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Thursday, November 29, 2012

WATCHING IN FEAR

A few weeks ago I picked up The Fear Factor by O.S. Hawkins. I believe this is the most important book I have read this year. Hawkins showed how important it was that the church throughout the book of Acts walked in the fear of the Lord. The theses of The Fear Factor springs from Acts 9:31.

“So the church throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up, and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it multiplied.”

If any single statement characterizes the church in America it is the absence of the fear of the Lord. We are much more into preventing fear. That may be because we do not understand the difference between the fears of the world and the Fear of The Lord. A good place to see these two highlighted is at the end of Mark 4. After Jesus had taught all day the disciples took Him in their boat across the sea. He lay down on a pillow in the bow and went to sleep. A terrific storm descended on the sea so that experienced fishermen were afraid. They went and woke Jesus, “Master, you not care if we perish!” Jesus woke and standing out on the deck rebuked the storm. Immediately the wind calmed and the storm ceased. The final verse of Mark 4 says the disciples were more afraid. They were terrified. “What kind of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey him!”

Now notice this final fear. It was not fear that Jesus would punish them. It was a greater, all-consuming fear that caused them to tremble because they were in the presence of God. Do you tremble in the presence of God? Such fear will affect our thinking, our living and yes our watching and praying.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

WATCHING IN THANKSGIVING

Colossians 4:2 calls us to be steadfast in prayer. That is certainly God’s call for us in these days. The verse continues, “watching in the same.” This touches the heart of this blog. And the verse concludes with the words, “in thanksgiving.” Thanksgiving is a major key to steadfast prayer. Thanksgiving expresses and also produces a joyful attitude in prayer. Thanksgiving develops the faith that keeps us watching and calling upon God in prayer. As scripture calls us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18), our thanksgiving is an expression of faith. If you have not given thanks by faith you have certainly not been obeying the command to give thanks in all situations.

“Give thanks, with a grateful heart.

Give thanks to the Holy One.

Give thanks because He’s giving Jesus Christ His son.”

(from Give Thanks by Henry Smith)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

PRAYING IN THE LAST DAYS #3

The Purpose of Prayer
Much praying in these days misses the purpose of God on the earth. Our purpose was dramatically portrayed by the Spirit of God on the Day of Pentecost. Our prayers like the miracle of Pentecost should be aimed at the uttermost parts of the earth, at every “ethnos” [1] or people group on earth. World missions is the purpose of the church in the world. And Jesus said, This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. [2]
I have cancer. And that affects my prayer life. I am not interested in aiming my prayers at finding a better parking place at the Old Country Buffet. I sense the urgency to pray for the world.



[1] The Greek word translated “nations” in Acts 2 refers to ethnic groups.
[2] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Mt 24:14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

PRAYING IN THE LAST DAYS #2

Many of us are still familiar with the post-millennial hymn lyrics, “And the darkness shall turn to the dawning and the dawning to noon day bright. And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth a kingdom of truth and light.” However the New Testament says some different things about the last days. In 2 Timothy 3 Paul wrote, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

How do we respond when we see such things happening around us however near or far we are from the end? We can complain at the dissolution of our society. We could gripe at the wrong that we see in politics and the media. Or we can pray. Whatever else God calls us to do in these days, we must pray. We can no longer live under the illusion that anything short of the power of God will accomplish the will of God in our time.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

PRAYING IN THE LAST DAYS #1, The POWER of the Last Days

Some of us feel led of God to pray for a move of His Spirit in these days like took place on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. As Peter quoted,

  “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

There is a sense in which the last days began with this momentous event. But Peter was not saying those were the last days. He was saying this is what will happen in the last days. Are you praying for the power of God to be unleashed on the hearts of men in these days? Are you praying to see what only the hand of God can accomplish?