the details of the subject because I don’t want it to cloud the focus of this post, namely, The Results of Praying Without Ceasing.
Prepared For An Encounter
But let me back up, before I met her on the trail. For after I dropped off the car and started walking, my mind was bombarded with thoughts that took me in directions I know my brain should not go. I found myself constantly and, praise the Lord, consistently, taking those thoughts captive, which, above all things meant submitting myself to the Lord in every area of my thought life.
Here’s the point to this short post. Because I was prayed up. Because I was constantly in prayer. Because I was submitted to the Lord, by the Holy Spirit, when I met her on the trail, I had the words to say in that hour (Matthew 10:19). And instead of strong antagonism and deep resentment being the result of our discussion, we parted company in a friendly manner.
I walked away reflecting that she not only knew clearly why I believe what I believe. But she heard from a Christian, a love for her that she didn’t expect when I answered her by saying, “I’ll give you 30 seconds, but I’m one of these wacko Christians.”
Praying For Her
A little further down the trail I was able to pray for her. And because our conversation went the way it did, from beginning to end, I was able to pray, with confidence that she would be moved by something that the Holy Spirit may have spoken to her heart.
My words were just my words. They weren’t said to convict or to change her mind. My role was to speak the truth in love (1 Peter 3:15) and let the Holy Spirit touch her and speak to her heart (Matthew 10:20).
And then I started to consider, what might I have said had I not been completely prayed up? What attitude might I have given off had I not been constantly in prayer before her introducing herself to me?
What Are You Like
Do you notice a difference in yourself when you are not prayed up? Do you treat people differently than would like to when you have not been taking your thoughts captive?
Be constant in prayer. Try it you’ll like the results.
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Usually I take a secular news article that mentions prayer and then give you a view of that article from the grid of Scripture. Today I am doing something different. I am taking a news event and telling you how it is affecting my prayers.
I am being a little more transparent than I’m comfortable with, but it is necessary to be a helpful teacher of prayer.
These hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, etc. have challenged me to ask myself, have I had a proper perspective of prayer in general and of sin in particular, in my life, and in the church.
1 Peter 4:17 says, it is time for judgment to begin in the church house.
Leonard Ravenhill would say,
“The world doesn’t need Jesus, the church needs Jesus.”
“If we had revival we couldn’t sustain it,” because we’re too busy with OTHER things.
Paul says, I am the chief of sinners. . . well he was not, I am
And I am convinced that until we can say this, like Paul, about ourselves, our prayers will be weak and amount to nothing.
As I sought the Lord today, for some reason, I recorded my prayer. I have taken some personal things out, but have left you with the meat of it.
I trust that it will challenge you.
Most of My Prayer from this Morning
Father, thank You for the reminder of my lack of importunity.
I have asked You to teach me to weep when I pray, and I trust that this is a part of that teaching, but beyond that, lead me, guide me, teach me to pray Lord.
Lord, I pray a lot, but do I really bang on the doors of Heaven?
When was the last time I prayed “Lord hear my prayer, Let My Cry for Help come before You. Do not hide Your face from me in my day of trouble. Listen closely to me, answer me quickly when I call.” Psalm 102:1-2.
Father, when was the last time I came to You just begging You to Hear My Cry before I even shared my concern. Oh Lord, I am begging You, Hear My Cry this day.
When was the last time I came to You with tears over this subject or any subject. Oh Lord, my Lord, forgive me, the idea of praying with importunity (or “being annoyingly persistent”) is so outside of what I have practiced. Forgive Me Lord.
God Hear My Cry pay attention to my prayer. I call to You from the ends of the Earth, my heart is without strength, lead me to a rock that is high above me, for You have been a refuge for me, a strong tower. . . I will live in Your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of Your wings Psalm 61:1-4.
Be gracious to me God, be gracious to me for I take refuge in You. I will seek refuge in The Shadow of Your Wings until danger passes. I called to You God most high, to God who fulfills His purpose in and for me. You reached down from heaven and saved me, challenging the one who tramples me, even if the one trampling is me, to myself. God send Your faithful love and Your truth, for I am surrounded Psalm 57:1-4.
God listen to my prayer and do not ignore my plea for help. Pay attention to me and answer me. I am restless and in turmoil with all of my troubles Psalm 55:1-2
Hear my prayer Lord and listen to My Cry for Help. Do not to be silent at my tears for I am a foreigner residing with You, a temporary resident like all my fathers. Turn Your angry gaze from me so that I may be cheered up. . . Psalm 39:12-13
I called to the Lord in my distress and I cried to my God for help from his Temple. He heard my voice and my cry to Him reached His ears Psalm 18:6
Lord do not punish me in Your anger or discipline me in Your Wrath for Your arrows have sunk into me. And Your hand has pressed down on me. There is no Health in my body because of Your indignation. There is no strength in my bones because of my sin, for my sins have flooded over my head, they are a burden too heavy for me to bear. My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness, Lord, I am bent over and brought low all day long. I go around in mourning, I am filled with burning pain and there is no Health in my body. I am faint and severely crushed. I groan because of the anguish of my heart Psalm 38:1-8
And Father I ask for forgiveness because I have not let sin in my life impact me like this. I have not been sorrowful over sin in my past like I am today. And Lord I acknowledge that it is all out of my own foolishness. There is no one else that I can blame for my sin. I am asking You for Mercy Lord.
The passage goes on beginning in verse nine: Lord my every desire is known to You. My sin is not hidden from You. My heart races, my strength leaves me and even the light of my eyes has faded. My loved ones and Friends stand back from my Affliction and my relatives stand at a distance. Those who seek my life set traps and those who want to harm me threaten to destroy me. They plot treachery all day long. I am like a deaf person I do not hear. I am like a speechless person who does not open his mouth. I am like a man who does not hear and has no arguments in his mouth. I put my hope in You Lord and I trust You to answer, Lord my God. For I said, “don’t let them Rejoice over me those who are arrogant toward me when I stumble for I am about to fall and my pain is constantly with me.” So I confess my guilt I am anxious because of my sin but my enemies are vigorous and Powerful. Many hate me for no reason. Those who repay me evil for good attacked me for pursuing good, Lord do not abandon me my God do not be far from me hurry to help me Lord my Savior Psalm 38:9-22.
Oh Lord, my Lord, I need You to be magnificent in my life. Father forgive me for waiting until sin has overtaken me to pray with this kind of emphasis. Forgive me for being in the prayer business and not regularly practicing this kind of Prayer. Forgive me for teaching this kind of prayer and not putting into constant practice.
God listen to my prayer and do not ignore my plea for help. Pay attention to me and answer me, I am restless and I am in turmoil with my troubles and with the turmoil in our land Psalm 55:1-2.
God Hear My Cry, pay attention to my prayer. I call to You from the ends of the Earth, for my heart is without strength… Psalm 61:1-2a.
Lord hear my prayer. Let My Cry for Help come before You. Do not hide Your face from me in my day of trouble. Listen closely to me, answer me quickly when I call Psalm 102:1-2
For the Lord will not reject us forever. Even if and when You cause suffering Father, You will show compassion according to Your abundant faithful love. You do not enjoy bringing Affliction or bringing suffering on to mankind Lamentations 3:31-33.
Let us search out and examine our ways Father. I have done that, I have searched and examined my ways and now I’m turning back to You. I lift up my heart and my hands to You Father cause me to lift them up to You, even as I am now laying on my belly. I acknowledge that I have sinned and rebelled. If You have not, please forgive me now. For You have gone so far as to cover Yourself in anger and pursue me, You have covered Yourself with a cloud so that none of my prayers passed through to You. Lord I feel like You have made me as disgusting filth among the people. Lamentations 3:40-45.
Lord, I call upon Your name, Your name Yahweh, from the depths of the pit where I am. I know that You hear my plea. Please do not ignore my cry for relief. I know that You come near when I call and when You do that You tell me to not be afraid. Oh Lord, my Lord, show me Your Majesty. Hear My Cry, hear it now. Lamentations 3:55-57.
Lord do not rebuke me in Your anger. Do not discipline me in Your Wrath. Oh Father, be gracious to me. I am weak, I am stupid, and I am dumb. Heal Me Lord for my bones shake. Lord rescue me, save me because of Your faithful love, for there is no remembrance of You when I am in Sheol, when I am dead. I can’t thank You when I’m in the grave. Father, I am weary from my groaning. Lord, I acknowledge that with my tears I do not dampen my pillow. Oh that I would drench my bed in my mourning and groaning. My eyes are swollen from grief, they grow old because of all my enemies and Father I am my worst enemy when I sin. Depart from me all evildoers and I know that includes me and my sin. Lord, You have heard the sound of my weeping. Oh Lord You have heard my plea for help. Father, I have trusted You to accept my prayer. Lord, let the enemies of my heart be ashamed and shake with Terror, let them turn back and suddenly be disgraced. Father, I no longer want to sin anymore. Psalm 6.
Now that I have prayed Lord, I simply close with, Praise be to You, the God of Heaven, the One who hears my prayers. Lord, I’m reminded of Jeremiah 1:12b, I pray to You, the One who hastens His word to perform it, who hustles to do that which is His word.
And though I do not deserve any Mercy from You . I plead for it this day though, and I trust You for mercy, to honor Your name And that is my expectation today Father.
I have come to You in the morning I’ve laid these requests before You and now I wait in expectation Psalm 5:3