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The Urge to Pray in Urgent Times- Part Two

January 26, 2017

 By: Franklin Kirksey

Jeremiah 33:3

  1. What are you expressing to God?

Jeremiah 33:3a reads, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  Dr. Joseph Parker (1830-1902) writes, “What is this calling unto God? Is it a verbal exercise? Is it a mere act of exclamation! Nothing can be further from the meaning. It is a call that issues from the heart; it is the call of need, it is the cry of pain, it is the agony of desire, it is enclosure with God in profound and loving communion. If we have received no answers, it is because we have offered no prayers. ‘Ye have not because ye ask not or because ye ask amiss,’ you have been praying obliquely instead of directly; you have been vexing yourselves with circumlocution when your words ought to have been direct appeals, sharp, short, urgent appeals to Heaven: to such appeals God sends down richness of dew, wealth of blessing, morning brighter than noonday. God will shew His people ‘great and mighty things.’ There is nothing little. The bird in the heavens upon its trembling wing is only little to us, it is not little to God. He counts the drops of dew, He puts our tears into His bottle, He numbers our sighs, and as for our groans, He distinguishes one from the other; these are not little things to Him, they are only little to our ignorance, and folly, and superficiality. God looks at souls, faces, lives, destinies, and the least child in the world He rocks to sleep and wakes in the morning, as if He had nought else to do; it is the stoop of Fatherhood, it is the mystery of the Cross. As to these continual revelations, they ought to be possible. God is infinite and eternal, man is infinite and transient in all his earthly relationships; it would be strange if God had told man everything He has to tell him, it would be the miracle of miracles that God had exhausted Himself in one effort, it would be incredible that the eternal God had crushed into the moment which we call time every thought that makes Him God.”  Jeremiah 29:10-14 reads, “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”

Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) explains, “Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.”

Jesus said, “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, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 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 good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

1 John 5:14-15 reads, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

Psalm 116:1-2 reads, “I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.”

          2. What are you expecting from God?

Jeremiah 33:3b reads, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  Dr. Joseph Parker explains, “From a great God we ask great things, through a great sacrifice.”  Dr. William Carey (1761-1834), missionary statesman, said, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” Andrew Murray (1828-1917) said, “Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation.” Dr. Adrian Rogers said, “Pray, believe, and you’ll receive; pray in doubt, you’ll do without.”  Jesus said, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22).  

In Mark 11:24 Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  Andrew Murray explains, “That is, the gift which we first hold in faith, as bestowed upon us in heaven, will also become ours in experience.”  Andrew Murray also explains, “Between the ‘have received’ in heaven, and the ‘shall have’ of earth, ‘believe.’  Believing praise and prayer are the link.”

Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14).  Later, Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7).

James 1:5-8 reads, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” Rev. Ron Dunn (1936-2001), author of Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something: The Incredible Power of Intercessory Prayer, Don’t Just Sit There, Have Faith, and  Standing in the Gap: Praying Effectively for Others, shares the following note from a little girl: “Dear Rev. Smith: We are praying for you. We are not expecting an answer.  Without realizing it that little girl summed up the prayer life of many Christians: we are praying; we are not expecting an answer. The truth is, most of us aren’t surprised when our prayers aren’t answered – and we’re often amazed when they are. But the opposite ought to be true. God intended that our prayers be answered.”

III. What are you experiencing of God?

Jeremiah 33:3c reads, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  God can show us things that are unimaginable, unfathomable, and unknowable.  He is able!  Remember Jeremiah said to God, “You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for Your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 32:19). (Emphasis mine) Dr. Keith Leroy Brooks (1888-1954) writes, “The more literally rendering of the word ‘mighty’ is ‘fenced in things,’ the things that are humanly impossible to reach.  Those who expect to receive such blessings must continue instant in prayer; for promises are given, not to supercede prayer, but to encourage prayer.  Those who pray and take His promises for their pillow find that their Father above will do for them things which humanly they could not understand or give credit to. . . But He can not bestow His choicest gifts upon hasty comers and goers.”

Jesus said, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).  Dawson Earle Trotman (1906-1956), founder of The Navigators, described his successor, Dr. Lorne Charles Sanny (1920-2005), as “an ordinary fellow with an extraordinary God.” May it be said of us, “They are ordinary people, with an extraordinary God.”

When you need direction, the Lord says, “Call to Me.”  Remember He is “great in counsel.”  Romans 11:33-34 reads, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?’” 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 reads, “On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’ And Solomon said to God: ‘You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place.  Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?’ Then God said to Solomon: ‘Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.’”  Remember James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  Dr. William Carey explains, “Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness.”      

When you need deliverance, the Lord says, “Call to Me.” Remember He is “mighty in work.” Asaph records God’s invitation in Psalm 50:15, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”  Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) shares the following: “Thomas Brooks [1608-1680], alluding to the old classical myth of Daedalus, who, being imprisoned in the island of Crete, made wings for himself, by which he escaped to Italy, says, ‘Christians must do as Daedalus, who, when he could not escape by a way upon earth, went by a way of heaven.’ Holy prayers are the wings of the soul’s deliverance.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 reads, “‘Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.’ Amen.”

Conclusion

Dr. Henry G. Bosch (1914-1995) the founder of Our Daily Bread, shares, “A woman recounts, ‘Thirty years ago my brother built a small fire on the side of our strawstack near the barn.  My sister, sensing that this would lead to serious trouble, ran and told my mother.  She in turn summoned my father, who was working in the field.  By the time he arrived the flames were already out of control.  We all carried pail after pail of water from the tank, hoping that somehow God would stop the fire. Suddenly a strong wind came up, blowing sparks from the strawstack to a nearly stand of wheat and corn.  Soon the flames covered a large area.  Realizing that no earthly help was available, we cried to the Lord for help as we poured what little water we had left for the blaze.  We knew that only a miracle could save the farm now.  Finally in desperation we sank to our knees, and prayed as we had never prayed before, ‘O God, please stop the fire!’ Then a remarkable thing happened.  A large cloud came over, and all at once it began to pour.  In a short time everything was drenched.  Then just as suddenly, the cloudburst was over.  In surveying the situation we found that the shower was confined EXCLUSIVELY TO OUR PROPERTY, and it lasted just long enough to quench the devastating flames. Once again we knelt and thanked the Lord for His special providential help.”

Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) writes, “The tragedy of today is that the situation is desperate but the saints are not.”  Don’t resist the urge to pray in urgent times.  

The Urge to Pray in Urgent Times- Part One

January 25, 2017

By: Franklin Kirksey

Jeremiah 33:3

Introduction

Dr. T. A. Prickett, former longtime pastor of Seven Hills Baptist Church, Owensboro, Kentucky, shares, “Several years ago, during the preparation period for an area-wide evangelistic crusade, it was my privilege to be host to a man on behalf of the association who made a real impact on my life.  Brother W. R. Storie was associated with the team that was to lead the crusade.  To know him was to know of his deep and profound prayer life. Continue reading

RUSSELL MOORE AND THE SCHOOL OF ‘THE PROPHETS OF SHAME’

January 24, 2017

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Editor’s Note:  This article originally appeared at BarbWire and is used by permission of the author.

Some glaring fault lines have appeared in the conversation about Russell Moore, many of which were exposed by the recent essay in The Federalist written by one of Moore’s fans, Nathan Leamer of the R Street Institute. Since being crowned head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) in 2013, Dr. Moore has been no stranger to controversy, much of which he brings upon himself. His tendency has been to pervert the classic Christian world view and mix it with language which panders to the left while he openly admonished evangelicals to disengage the culture war as we entered the most hostile attacks in the nation’s history.

This may actually be a careful strategy that resembles the “tactics “of Moore’s most popular target and the source of his current troubles, President elect Donald Trump. Trump skillfully uses controversy to grab headlines and kept himself and his campaign on the front page. Trump is a thick skinned veteran of the New York gossip columns. Trump, therefore, plays the media as one adept with his NYC and DC survival skills. Moore may miss the goal and lack the skills to pull this off.

Dr. Moore began his reign by providing us a taste of both his winsomeness and new tone for the ERLC and evangelicals’ cultural engagement. But today for Moore, the thought of a Trump presidency seems to have caused the evaporation of his winsome veneer exposing a “Prophet of Shame.” “After Trump’s unexpected win, Moore’s pandering to the political Left seems to have gone into hyper-drive. Moore wants Christians who have supported Trump to hide their faces. Yet Trump’s clarity is appealing while Moore’s shame and double speak is divisive. Christian radio host Janet Mefferd pointed out that Trump inherited many evangelicals later in the campaign, and he was not their first choice. But Moore seems determined to let the facts escape him. Others in the SBC and conservative Evangelical circles echo the same “Blame Game” toward evangelicals who supported Trump’s campaign .Ed Stetzer implies that electing Trump has created a climate of racism for which white evangelicals must explain themselves to Christians of Color ”So, what is really going on?  What are the fault lines Moore and others are missing?

Here Are a Few:

1. Moore is attempting to rebrand the ERLC and the evangelical tone. He is speaking mostly to next generation of believers whom the Southern Baptist Convention fears losing – people like Nathan Leamer. Moore critics are not, as Leamer suggests “a small but vocal minority. They are the people who pay Moore’s salary and fund his organization.  Former Senator Mike Huckabee points out that Baptist are “paying Moore to insult them.”  Moore is failing because he is trying to pour new wine into old wine skins- (Mark 2:22 ). Both the young and old may be alienated in the end. Dr. Moore, why not start a new organization (wine skin) with the purpose of rebranding the conversation rather than confusing the present one and furthering the age divide?

2. Moore is the crown prince of evangelical contradiction. He welcomes confusing partners like LGBTQ activist who want to redefine marriage while he ignores, shuns, and shames seasoned conservatives who understand that the LGBTQ debate is merely a tool that uses the LGBT community so that progressives can redefine sexual norms and even personhood. After more than three years in Washington, D.C. does Dr. Moore understand this yet? Progressives USE minorities. They do not help them.

3. Russell Moore misidentifies his victims. When Moore insults the “Christian Right,” he is actually speaking of the Conservative Christian who craves clarity and conviction on Faith Values. He attacks these voters as if they were the machinery behind the conservative political movement. When Christian voters allow this misidentification and assault, they are thus stigmatized by the press, progressives, and the new brand of social justice Christian voter. The fact is most conservatives’ theology tends to be more compatible with social policy than is the brand of Moore and his followers. Doesn’t Russell Moore need to get his labels right before applying them?

4. Moore is attempting to build the ERLCs new foundation on the shifting sands of culture. It is not possible to maintain real integrity to our espoused theological conservatism and yet be socially pondering if not outright grasping every progressive object floating on the surface of the current cultural floodtide. Moore, if not confused himself does allow his language to confuse others. Moore embraces immigration policies, for example, that favor the lefts ideology as if he does not know of George Soros existence or has never heard of open borders. In short Moore quickly adopts talking points loaded with activist policy and expects his base to follow while he espouses faithfulness to Biblical values wrapped in this new terminology. Is this fair to expect thinking people to follow along?

5. Moore has not at all “been balanced in speaking truth to power while achieving real political victories,” as Leamer claims. Leamer fails to enumerate even one of those “victories.” Also, as he reminds us, the ERLC’s job is, in part, “to promote Religious Liberty”. By this standard alone, both Moore’s vision and the organization he inherited, are failures. There has been far greater endangerment – and loss — of religious freedom on Moore’s watch than at any other time in American history.  As to “Trump holding a Bond Reunion without him” -Russell Moore is no James Bond. He is not a man accustomed to life in the field but rather in the theological halls of learning. He also lacks a license to kill the conservative Christian base, though he does seem to be attempting to read its eulogy. Dr. Moore, what is your job in 10 words or less? Please stick to it.

In short, Moore is accountable to the base who funds him. He is accountable to the denomination under whose banner he sails and to the individual Christians and ministers who reach out to him with concern. Trump’s evangelical support was in large part, a vote against Hillary Clinton’s progressive “March to the Sea” to divide and conquer Christian values in the public square.  Moore seems to fail to get this. He continues using the wrong talking points, the wrong language, the wrong allies, and is on the wrong side of the mountains of culture. If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself to battle? (“One “Corinthians 14:8 )