If you’ve seen a landscape or felt the soft fur of a kitten or tasted the decadence of chocolate, then you’ve been in the interactive art exhibit and kitchen of God. That’s everday, yes? Apart from the undeniable design of our world (Romans 1:20), Christian, we have His Word through which we are invited to experience God. John 14:15 Jesus says to those who obey Him, He will disclose Himself to them. Have you been obedient to a truth in God’s Word today? Think on a Biblical truth and ask for faith and the ability for obedience and see what happens. He says He will disclose Himself to you. I pray you are blessed with knowing God more through your experience of the world God created and through your obedience to God’s Word today!
I admit, I’m a bit fired up. Mostly because I now have some sources from which I can learn about some grumblings I’ve heard among Christians. Watching our countries culture and government accept and legalize practices that God judged in Sodom and Gomorah is one thing…but seeing professing believers in the church begin to change definitions in the church is entirely another.
In my last post I mentioned that some of these things are new to me. Before I met my husband, I was not privy to much – call it “liberal” teaching – within churches. I was definitely taken aback with the vast differences of thought. My husband said last night…”why use our name “Christian” if you do not accept Jesus’ teachings…create your own name”. I suggest…Almost Christian, or something similar. (okay…I’m still a little emotional about these things, thus the sarcasm that I should probably delete) Once I began hearing whisperings of “enlightened” or “progressive” thinking within the church here and there from friends and to some extent, family, I have taken more notice. I now realize what some people are trying to market as new and progressive views of the Bible and of how the Church should function are acutally nothing new. Looking at mainline denominations, such as the PCUSA and the UCC and the Episcopal church, who have long sinced adopted veiws that younger people consider think themselves making new headway with new progressive understanding, is acutally not. And of course this is nothing new at all…if you look far enough back – you see diversions and branches of interpretation of Jesus’ teaching within the first 100 years of His life.
As I’ve started reading about these things I see a common theme that’s also not new. Questioning some aspect of the faith. Well, many thinking human beings do this throughout their faith, so that’s not so novel as some authors make it out to be whether certain authors were surrounded by others who where doing it in the same manner or not. What is sticking out, or being marketed as progressive, is the willingness of some to change some “traditional” interpretations of scripture in commonly conservative denominations. As I read the questions of some authors I hear the voice of the serpent, “Indeed has God really said?”, as a parallel dialogue. I listened to a progressive Christian mockingly share her determination to obey every command given to women in scripture (but polygamy, she said), proceeding to show a picture of her sitting on the corner of the roof for the testy remarks she gave her husband (think of Proverbs), proving, she thought, that the Bible was not meant to provide bullet points to obey, because that would be absurd. Was she asking the right questions? With my limited theology studies alone…I know better that that is a irresponsible way to make conclusions of scripture. I am shocked how bold young people are (who have less wisdom and experience and study) to change definitions for people in the church. One author said they wrestled with a particlar issue for a year and came to the conclusion they wrote about in their new book. One year she wrestled… I’m shocked some people are so confident in their limited research and time taken to learn from others they are willing to stand before God for their influence, not only for the influence on their generation but for generations who follow.
I’m rambling again…but I want to encourage those who are a bit doumbfounded about a new (or old) generation trying to rewrite tenets of the faith…to take it seriously. I’ve heard stories from my husband of this in the church…the slope is so slippery and it can litteraly destroy a denomination. You may be disenchanted with the church who has many faults (nothing new…have your read the letters to the Corinithians…) but that doesn’t mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. The early apostles didn’t, they just kept encouraging sinful church members (all of us) to continue in obedience to God’s word. We are in a time in America the church is not only not growing equl to our population growth, but the church itself is walking away from Christian teaching because many feel is either doesn’t make sense or it’s not working for them. As the church dwindles in America, so God’s light will not be placed on as many hills to shine bright for others to see. The church should be on alert. I pray believers take notice and get ready to stand as so many before us have had to in centuries past. And be willing to speak out. 1 Timothy 3:15 says the church is the pillar and foundation of truth. Christians, let’s protect that in our country.
I don’t have a lot of time to write the following at my best, but I wanted to string together a few thoughts before the day is done.
Anyone who knows me well knows it’s in my DNA to peel the onion…sometimes peeling back layers for a lengthy period of time, and today I’ve been lead to a prominant source from which I’ve started to peel back layers to understand some contemporary Christian teaching many disenchanted Christians are embracing. This is somewhat new to me…not so new to many others.
I am sooo grateful to have married an evangelical pastor with a seminary education, with 20 plus years of theology study, and with church experience in both a liberal denomination and not, to help me understand some ideas disenchanted Christians are embracing. I am grateful for Brett’s wisdom. I’m grateful for pastors who have dedicated their life to the study of the Bible and for helping others understand it.
My personal prayer is that all believers and seekers not only go to the Bible for truth (hiss…some Christians would respond), but obey it. In that obedience you will experience the Lord you seek. (John 14:21, I hope you look up the verse). If you’re disenchanted with anything to do with the church…I pray you focus on your obedience to scripture (using responsible hermenuetics)…do that for a long time…and see what happens. If you do not experience the Lord in a way that brings you life and wholeness, it may be that you do not know Him and have only good intentions. That was me until I was 19 years old. My lack of honest experience with the Lord helped me realize my lack of having met with Him in “person” as we say. An elderly woman shared the same experience with my husband just months before she died. She told him she now went around the church asking people if they really knew Jesus, even if they thought her strange…because she was aware of the difference of knowledge of Jesus and true meeting of the Savior.
This is a bit of rambling, but for whoever may find this interesting, I want to say that while many in the church are attempting to dismiss parts of the Bible to make it more palatable to their understanding, I wanted to share and encourage you towards belief and obedience in the word of truth, God’s word (John 17:17). Man cannot explain all of chemistry, geology, astronomy, biology, and physics…sociology and more…and neither can we understand all of the Bible this side of heaven. That’s a part of accepting that God is bigger than us and that it requires us to have faith in His Word. I pray you read and obey it today.
When I was about 20 years old I learned a friend had fasted and prayed for me for three days concerning a struggle I had with a particular sin and I can honestly say that I never again committed that sin. I credit her Christian love, shown through fasting and prayer, that God moved on my behalf.
The last couple of months I’ve gained the blessing of a praying mentor and a woman who earnestly prays for me. A couple of weeks ago I asked her to pray for me on behalf of an issue I’d had the previous couple months – an issue that would plague me during the night and wreak havoc on my mind during the day. I needed freedom and asked for this praying woman’s help. She prayed for me, and I’ve not had the issue since.
I know the thought that may cross our minds, that not all prayers are answered so clearly and finally. But, if we do not make the world go around – can barely build a laudable sand castle – then we don’t have the clearance to know all the reasons why God clearly and finally answers one prayer and doesn’t seem to another. He is God after all. But we don’t know how God will answer each time we pray – so why not ask? I don’t believe I would have experienced the same freedom in my life had these women not prayed – and I am so grateful they cared enough and took the time to petition God on my behalf. I’m also in awe of God’s power in response to their prayers. God wants us to pray. Read the scripture below to see how God wants to answer our prayers.
Whose life could change in significant ways because you loved them enough to pray earnestly? Who can you encourage by sharing stories of your answered prayers? Will you pray with me?
(Matthew 7: 7-11) Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
Let God’s Word be enough to move us to pray faithfully with others; but should we need to see a man in flesh with a voice of emotion teaching God’s Word to convince us to pray, then let this video by John Piper encourage us. Are you part of a group whose mission it is to pray faithfully? If not, then begin your search for a prayer group by checking out your church’s prayer group and start helping change the world in a great way. Will you pray with me?
(Matthew 18:19-20) Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.
While every believer has the invitation from God to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17), is there a unique role to this praying lifestyle for women?
Since the first woman in creation, Eve, to God’s amazing creation of you, God uniquely designed women with a tendency to fulfill relational roles, as we see God making Eve a helpmate to Adam and a mother to her children. Because of God’s design, women have a gift for supporting others, to be nurturing people, whether or not they have a husband or child.
Being designed with a nurturing disposition, you’re likely to pray in a nurturing way, whether conscious of it or not, and praying in a nurturing fashion is good – because it will help meet the needs of people in your circle.
Now, consider for whom you pray – the people in your circle: your husband, your children, your extended family, your friends, church, co-workers, etc. You are uniquely positioned to pray for them and you may be one of the few, if not the only person praying for the people in your world, and this makes your prayers very important. In Isaaih 59:16, God wondered that He did not find one person to intercede among His people, but may that not be true of you. May you dedicate yourself to praying for your world, without ceasing. So, how can you pray?
If you look at Jesus’ prayer not long before he died, he prayed that the disciples and the coming disciples (you) would be sanctified in truth, in God’s Word (John 17:17) . So using God’s Word to pray petitions God to bring sanctification to the believer and invites God’s truth into the life of the unbeliever. While extemporaneous prayer is obviously used throughout the Bible, praying God’s Word on behalf of another is uniquely powerful and important, and you can’t go wrong praying sanctification by using God’s Word if sanctification was Jesus’ petition for the Christian!
To pray in an organized fashion, it may be useful to put together a prayer notebook or journal in which you list all the people you would like to pray for each day of the week and list scripture you believe is appropriate to pray on their behalf. Attached is a prayer guide suggestion I hope you find helpful as you develop a praying lifestyle. You can punch a hole in the top of each page and use a binder ring to attach the pages. dailyprayerguide
I hope you consider your unique role as a woman among the people in your life and the unique lens through which you can pray for them without ceasing. Will you pray with me?
Tonight I’m excited to pray for Saturday’s prayer topic: people who don’t know Christ. For me this is a fun day to pray! (Friday’s prayer topics make me want to cry.) If you’re looking to organize your prayer life, maybe even use a daily prayer calendar, then there are many fabulous options available by great ministries to get you going. If you haven’t yet checked out these options, then check out the link below to view my daily prayer schedule (which has and will continue to change along my prayer journey). I hope it will inspire you to create your own calendar for the topics important to you. My next blog will encourage you to pray using scripture…I’ve seen super cool things happen from this! Will you pray with me?
To keep my prayer life organized I have been using a three ring binder with tabs, but I am so excited to have just found a prayer app I can use on my phone! It is called PrayerMate and it is a great way to keep your prayer life organized on the go. You can add whatever prayer subject pages you like and add whatever scripture and notes you like to each subject page. You can even set a timer to remind you to pray! I love it! I do not necessarily advocate all the information provided on the “ready-made content & organizations” section (and nor does PrayerMate), but I do recommend the app. I can’t wait to start using it and I hope you will check it out. Now when you are surfing the net on your phone at random times throughout the day…you can pull up your prayer list and take a few minutes to change the world through prayer! Please pray with me. Ephesians 6:18 “…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
I encourage you who boldly take the name of Christ, my fellow Christian, to join me in worshiping God this morning at church. Help me show unbelievers that we care about meeting together by not leaving cobwebs in the pews this Sunday. You will spend only one, maybe two hours of your time honoring the Creator…although reading the following verse – it sounds like He is due a lot more! “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
How can you help stop the terror of ISIS? You can pray for their salvation. With Ramadan ending on June 25, you can especially pray for Muslims as they fast and pray, praying that they will have a vision of Jesus and follow Christ. Pastor Ibrahim from northern Iraq says about 80 percent of Christian converts from Islam have occurred after having a dream about Jesus (Muslims strongly believe in dreams and visions)*. While praying for an enemy can be a challenge, Jesus died and rose again to forgive every sin, including the horrendous acts committed by ISIS. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish and have ever lasting life. Please pause now and pray for the salvation all Muslims, even the members of ISIS.
- Information taken from The Voice of the Martyrs Special Issue 2017