Interceding Versus Criticizing

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27).

I see and hear of many churchgoers who seem to feel they have the spiritual gift of criticism. Accusing their fellow believers is pretty much a weekly event. Would it shock them to know they are doing the accuser’s “ministry”? Our job is to pray for our brothers and sisters, not to criticize them. Intercession is what Jesus is always doing. Accusation comes so easily to us. We don’t have to decide to be critical. The people around us do plenty of things that warrant criticism. We all carry around enough flaws to attract accusation. What is critical for us to see though, is that accusation is the job of Satan, not the job of the Christian. We’re called to intercede, not accuse.

Church let’s have a wwjd (what would Jesus do) moment. “Therefore, Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

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Overcoming Fear

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Isaiah 35:3-4

 One of the marks of a society that has drifted away from God is fear. We fear the violence around us. We fear uncertainty and financial turmoil. We fear the loss of values and standards of righteousness. It seems like we fear everything except God!    

 On the other hand those who are giving themselves to revival will find that fear is gradually being replaced by faith. Revivalists are people filled with encouragement. “Hold on…He’s coming to strengthen you,” are words they will share with those who have become discouraged in their walk with God. They are people that are totally aware that God does not want His people to live in fear, but in the courage that comes from His presence.

     It is not a coincidence that much of the same language we use for anticipating revival is also what we use for anticipating the Second Coming of Jesus. David Bryant has taught for years that every revival is a shadow of that ultimate great revival, which is the return of Jesus. He calls revivals, “the approximation of the consummation.” If revival means that the Lord’s people awaken to His presence, then certainly the Second Coming will be the greatest (and most permanent) of revivals. And so, we pray with Isaiah, “do not fear, your God will come.”

Truth Matters

In a conversation Jesus was having he said “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Below is an article that appeared on a National Day of Prayer post. It begins with an important question. After reading it I realized that an even more important question is where is truthfulness in the church today? Think about both questions and Jesus’ statement as you read the article.

“Where is the truthfulness in America today? The version of the truth you are presented with depends on the website you read or television network you watch. This same reality is observed on almost every political issue.

For those of us who are Christ followers, we must be very careful not to get pulled in by any of these forces. I am one hundred percent for being aware of what is happening in our world, but we need to be careful and discerning.

 WHAT TRUTHFULNESS IS NOT

  1. Truthfulness is not in the eyes of the spectator.
  2. Truthfulness is not determined by your preferred news media.
  3. Truthfulness is not discovered through the rumor mill.
  4. Truthfulness is not defined or re-defined by any politician or political party.
  5. Truthfulness is not one thing to one person and another thing to another person.
  6. Truthfulness is not fluid.
  7. Truthfulness is not human-centered.

 WHAT TRUTHFULNESS IS

  1. Truthfulness is found only in the Bible and what it says.
  2. Truthfulness is in Jesus Christ and Him alone.

ALWAYS REMEMBER

We do not determine what truth is through the lens of a political party, a news outlet, or any segment of the culture.

We do determine what is happening in the culture through the lens of the Bible and what it says.

We should always be Bible-based, Jesus-centered, and Holy Spirit-empowered people.

Anything less than this will blur our eyes to seeing the real truth about anything and it will skew our perspective.

Any time we diminish the Bible and what it says, we sit down on the slippery slide that will take us to where America is living today.”

God has a better way.

Now is the Time to Lead,

Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor,
Cross Church
President,
National Day of Prayer

 

Is Asking Enough?

“We have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:21-22).

Obedience is fundamental and essential to effectively follow Christ. Only people who obey God have the right to go into his presence with requests and expect answers. For instance, God delights in the prayers of his obedient children. When we want what God wants and live the way he likes, then we will tend to pray prayers that God will answer in the way we expect. God, in answering our prayers, is supporting what he approves. Were God to answer the prayers of the disobedient, he would be aiding and abetting what he does not approve. That would be out of character for God. To put it in other words, if we expect God to do for us what we ask, we should be prepared to do for God what he asks. If we listen to his words of command, God will listen to our words of request.

This principle also explains much of the weakness of prayer. Lack of power, lack of perseverance, and lack of confidence in prayer all stem from some lack in the Christian life. Often when followers fail and receive no answers, we assume the problem is in God while the problem really is in us.

So, church remember that it’s not enough to want answers _ it is essential that we follow Jesus and not only listen but also do what pleases and honors His great name _ the name that is above every name.

Unity

If there was ever a promise worth claiming, it’s the one Peter shared in his second letter. “God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness…” (2 Peter 1:3) I love the way Peter puts it. He says that that the gift is already there _ ours for the taking.

Paul shares something we all need. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6). Because of our love for God and our desire to see His kingdom advance, we must passionately pursue unity in our walk with Christ as well as Christ followers.

Unity is great but how can we get it? Well, the testimony of many Christ followers around the world is that prayer has brought them into a greater unity with both God and other believers than they ever thought possible.

It begins by simply asking the Lord to give you a desire for unity.  But it will not end there.  He will hear and answer your prayer.  Opportunities will begin to appear for you to pray with other Christians.  It requires no compromise on doctrinal issues to pray with someone else.

Let God be God!  Seek unity and see what God will do in, with, and through you.

What Can We Do?

Yesterday in our community group gathering we were discussing how to be more missional. Someone mentioned that they were really concerned with the conditions in and around us. Not the roads or anything like that but all the crime like murders and robberies and so forth.

We wondered what we could do to make a difference. This morning I was looking back at a morning devotion from 2013 that I received from Harvest Prayer Ministries and there it was, a starting point for something we can all do. So, here you go if you happen to be wondering the same thing about your community.

I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night” (Isaiah 62:6a).

What do watchmen do?
•    They are to watch and pray.
•    They are to be on guard constantly and so provide protection. “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin” (Lamentations 2:19).
•    They are to listen. Jeremiah 6:17 says, “I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet.’”
•    They are to warn. “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me” (Ezekiel 3:17).
•    They are to call on the Lord. “I have posted watchmen on your walls. . . . You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest” (Isaiah 62:6).

God has called His people to be watchmen. We are not to be passive observers or victims in the war against terror. We are to watch and pray.

–Taken from Prayer and the End of Days (Praying God’s Purposes in Troubled Times) by David Butts.

So, church let’s partner in the ministry of being watchmen and then pay attention to opportunities to the things God places in our paths to make a huge impact and all for the honor, praise and glory of our victorious Lord and Savior Jesus.

It’s Labor Day. And…

“We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit…” (1 Thessalonians 1:1-5)