Is it Raining?

Psalm 37:23-24 – “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”

This past Sunday morning, I was heading out the door to church and I heard a loud sound outside.  What is that I thought? It sounds like rain, but I had just checked the weather and there was only a 20% chance of rain that day and it said at 9am that chance was actually 0%.  I looked outside and sure enough we were receiving all 0% chance and more.  It was absolutely pouring down.  I thought to myself all of these computer weather programs and sophisticated radar, and all of that and it’s still hard to get the weather right.  They said 0% and we got 100%.  They said one thing and it did another.

That is a whole like the promises of the world in regards to sin.  It won’t hurt you.  No one will know.  It’s your life live it how you want.  No one can judge you, and on and on and on.  The problem with this is the world says one thing, but truth is something else entirely.  Sin does hurt you, sin does find you out.  It is your life, but you were created by God, and He died to redeem you, and one day we will all face judgment.  The world says one thing but truth is another.

I saw that very vividly last night.  A few weeks ago, some videos were released in which Planned Parenthood representatives are caught on video discussing the selling of the body parts of aborted children.  Because of these videos there has been an awakening about the horrors of abortion and the abortion industry.  So in at attempt to turn society’s favor back towards abortion, someone came up with a twitter campaign called #shoutyourabortion.  It is a way of telling the world that you had an abortion, that you are glad you did, and that you would do it again.  One lady wrote, “I’m glad I did it, I would do it again because my life, my desires, and my career matter more than a zygote or an embryo or a fetus.”  Talk about cold, and about glorifying selfishness.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading, in fact it was painful and disturbing.  She had bought into the lies of the world.  The world says this…….but truth is radically different.

Truth says that it really is a child.  I was adopted at 10 days old and I’m certainly thankful that I wasn’t aborted.  Truth says all sin is wrong, including my sins.  But then truth triumphantly says, there is a way to be forgiven of your sins, regardless of what they are.  That is what David says in Psalm 37, “though he fall”, in other words though  I sin and make mistakes (David, the author of Psalm 37 was responsible for murder and he committed adultery), God is faithful to forgive me of my sins.  I may fall, but “I will not be cast headlong.”  What David is saying is God will not condemn my to judgment and to hell.  Yes, sin has consequences, and yes we should stay away from sin (all sin),  but fortunately when we do sin, we have a God who loves us and forgives us when we cry out to Him.

The world says there is no such thing as sin, truth says “sin destroys.”  The world says, “there is no God and if there is He doesn’t care about your life.”  Truth says, “there is a God and He loves you so much that He went to the cross in your place.” The world says celebrate your sin, truth says run to Jesus and receive forgiveness for your sins, and then turn from those sins and let your “delight be in the way of God.”  For if you do God will transform you and uphold you with His hand.

The world may say its not raining, but truth says its going to rain.  Its either going to rain God’s wrath or God’s mercy,  which one will you choose?

An Eye Opening Contrast

An Eye Opening Contrast

 

1 Corinthians 1:9 – “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship o f His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it.”

God’s word gives us quite a contrast here, God is faithful, but the heart of man is deceitful and sick.  In fact humanity’s heart is desperately sick.  Most likely we know that last part don’t we? We know it because of what we see on the evening news.  Murders, rapes, betrayals,……the human heart is desperately sick.

We see that on the news, and we know that it is true.  We see how “other” people act and we know that it is true, and if we take time to slow down and be honest we see that it is true in our own lives as well.  We do things out of selfish ambition and desire.  We do things knowing that we shouldn’t do them.  We do things looking out for “number 1”.  And sometimes we even do good things with bad motives.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick….”

Contrast that with what Paul tells us about God, “God is faithful…”.  Humanity’s hearts are sick and deceitful.  Humanity’s hearts are focused on self, but God, the creator of this universe is concerned about us, and He is faithful to us.  He is faithful to listen to us, He is faithful to care for us, and He is faithful to rescue us.  He loves us that much.

What the Scripture is telling us is that our hearts are sick and need a Savior and God is faithful to save.  Jesus Himself said, “it isn’t those who are well that need a doctor but those who are sick.”  Our hearts are sick (He probably had that verse in mind when He made that statement), and they need healing.  The good news Paul says is that God is faithful and able to heal.  He is able to heal our sin sick hearts.  Isaiah says in Isaiah 53:5, “by His stripes we are healed.”  Jesus is able to heal our hearts because of what He did for us on the cross.  On that cross He took our place.  As Charles Spurgeon said, “when I think about the Gospel, I think about the word substitution.”  Jesus took our place on the cross, He took our sins upon Himself, and He took our punishment.  Then Jesus gave us His righteousness.  In other words He forgave us our sins, He took our sins away and in doing so He healed our hearts.  That is the grace of God and Paul says He is faithful in that grace at all times.

We cannot save ourselves, but God is faithful.  People will let us down, but God is faithful.  Times will get hard, but God is faithful.  The world is a difficult place, but God is faithful.  He gives strength, He gives grace, and most of all He heals our hearts.  To God be the glory!

Five Life Changing, Future Transforming Prayers to Pray for Children

Life Changing, Future Changing Prayers to Pray for Children

 

Charles Spurgeon once said concerning prayer, “prayer pulls the rope below, and the great bell rings above in the ears of God.  Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give but an occasional pluck at the rope; but he who wins with heaven in the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously with all his might.”  If that is true, and Scripture says it is (see James 5:16) then you have to ask the question why don’t we as followers of Christ pray?  Why don’t we pray for our churches, our missionaries, our children, our spouses, our leaders (Scripture tells us too)?  There are all kinds of answers to the question, but one of them is perhaps we don’t know how to pray.

Last Friday was the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and it was a day that our nation was on high alert.  The night before around 9:30 I received an email from the superintendent of the school system where my children attend and where my wife is employed, it stated that “they (the system) was aware of the internet threats and that the police were stepping up patrol to ensure that the schools would be safe.”  Needless to say I was extremely concerned, so I did some research and discovered that apparently there was a social media post about killing chidren in Kingsport on September 11th.  I knew what to pray that night didn’t I? So guess what I did, I prayed and then I prayed some more for their safety and for wisdom for all the people associated with the school system.  This is an obvious prayer that we should be praying everyday.

Have you ever wondered what else you should pray for children?  A few weeks ago before school started back our church did a prayer focus, in which we took a name or two names of the children of our church and committed to pray for them.  It is a wonderful idea and a chance to “pull the rope” as Spurgeon would say.  It is a chance to bless children and families with the power and grace of God.  But the question has been asked, what do we pray?  Certainly we pray for safety, but what else do we pray for those children? What should we pray for other children that are a part of our lives?  Scripture gives us the answer in the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 1:7 says, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,….”  So what do we pray in response to that? We pray that the children (and ourselves for that matter) would have a healthy fear of the Lord.  That they would understand His power.  That they would know that God is sovereign and that they would have a healthy respect and awe for Him.  It is praying for the salvation of those children, that they would know God and respect Him and fear Him.  That they would “stand in awe” of Him.  When we pray this we are also praying that they will be different than the world because in reality our world has no respect for God at all.  Not too long ago I purchased for my boys a tube of toothpaste that they could decorate with stickers and personalize it and make it their own.  One of those stickers said “omg”, which by the way doesn’t stand for “oh my goodness”.  There is no respect for God at all.  So we pray that they would have “a fear of the Lord”, which is the beginning of wisdom.  And that they would grow in that wisdom, James 1:5 says, “if any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God for it and He will give it to you.”

What else should we pray? Proverbs 1:8 says, “hear my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teachings.”  We pray that the children would have Godly parents who teach them in the ways of God.  Of course if we are the parents then we are praying that we ourselves would live Godly lives and that we would care enough about God and about our children to teach them the things of God.  We teach children a lot of things, I love teaching my boys about soccer and about football.  I enjoy teaching them about multiplication and about Star Wars, but in reality the only things that I teach them that really matter is the things of God.  I need to be teaching my children about Jesus, and living a Godly life in their presence so that I am teaching them by example.

We pray for those things and we pray that they would listen and that what we are teaching them would take root in their lives.  The good thing about the word of God is this, when we teach it to our children it DOES take root in their lives for God says, “my word will not return void but it will accomplish its purpose.”

What else do we pray? Proverbs 1:10 says, “my son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”  We pray that the children would stay away from the sins of the world.  That they wouldn’t be lured in by worldliness and peer pressure but that they would stand strong even in the face of temptation.  Jesus taught us to pray this same thing in the Lord’s prayer didn’t He? “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  We pray the same thing for our children, for other children and in reality we should be praying this for ourselves as well.

What else do we pray? Proverbs 13:20 says, “whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”  We need to also pray that our children would have good, Godly friends and that they would be good, Godly friends.  Growing up I can remember my mom saying to me when I asked to go to someone’s house after school, “no because every time you are around them you end up acting just like them.” (I imagine their mom said the very same thing about me, but that’s another story).  The principle is true isn’t it? We do become like what we are around, so we need to pray that our children will have good, Godly friends and that one day they would have a good, Godly spouse.  Again our prayers move the hand of God, so think about how important this truly is.

What else do we pray? Proverbs 3:27 says, “do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”  We need to pray that our children would love with the love of Christ, and that they would do good when they are able.  After all the Bible says, “God has good works prepared in advance for us to do” and that as the world sees those good works, “it will glorify our Father in heaven”.  We need to be praying that they would be people of love and the only way that they can do that is through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

A couple of months ago my middle son fell, hit his head and had a short seizure.  He has had seizures in the past but I could tell that this one was different and it was terrifying.  As I rushed to his side and realized what was going on, I knew that I was absolutely powerless to do anything but watch.  There was nothing I could do to bring him out of the seizure, it was a desperate time and in my desperation I prayed.  We live in desperate times today, we can make a difference, but the greatest way we can make a difference is to pray.  So take time to pray for the children in your life, realizing the desperateness of the times, but also knowing in faith that God is in control and because of that trusting Him as you pray.

Pray for:

  1. A fear of the Lord (that they would know Jesus as Savior and Lord)
  2. Godly parents and listening hearts
  3. Strength to stand against sin and worldliness
  4. Good Godly friends and spouses, and that they would be good Godly people
  5. That they would love with the love of Jesus.