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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

THANKS-GIVING

I pray that all of you are enjoying a wonderful celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the expressions of thanks to our Lord I have heard or heard about this year. One of the greatest blessings I have seen is the number of people posting daily thanksgivings on Facebook every day this month.

And with the many other expressions I would like to suggest a wonderful offering of thanks. Give thanks to God by giving to people in need. Jesus said “In as much done it for the least of these, you have done it unto me.” Many of you have been blessed by this sort of thing all your lives. Others of us will find this a new delight. And there are so many ways to give to those in need.

Living Bread Ministries, planting churches among the desperately poor. http://www.livingbread.org/ When John the Baptist sent messengers from prison asking if Jesus were the Messiah, Jesus listed miraculous proofs from healing to raising the dead and climaxed the list with the statement, “And the gospel is preached the poor.” This can still be miraculous evidence of Christ in our lives.

You can give to world hungry through the IMB which also plants churches in many places around the word. http://www.imb.org/main/give/default.asp. One great advantage to giving to hunger relief through the IMB is that a dollar buys a dollar’s worth of food. They cover distribution costs through their regular mission ministries. Give online to World Hunger Fund to meet food-related needs or to General Relief to provide other aid such as shelter or clothing. Give to help victims of disasters through our SBC partner, Baptist Global Response.

You can also give to meet human needs through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, http://www.rzim.org/ . Their Wellspring International. http://wellspringinternational.org/

And you may not have thought of your local Gospel Rescue Mission. http://www.agrm.org/agrm/default.asp  My son-in-law works at our local mission. http://www.rescue-mission.org/ He told me they have collected over 1500 turkeys to prepare for hungry families this year. Rescue missions have the added advantage of allowing you to volunteer. And they will need many extra volunteers all weekend, through Christmas and all year. My son-in-law told us about a family who have volunteered to be at the family shelter at 5:00 A.M. tomorrow to prepare breakfast. Prayer warriors could pray for hundreds of people in line while serving turkey and dressing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

THE ABSENCE OF FORGIVENESS

Have you wondered why we see so little power in the American church that was so blessed of God in by gone days? I have often thought it is because we depend on methods rather than prayer and the moving of the Spirit. If God blessed us in a shockingly supernatural way, who would get the glory? Our clever leaders and great methods?
But I fear that even that foolishness comes, to some extent, from a more serious deficiency. I see us doing so many things in these days with resentment buried beneath the surface of our ministries. It is beyond me how preachers can stand in the pulpit with unforgiving hearts, teachers can lead Bible studies without forgiveness and singers can offer praise with this horrible barrier between them and God. Is this a reason why we do not think to witness to people we see? Is this why our witness has so little power? How dare we come into the presence of God in prayer without seeking even the most difficult forgiveness of those who have wronged us?
Matthew 6:15 gives explanation of The Lord’s Prayer,
   but if you do not forgive others their trespasses,neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Hearts broken over the particular sin of making excuses for unforgiveness may be the key to much spiritual power being unleashed in our churches and lives.
 

 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

IS GOD LATE

In recounting all the miraculous things that God did in starting churches out of Faith Baptist Church in Saskatoon, Henry Blackaby has said, “And God was never late.” But he adds that his wife would say, “He was never a minute early either.” God often tests and develops our faith with the timing of answered prayers. He sometimes answers long after it seems to be too late.

It may seem too late when the other team is ahead by two points with only five seconds on the clock in a hard fought basketball game. But everyone in the stands will be on their feet when a second string guard throws the ball the length of the court in a final desperate attempt at a goal and the ball goes into the basket without touching the rim as the buzzer sounds.
I wonder how Martha and Mary felt at the raising of Lazarus. You know they rejoiced more than they ever had in their lives. But they were not rejoicing until the end of the ordeal. Up until then it seemed like the Lord was too late. John 11:5,6 says, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, so when he heard Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” Be sure that God will come through in the crisis you are facing right now, even if you are standing at the graveside of your hopes. Keep praying and boost your faith with praise, even while it seems too late for God to work.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

LIVING AND PRAYING TO PLEASE GOD

Most of us are aware that Jesus castigated the Pharisees and even the scribes who were the Bible teachers among the people. But their theology would pass almost any test for doctrinal soundness. The Pharisees were the theological conservatives of that day.
So if their doctrine was sound, why did Jesus attack them so vociferously? The problem was with the motivation of their hearts. They behaved and believed and prayed like they did to impress people rather than God.
In Matthew 23 Jesus warned the people about the scribes and Pharisees
“They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at the feasts and the bests seats in the synagogue and greetings in the market places and being called Rabbi by others. But you are not to be called Rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.” (Matt. 23:5-8 e.s.v.)
 
It is important for us to understand that Jesus was speaking of one of the most common temptations in our lives to this day. It is easy to desire to be spiritual so we will be respected by people as spiritual. It is easy for us to even pray for God to make us successful in the eyes of other people. This is clearly an abomination to our Lord.

But I find such humble motivation very difficult to achieve. In fact, I it impossible without the help of God. I pray that God will work spiritually and supernaturally in my heart so I will seek success in His eyes rather than in the eyes of men.