Journey into Shadow

Abanindranath Tagore, Journey’s End, tempera on paper, 1913.

By Jill Carattini

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Frodo, the young hobbit, has been given the burden of bearing the one ring of power. It is a ring that has the potential to put all of Middle Earth under terror and shadow, and the darkness is already spreading. With a fellowship of friends, Frodo determines he must start the long, dark journey to destroy the ring by throwing it into the volcano from which it was forged. It is a journey that will take him on fearful paths through enemy territory and overwhelming temptation to the ends of himself. Seeing the road ahead of him, he laments to Gandalf the Wise that the burden of the ring should have come to him in the first place.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”(1)

A fan of Tolkien’s epic fantasy once wrote the author to say that he preferred to read The Lord of the Rings particularly during the season of Lent. Though I don’t know all this reader had in mind with such a statement, Tolkien’s portrayal of a journey into darkness with the weight of a great burden and a motley fellowship of companions certainly holds similarities to the journey of the church toward the cross. The forty-day period that leads to Easter is both an invitation and a quest for any who would be willing, albeit a difficult one. The deliberate and wearisome journey with Christ to the cross is a crushing burden, even with the jarring recognition that we are not the one carrying it. On the path to Holy Week, the fellowship of the church far and wide is given time to focus in detail on what it means that Jesus came into this world that he might go the fearful way of the Cross. It is time set apart for pilgrimage and preparation, forty days with which we decide what to do with the time that is given us.

In fact, Christian scriptures attach special meaning to the forty-day journey. Considered the number of days marking a devout encounter with God, we find the occurrence of forty-day journeys throughout the stories of the prophets and the people of God. For forty days Noah and his family waited on the arc as God washed away and revived the earth. Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai, where he received the Law of God to share with the Israelites. Later, he spent forty days on the mountain prostrate before the LORD after the sin of the golden calf. Elijah was given food in the wilderness, which gave him strength for the forty-day journey to Horeb, the Mount of God. Jonah reluctantly accepted forty days in Nineveh where the people, heeding his warning, repented before God with fasting, sackcloths, and ashes. For forty days the prophet Ezekiel laid on his right side to symbolize the forty years of Judah’s transgression. And finally, for forty days Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. As Mark reports: “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”

It is with this same Spirit that any are invited to take the forty-day journey into the shadows and difficulties of Lent. In every forty-day (or forty year) journey described in Scripture, the temptations are real, the waiting is difficult, and the call to listen or to look, to obey or deny is wearying. But there is something about the journey itself to which God moves the journeyer. Jesus himself was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days, while Moses, Ezekiel, Noah, and even Jonah were each instructed to set out on the journeys that brought them closer to the heart of God, whether they were able to accept it or not.

Similarly today, the forty days that lead to Easter Sunday are not without burden or cost. “The Cross of Lent,” as Augustine referred to it, is one to bear year round, but one we learn to bear all the more intensely along the way to the cross during Lent. Here, the church invites the journeyer to remember that we are dust, that we follow Jesus to his death, that we recollect the acts of God to be near us, and we let go of the things that keep us from holding the Son who saves us. Of course, these are burdens that none will never bear alone. But each day we are given is one we decide what to do with. Jesus has given one option:

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.”(2)

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 51.
(2) Luke 9:23-24.

So Help Me God

JANUARY 15, 2020 BY CLARENCE SEXTON

George Washington has long been credited with instituting the tradition of concluding the oath of office with the phrase, “So help me God,” at his presidential inauguration in 1789. This profound event has helped shape and influence our nation. Washington’s love for God and country has served as an example for all American history. We have the most unique country in the world. We have the most blessed country in the world. God’s good hand is on it. With the great freedom we have been given, comes great responsibility. People who truly know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour are responsible for what no one else is responsible for in our country. Our religious liberty is a gift from God, not from the state; therefore, we answer to God for this liberty.

Read 1 Timothy 2:1-8 and notice that it is God’s desire that “all men…come unto the knowledge of truth.” Like Timothy, we have been taught certain truths. We know that God is real. We know that heaven and hell are real. We know that there is a certain judgment. We know that Jesus Christ is coming again. We know that evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse. We know that men for money, power, or other reasons may soil their conscience. And we know that when men soil their conscience, it will surely cause their lives to shipwreck. What are we to do with the truth we have been given? How can we use the truth to impact our nation for Christ?

We Are to Speak to God About Our Country

The Bible says in I Timothy 2:1-2, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” All of us would like to live that quiet and peaceable life, but that quiet and peaceable life according to the Word of God does not begin by marching in the streets or protesting in some town square. It begins first of all with speaking to God about our nation.

The ultimate outcome of the struggle in our nation rests in the hands of God. Our first responsibility is to call on God. I want us to stop just for a moment, and ask ourselves, “How many times have we complained without praying? How many times have we griped about something we didn’t like but we didn’t pray about it?” We must speak to God first.

We Are to Speak to Our Country About God

The first thing is speaking to God for our country. The second thing is to speak to our country about God. The Bible says in I Timothy 2:3-6, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” We meet many people who have not come to “the knowledge of the truth.” How will they ever know the Creator God? It is our responsibility in our country to take advantage of every freedom we enjoy, to open our mouths and proclaim with our whole heart that our God is the true God, the Creator God, and all truth proceeds from Him because He is before all things.

Instead of sitting down, twiddling our thumbs, and having debates about every opportunity we do not have, we need to take advantage of every opportunity we do have. We need to begin speaking to our friends, neighbors, and co-workers about God. This is what our country needs.

We Are to Allow God to Speak to Us
and Obey Him

Thirdly, we are to always allow God to speak to us and obey Him. I Timothy 2:7-8 says, “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Notice the parenthetical phrase in verse seven, “I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not.” This is given to us by the Lord in the Word of God so that the reader better understands the author. When we write something in parentheses, that gives a little more earnestness or clarity.

The Word of God says in Psalm 134:1-2, “Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.” In other words, “God, see into my heart. This is all for the Lord. It is all for His glory. I am coming to God with a clean heart and giving it to Him.”

Our responsibility is to pray for individuals, for leaders, for authorities; to speak to God about our nation; to speak to our nation in humility and boldness about the truth; and to confront them about Christ. Do you know the Lord Jesus as your Saviour? There is only one way to heaven. Do not be fooled and die and go to hell forever. Do not just live on religion. You must know the true God. That is why we are here.

We have the greatest work in this world to do: being His witnesses and His intercessors, and He will enable us for this work if we keep our own hearts right with Him.

So Help Me God

Effective Prayer (James 5:13–20)

Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr. Book of James

The gift of speech is a marvelous blessing, if it is used to the glory of God. Prayer is certainly a high and holy privilege. As God’s children, we can come freely and boldly to His throne and share with Him our needs! The mature Christian is prayerful in the troubles of life. Instead of complaining about his situation, he talks to God about it, and God hears and answers his prayers. Perhaps one of the greatest weaknesses in the average church today is in the area of prayer. The reason for this weakness may be traced to insensitivity. James encourages us to pray by describing four situations in which God answers prayer:

1. Prayer for the Suffering (5:13)

As God’s people go through life, they often must endure difficult circumstances that are not the result of sin or the chastening of God. Suffering should elicit prayer. The greatest assistance any believer can offer another is faithful prayer. Prayer is clear evidence of care. Prayer is the “hotline” to the One who can provide for any need no matter how complex or impossible it may seem. To share in prayer, a believer must have sensitivity to someone’s needs, engage in diligent supplication for those needs, and recognize the significance of those needs.

What should we do when we find ourselves in such trying circumstances? We must not grumble and criticize those who are having an easier time of it; nor should we blame the Lord. We should pray, asking God for the wisdom we need to understand the situation and use it to His glory. Prayer can remove affliction, if that is God’s will, but prayer can also give us the grace we need to endure troubles and use them to accomplish God’s perfect will (Read: Turning Trials into Triumphs).

2. Prayer for the Sick (5:14–16)

A great deal of misunderstanding has resulted from these verses. Some teach that full physical health is always just a prayer away, but James was not giving a blanket formula for healing the sick in these verses.

The heart of the problem lies in just what James meant when he referred to the “sick.” What did he mean? He was not referring to physical illness, but rather weak faith. James wrote to those who had grown weary, who had become weak both morally and spiritually in the midst of suffering. These are the ones who “should call” for the help of “the elders of the church.”

The church leaders were instructed to encourage the timid and help the weak. The “prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well [restore him from discouragement and spiritual defeat] and the Lord will raise him up.” That the restoration is spiritual, not physical, is further clarified by the assurance, “if he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”

Many physically ill Christians have called on elders to pray for them and to anoint them with oil, but a sizable percentage of them have remained sick. This fact suggests the passage may have been mistakenly understood as physical restoration rather than spiritual restoration. Those who claim God heals every case, and it is not His will for His children to be sick are denying both Scripture and experience. But where we have the inner conviction from the Word and the Spirit that it is God’s will to heal, then we can pray “the prayer of faith” and expect God to work (Read: My Testimony).

The conclusion is clear: “therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.” A mutual concern for one another is the way to combat discouragement and downfall. The cure is in personal confession and prayerful concern. The healing is not bodily healing, but healing of the soul.

3. Prayer for the Nation (5:17–18)

When wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel led Israel away from the Lord and into the worship of Baal, God punished the nation by holding back the rain they needed (1 Kings 17–18). For three and one half years the earth was dry and unable to produce the crops so necessary for life.

Then Elijah challenged the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel. All day long the priests cried out to their god, but no answer came. Elijah prayed once and fire came from heaven to consume the sacrifice. He had proven Jehovah is the true God.

But the nation still needed rain. Elijah went to the top of Mt. Carmel and fell down before the Lord in prayer. “He prayed earnestly [persistently].” He continued to pray for rain until his servant reported “a cloud the size of a man’s hand.” There was a great rain and the nation was saved.

Too many times, we fail to get what God promises because we stop praying. It is true we are not heard “for our much praying” (Matt. 6:7); but there is a difference between vain repetitions and true believing persistence in prayer.

Elijah prayed for his nation and God answered his prayer. We need to pray for our nation today, that God will bring conviction and revival, and “showers of blessing” will come to the land.

4. Prayer for the Wandering (5:19–20)

These verses deal with our ministry to a fellow believer who wanders from the truth and gets into sin. Those who have lost their way are the “sick ones” in the church family.

To wander suggests a gradual moving away from the will of God. The Old Testament term for this is “backsliding.” Sad to say, we see this tragedy occurring in our churches regularly. Sometimes a brother is “overtaken in a fault” (Gal. 6:1); but usually the sin is the result of slow, gradual spiritual decline.

Believers have a responsibility to fellow-believers who stray. The wandering one needs to be turned back to the Lord and brought back to the fold. A wandering believer cannot move ahead again on the path toward spiritual maturity until he or she is restored. James urges fellow-believers to get in their way, head them off, and turn them back. The rescue action is of great significance!

Many of us must admit when we see a Christian straying, we have a tendency to excuse ourselves from responsibility by saying, “It’s none of my business.” Or we think our responsibility begins and ends with praying for the backslidden. But James instructs us to lovingly confront them with their straying and tenderly call them back to the Lord.

If we are going to help a wandering brother or sister, we must have an attitude of love, for “love will cover over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). This does not mean love “sweeps the dirt under the carpet.” Where there is love, there must also be truth (“speaking the truth in love,” says Paul in Eph. 4:15); and where there is truth, there is honest confession of sin and cleansing from God. Love not only helps the offender to face his sins and deal with them, but love also assures the offender that those sins, once forgiven, are remembered no more.

* This brings us to the end our series in James. I hope and pray you have enjoyed and benefitted from this study as much as I have.

https://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/effective-prayer-james-513-20/

Three Ways to Handle an Unhappy Marriage

By Corey Allan -August 12, 2020

Problems in marriage are inevitable. Even chronic. And so, at times, is unhappiness. There are three key ways to handle an unhappy marriage.

After studying 645 couples where one spouse rated their marriage as unhappy, a research study from a team of family scholars found that two-thirds of the couples who chose to stick it out together reported a significantly happier marriage five years later.

So what makes the difference if you choose not to divorce?

The marriages that got happier fell into three broad approaches: the marital work ethic, the marital endurance ethic and the personal happiness epic.

  1. In the marital work ethic, spouses actively work to solve problems, change behavior or improve communication. When the problem is solved, the marriage gets happier. Strategies for improving marriages range from arranging dates or other ways to spend more time together, to enlisting the help and advice of relatives or in-laws, consulting clergy or secular counselors, or even threatening divorce and consulting divorce attorneys.
  2. In the marital endurance ethic, by contrast, spouses don’t solve problems with concerted action on the part of either spouse. Stated another way, you don’t “work” on an unhappy marriage; instead, you endure it. “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other” because with the passage of time, things get better. Job situations improve, children get older or better, or chronic ongoing problems get put into new perspective.
  3. Finally, in the personal happiness epic, marriage problems don’t seem to change that much. Instead, you find alternative ways to improve your own happiness and build a good and happy life despite a mediocre marriage. This often contains elements of both the marital work ethic and the marital endurance ethic approaches as well.

Marriage as a Shared Story

Creating a happy marriage depends on more than just your interactions with your spouse; it also depends on how you view marriage in general.

Marriage is not just the sum of the personal interactions that you find either satisfying or distressing. Marriage is a social status and a shared ideal—a story you have about your own life, your family, your spouse and your love.

The attitudes and values that people and societies have about marriage and divorce affect how satisfying people find being married. In communities where marriage is highly valued, husbands and wives get more from marriage than they would in a community where marriage is seen as a merely private matter.

People who are deeply committed to marriage as a lifelong vow have happier marriages not only because of what they do in their relationships, but because of what they think about being married in general. Read that sentence again.

Stated another way: The happiness you get from any role in life—being a parent, holding a job, being married—depends in part on how satisfying you find the day-to-day interactions and tasks. But it also depends on whether you see the role itself as important and valuable.

In general, we have many goals for our own marriages, and those of others: We want marriage to last, we want children to enjoy living with their own two married parents, we want these marriages to be happy, and we don’t want unhappily married people trapped in miserable lives.

Over the past 40 years, these goals have seemed to be in conflict: If we discourage divorce we create lasting marriages at the high cost of individual misery—almost certainly for adults and often for the children. We need to find ways how to handle conflict.

Based on the findings of this study, this conventional wisdom is untrue.

Does divorce typically make unhappily married people happier than staying married? No.

Does a firm commitment to staying married, even though unhappy, typically condemn adults to lifelong misery? No.

So, is divorce always wrong and staying married always right? The answer’s not so simple.

Both divorce and marriage initiate complex chains of events whose outcomes cannot be predicted with certainty at the outset.

But know this…marriages are not happy or unhappy—spouses are.

And with the passage of time, the feelings of people about their marriages can and do change.

A bad marriage and a good marriage is not always a fixed opposite, but the same marriage at two different points in time (or in the eyes of two different spouses).

Divorce may make an unhappy spouse happier, but there is no guarantee (and much doubt) that it will.

Marriage is no panacea, but neither is divorce.

To sum all this up: People and marriages are going to be happier in communities with a strong commitment to marital permanence. While some marriages are so destructive that divorce or separation maybe an outcome, marriages are more likely to be both happy and stable when marriage is highly valued.

So,

Surround yourself with other married couples who value marriage as well.

Stick it out through the tough times.

And live life together with others.

It makes the ride so much more enjoyable along the way.

####

Pick up a copy of Naked Marriage…available now.  

This article about how to handle an unhappy marriage originally appeared here.

Three Ways to Handle an Unhappy Marriage

He Gives Power to the Weak

 by ZAMA-ZOE GRACE

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-30

Mounting up with wings as eagles

Greetings! Friends, How are you this day? Are you feeling tired and weary? I know the answer for many is a “No” because they have just witnessed God breaking through for them as they were passing through the storms of life. However, some feel tired and weary because the journey has been challenging for them. They don’t think they have any power in them to continue to fight and push through till the end. 

Well, I am here this day to encourage you and tell you once again that you are not alone in this battle; God is with you and for you. As I was meditating last night, I felt weary and exhausted, and I kept asking God the same question, when will the end of these trials comes to an end. For a moment, I felt that I don’t have the power to go on and finish this race. As I was entertaining this thought, the Holy Spirit started ministering back to me and reminded me of Isaiah, chapter 40, from verses 28 to 31. 

This chapter begins with proclaiming comfort for the people as quoted in the scripture below: 

Our God says to you:

    “Comfort, comfort my people with gentle, compassionate words.

 Speak tenderly from the heart to revive those in Jerusalem, and proclaim that their warfare is over.

Yes, the warfare has ended, even though it seems hard, but God is proclaiming this day that the fight has ended. In this chapter, God reveals Himself as our Shephard, who has gone ahead of us and has made every crooked path straight, every mountain and hill low, and every valley leveled. He has cleared the way ahead of us, and not only that, He has promised to give power to the weak and increase strength to the weary. 

However, there is a part we need to play for us to continue to finish this race. We have to wait patiently in the Lord, in His presence through prayer, praise and worship, tithing and giving offerings, serving in the house of God, and so on. There is a promise that God gives to those who are weary and, tired yet, continue to wait silently and patiently in His presence.

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired. Isaiah 40: 31 AMP

According to the above mentioned scripture, God will renew our strength and power as long as we continue to wait in His presence. We will receive new strength like never before, and we will mount up with wing as eagles and soar very high, we will run and not become weary, we will walk and not be faint. 

I got very excited and felt energized after meditating on this verse, I felt revival entering my soul, and I was overflowing with joy to continue and finish this race. May I encourage you this day to meditate on this chapter and allow God to fill you up afresh with His strength and power so you can mount up with wings like an eagle and start soaring high once again and run your race like never Before!

There is the power that comes with meditating on the word of God as we learn in Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. AMP

May I also end this post with this quote from Nehemiah Chapter 8 verse 10.

Then Ezra said to them, “Go [your way], eat the rich festival food, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be worried, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold.

NEHEMIAH 8:10 AMP

I hope you found encouragement and inspiration to continue to wait in the presence of God. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read—many blessings to you. God loves you, and He is with you and for you.

10 Things You Should Know About Anglicanism

By Gerald R McDermott -April 2, 2020

10 Things You Should Know About Anglicanism

1. It didn’t start with the divorce of Henry VIII.

Actually, it started in the very first centuries of Christianity when Romans settled Britain and Christians came as soldiers, administrators and traders. The first mention we have of English Christianity comes from Tertullian who wrote in 200 AD that “parts of England were conquered by Christ.”

Very soon, Christians in Britain developed their own way of worshiping the triune God, involving attention to the beauty of the created world and missions. The Celtic church in England differed with Rome over many points of worship, and in the fourteenth century Oxford priest, John Wycliffe, called the pope “a poisonous weed” and denied transubstantiation. All of these differences with the Roman church were centuries before Henry VIII.

2. By the fourteenth Century, England had developed a distinctive spirituality.

It was rooted in the synthesis of doctrine and prayer taught by two Christian greats: Augustine of Hippo—the great theologian whose Confessions are an extended prayer—and Benedict of Nursia, whose monasteries modeled the Christian life as work amidst liturgical prayer. By the fourteenth century, English Christianity had long been influenced by both Augustine’s “pessimistic” emphasis on sin and Benedict’s “optimistic” stress on joy in common life.

3. Anglicanism is not just for the English or for Americans.

Today the majority of Anglicans are in Africa and other regions of the Global South. Each province uses its own culture to worship God with the Book of Common Prayer and the orthodoxy of the Thirty-Nine Articles.

4. There are more Anglicans in church on Sunday morning in Nigeria than in all the British Isles and North America combined.

5. With a membership of about 85 million, Anglicanism is the third-largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

6. Anglicans consider their way to be a via media.

This means the “middle way” between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. They think they have the best of both—the worship of the catholic tradition of the undivided Church of the first millennium, plus the emphasis on preaching and justification by faith from the Reformation.

7. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer is widely regarded as the most beautiful worship in the English language.

The “sombrely magnificent prose” (Eamon Duffy) of the Book of Common Prayer has attracted legions of admirers all around the world. It reflects the liturgical genius of Thomas Cranmer, but it also provides moderns access to the worship of the early church. Cranmer, and the many other hands that produced the Book of Common Prayer, were adapting a basic catholic pattern of worship derived from the first few centuries of the Church that then developed over the course of the Middle Ages.

8. Anglicans worship not only with liturgy (ordered prayer that changes every Sunday of the seasons of the church year), but also with sacraments.

These are the two Dominical (commanded by the Dominus, or Lord, of the Church, Jesus) sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, and the five “sacraments of the church”—confirmation, Holy Orders, marriage, absolution, and healing of the sick.

9. Anglicans believe that in the Eucharist, they receive the real body and blood of the risen Christ.

This differs with the Catholic view of transubstantiation, which holds that the substance of the bread and wine are changed so that they are no longer bread and wine. Anglicans believe the bread and wine remain as bread and wine, but that in a mysterious way, the body and blood of Christ are also conveyed through the sacrament.

10. While Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) was the English Reformation’s greatest liturgist, Richard Hooker (1554-1600) is widely regarded as its greatest theologian.

His Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity are a comprehensive treatment of life and worship on the via media.

Content adapted from The Future of Orthodox Anglicanism by Gerald R. McDermott. This article first appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.

Original here

How To Love One Another?

September 29, 2020 Nehemiah Zion

Can I ever understand you? Knowing a person is one thing; truly understanding a person takes years to never.

Did God ask us to understand each other? Nope.

He’s called us to love one another. How to love one another?

Here are 15 ways to reach out to your brother or sister in Christ;

  1. Be kind and affectionate (Romans 12:10)
  2. In honour prefer another (Romans 12:10)
  3. Forgiving (Ephesians 4:32)
  4. Forbearing (Colossians 3:13)
  5. Bear burdens (Galatians 6:2)
  6. Edify (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  7. Confess faults (James 5:16)
  8. Provoke to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)
  9. Hospitality without grudging (1 Peter 4:9)
  10. Wash feet (John 13:14)
  11. Comfort (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
  12. Correct (Romans 15:14)
  13. Submit (Ephesians 5:21)
  14. Serve (Galatians 5:13)
  15. Encourage (Hebrews 3:13)

Pray that all these qualities and much more be found in our lives until Jesus returns in His eternal glory. Praise God and Amen!

 

How To Love One Another?

#PrayatNoon

MARCH 31, 2020 BY CLARENCE SEXTON

God is always at work. By looking at revivals in the past, we can learn how He desires to make Himself known during desperate times. In recent days, my attention has been captured by the events leading up to the Third Great Awakening, and the New York businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier, who was used of God to remind our nation to pray.

As Jeremiah Lanphier sought the Lord for revival in his land, he became convinced that if the men and women of his city would join him in prayer, God would open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing. Lanphier passed out thousands of flyers inviting people to pray with him at noon each day. On September 23, 1857, only a handful of businessmen trickled into the little room he had rented on Fulton Street. Not one of them could have imagined how God would multiply their efforts in the coming days.

They continued to meet for prayer at noon each day, and their group grew to a few dozen. But when financial disaster struck on October 10, 1857, everything changed. People lost jobs, money, and investments. Hopelessness filled the hearts of those who had days before felt no need of spiritual things. God used this dark period to turn the hearts of people to Himself. Thousands of desperate people rushed to churches to pray and seek God. A prayer revival broke out and many churches across America began hosting noon prayer meetings like the one started by Lanphier.

Can it be that God will use this moment, this time of fear, uncertainty, and questions, to draw His people unto Himself? Could a great prayer revival happen in our day amidst the turmoil brought about by the Coronavirus?

God is trying to speak to His people through this crisis. We must prepare our hearts to hear from Him by setting aside a special time of earnest prayer. My church family is joining with me by praying in their homes at noon. We are not interested in a movement or a fad. We truly desire to see what God may do in this time. Will you join me in praying at noon?

#PrayatNoon

The Tension Between Life and Death

 BY FRANCESROGERS

As Christians, we live between two extremes ~ between two worlds. We have been “delivered from the power of darkness.” Our heavenly Father has “translated us—conveyed us (NKJV) into the kingdom of His dear Son.” Col.1:13 

A follower of Christ knows the reality of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). 

While we live in this world, the Christ in us will be stalked like a lion.  

 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Pet.1:14

Even as Jesus was betrayed by those who lived in darkness, we experience this opposition by those who cannot rest unless the light is put out. While we want to bring others out of darkness, it is to live against the god of this world. 

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9 

The oppressor is a constant foe against God’s people. This has been true since the beginning. The enemy – God’s enemy, and ours – will not leave us alone as long as we live in his territory.

It may seem, at times, that we are safe and let our weapons fall by our side. It is then, the foe within may raise its ugly head. Pride can remain dormant until our thoughts are taken captive to the world’s thinking. Whatever has our attention, politics, social media, or any earthly thoughts, we are at war. The tension will rise as death desires to subdue us.

When the enemy gained his stronghold and set up his kingdom, he set God’s creatures against each other. Death ensued to put down anything good. Cain murdered Abel and the pattern of this world was set. 

The Spirit and the Flesh
As God’s people, we still live in the flesh. It has been appointed that men shall die (Heb. 9:26-28). We cannot live forever in this body. Those who are born of the Spirit have eternal life – a life that transcends this one. As long as we are in this body, we will continually be at war with the flesh and its proneness to satisfy its desires.

This tendency flairs whenever we are faced with an opposition of some form, whether a lust of the flesh or in a relationship. “The old man” is stirred up when others will not see our point of view, agree to our leading, or bend to our will. This happens between husbands and wives, parents and children, siblings, friends, etc.Blessings and Curses
Recently, I have looked at this subject in light of God’s relationship with the Israelites. He promised blessings and life to his people as a result of their obedience – curses and death to those who rebelled (Deut.11:26-28). Does this not sound like His promise to Adam and Eve?

The nation of Israel was not able to acquire the blessings and life. They could not keep His commandments. Death continued to rule in the lives of men.

That curse was broken when, as He had promised to send a Messiah from among their people, Jesus came. And those who believe are given eternal life through His sinless life and death on the cross for us.

Eternal life does not mean we are free from temptation, but we have what Adam and Eve, and the Israelites did not have. As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit is within the believer, setting up the kingdom of God within us, revealing the life of Christ.

He is the constant power and presence in us to keep us in God’s Word, training us to war against the flesh and pride that still lurks within – and to work obedience, and blessings in and through us to others.

I am tempted to make this a series and touch on the subject of curses handed down through generations, but I will stop here, else we have started another book. Our books already published proclaim the presence and the power of our heavenly Father, the legacy of His kingdom in His people, and His victory in Christ and His Spirit over our flesh, sin, and death.

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Pet. 5:10-11

Gracious Father, thank you for delivering us from the power of darkness and death. Though we suffer for the name of Christ, let us live by the indwelling of your Spirit and so, overcome the enemy’s tactics. Keep us always sober, fervent in prayer and your Word, knowing you and Jesus whom you sent to be our life here and forever. Let us with the humility of Christ face any opposition. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Books

VIDEO The Umpire Strikes Back with Prayer

Ed Heath – 700 Club Producer

Williamsburg, VA

As a high school and college referee and umpire, Robert Calloway was very active and rarely got sick.

Then in March 2020 he developed chills and stomach pains so severe, his wife Barbara had to take him to the E.R. Covid-19 had yet to take hold in the U.S. so when doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, they sent them home.

Barbara recalls, “I thought, ‘Well, he’s got a virus, you know, he’ll get over it, just needs a few days.’”

Then, four days later, Robert was having trouble breathing, so his wife and daughter, Gabby, rushed him to the E.R. again. This time he was admitted to the hospital immediately, suspected of having Covid-19.

Gabby says, “I didn’t even get to say anything to him, and it was heart-wrenching after that because I didn’t even get to say my last ‘I love you.’”

Barbara recalls, “It was horrible. Sending him back there and not knowing, you know, at that point we’re going to see him again…”

Robert was given oxygen and put in isolation. Within days his breathing was so poor he had to be put on a ventilator and into a medically induced coma.

Barbara says, “The same day we actually got the Covid-19 results back to say that he was positive. The doctor called me and said, ‘His breathing has gotten worse and we’re going to need to put him on a ventilator.’ It made us very nervous. In the condition he was in. I was very concerned. I came home and cried.”

Gabby thought, “It was just kinda like ‘Why?’ You know, ‘Why him?’ And so that was a little discouraging when he did go on the ventilator.” 

Unable to stay with Robert in the hospital, the family dealt with it the only way they knew how. “We were praying, and friends were praying.”

Gabby recalls, “Friends just kept encouraging me. And I think that increased my hope for the situation.”

Barbara remembers, “The church family would bring us stuff; our neighbors would drop stuff off. And we were just here for each other.”

Then, after one week on the ventilator, Robert took another turn for the worse. His heart rate and fever shot up and his oxygen levels plummeted.

Barbara recalls, “At that point they didn’t know for sure why. It was pretty scary. I would just talk to God. And then at one point I did have to say, ‘God, you know, if this is his time then, you know, at least I know he’s going to be with you.’ You know, I was confident in that.”

One of Robert’s doctors told Barbara a CAT scan revealed he had blood clots; several in his legs and one in his lungs. They put Robert on blood thinners but made no promises.

Barbara says, “She said, ‘It does not look good.’ She said that ‘There’s some things that a bigger hospital could be doing for him, but honestly at the point where he’s at, it might be too late.'”

Barbara sent out another urgent request for people to pray. Then over the next two days, Robert’s numbers started returning to normal. Soon, doctors were able to take him off the ventilator and bring him out of the coma.

Gabby recalls, “We knew that he still wasn’t out of the woods yet, but it was just very joyful just to have him awake and breathing on his own. So that was awesome.”

Barbara remembers, “They said, ‘It’s going to be a long road for recovery, but, you know, we were pretty confident that he’s going to recover.’ You know, you could definitely see the prayer for healing was working.”

As the prayers continued, Robert was well enough to be released from the hospital to go to a rehab facility. It had been 41 days since he arrived.

Gabby says, “Just to see all of the hospital support that he had and then the friends and family that came out just to see him, it was awesome, and it was just like a miracle. I could just see the joy on his face to be leaving the hospital.”

Robert remembers, “I was just over-joyed with elation of all these many people of helped save me. It showed the power of prayer and love.”

On May 12, Robert went home. Gabby recalls, “It was great to bring him home. It was really surreal. I didn’t even want to leave his side at that point.” Robert remembers, “I wanted to hug and touch everybody.”

Today Robert is back to his active life and enjoying time with his family. The blood clots have disappeared, and he has no lingering issues from Covid-19.

Barbara says, “I know that so many people stood and prayed for him and for our family and it’s definitely given me a different outlook on life. And sometimes you might not see an instant gratification or an instant answer but if you wait and stay in the Bible and in his word then he’s faithful no matter what.”

Robert says, “Have faith. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and you too will beat more than just the Covid. You’ll beat anything else that’s coming.”

Gabby says, “No matter what the circumstance looks like and no matter how bad things get or how bad they look, that it’s nothing is too far gone for God to redeem. Nothing is too broken for God to fix. And so, continue to pray, continue to have faith and trust in His plan and in His timing and not in our own.”

https://www1.cbn.com/umpire-strikes-back-prayer