Continuing Prayer

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:2-4 (KJB)

The Apostle has just dealt with Christians who have in their employment people of lesser wealth. Masters were to treat their servants or employees rightly (Colossians 3:22-4:1).  The verses above could also be  Paul’s words for them; but even the words of Paul in the previous chapter are words for Christians in every age.

What was the Apostle encouraging the saints at Colossae to do?  To continue in prayer.  The request was for Paul to have an open opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that all about Jesus would be revealed as the word went forth.

How we need that continuing prayer today.

As I read these words this morning I got to wondering about the phrase the apostle Paul used “Pray without ceasing”.  Is there any difference between “Continue in prayer” and “Pray without ceasing”?

I found this note from the Matthew Henry Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing…

Note, The way to rejoice evermore is to pray without ceasing. We should rejoice more if we prayed more. We should keep up stated times for prayer, and continue instant in prayer. We should pray always, and not faint: pray without weariness, and continue in prayer, till we come to that world where prayer shall be swallowed up in praise. The meaning is not that men should do nothing but pray, but that nothing else we do should hinder prayer in its proper season. Prayer will help forward and not hinder all other lawful business, and every good work.

Pray for those who are standing in the place of sharing, of preaching the gospel of Christ. Pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, for an open door of opportunity, and His work in revealing the word of God to the hearers.

In Jesus Christ alone is there honest sincere prayer heard by the throne of God; and that through the blood of Christ shed at Calvary’s cross, His burial, and resurrection.

While in Thought the Fire Burned

“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, ‘LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.  Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.’ Selah.”  Psalm 39:1-5  (KJB)

The Psalmist, the singer, was refusing to speak and be silent.  While he is being silent his thoughts rage, the fire burns as he continues to add fuel to that fire.

I have been there.  I am fairly certain that all who are reading this has been in that place where you bridle your tongue, and wisely so, but the anger, the hurt continues to rage in your thoughts.  What do we do with that?

David realized he had a problem.  He took it to the LORD.  So must we take it to Him.

Going to God in prayer is the best place to vent, to complain about that man or woman or situation that has caused our thoughts to roar at us; rousing anger, rage, and maybe even bits of hatred.

I was asked not too long ago, ‘Don’t you ever get angry?’  My answer to that was, “Yes!”  If it is not seen by others there must be something going on. One of at least two things: 1.  I am just covering it and building a fire in me making me even angrier; or 2.  I have taken the rage, anger, and hatred to the throne of God.

The first can be dangerous.  The second is the way of the faithful Christian. When we take our complaints to the Lord, then we will have less of a problem getting along with others.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to deliver us from our sins.  He was buried to carry away our sins and shame.  He arose from the grave the victor over sin, death, and hell.  He is coming again.  Do you know Him?

Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 4

Truth in Palmyra

1 Kings 17:17,18

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

 This may very be a real “Say what?” moment. Things have been tough on both Elijah the Prophet and the widow woman he has been living with. Elijah has spent a year camped out by a brook, alone save for a providing bird. The woman had been living alone with her son, watching the land grow dry and her food run out. Then Elijah had come along and things may have seemed to be looking up.

The woman’s son…

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Reminding the Brethren

“Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
If you put the brethren in remembrance of these things, you shall be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, which you have attained.  But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself unto godliness.  For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.  These things command and teach.  Let no man despise your youth; but you be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.  Meditate upon these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all.  Take heed unto yourself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and them that hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:1-16  (KJB)

REFERENCES: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 14; Daniel 11:35; John 16:13; Matthew 7:15; Romans 14:14, 20; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 8:8; 10:25; Ephesians 4:19; 5:23; Psalm 26:6; Acts 6:6

God Answers Prayer

“And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, ‘Lord, Thou God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said, ‘Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ.’ For of a truth against Thy holy Child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word, by stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy Child Jesus.’
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:23-31  (KJB)

Jesus’s Prayer – Not of the World

“I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14  (KJB)

The following was first posted on July 26, 2010.  You may follow this link to study chapter 17 of the Gospel of John.

It is important for us to realize that His Word has been given us for a reason.  It has been entrusted to us not for secrecy, secret interpretations, or secret organizations.  It has been given us to take into all the world.  Even though the follower of Jesus is hated by the world, we are called to live in the world, and show forth the glory of Jesus Christ.

We show forth His glory by showing forth the power of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus to change our lives.  What has Christ Jesus wrought in you?  If you have been saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, then He has given you a New Life; you have been born again.  You have been born into His kingdom; which is an everlasting kingdom which shall never perish.

The world is that which is perishing.  The ones who are fearful and unbelieving.  The ones who hate God and all that is godly.  Yet, the Word is given to us to share with the world.  We have been called out from the world of the flesh and the devil.  We are called to live in the world, but not to be of it.

“Come out from among them and be ye separate”  (2 Corinthians 6:17) is not a command to have nothing to do with the people of the world, but rather to not have anything to do with their ways of worship; their gods.  We are to show forth only the glory of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.  The only way we do that is going about our daily lives in the presence of the world; loving God, one another and those who are dying in this world.

Rise and Pray

“And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to His disciples, He found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, ‘Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.’” Luke 22:45-46 (KJB)

“And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly…” says verse 44.  He was in agony because of what lay before Him.  His flesh was growing weak because of the agony.  He longed with all His heart to fulfill the task which lay before Him, and He prayed.

The disciples were sleeping, due to sorrow, yet needed to pray.  Peter needed to pray for strength in what lay ahead for him in a few short hours; for then he would deny he even knew Jesus.  He needed to pray, rather than sleep.

It is with all sincerity I say this,  I do not believe that any human being has experienced the agony equal to that Jesus was suffering on the Mount of Olives that night.  We could not have born that sorrow, that agony.  I too would probably just go to sleep.

O how I need to pray.  We need to be in agony for our lost, condemned, and dying neighbors.  Are we willing to pray for them?  Are we willing to do what it takes to see that they hear the message of Jesus Christ; that He died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again?  Are we willing to share with others what He has done and is doing for us?

Let us rise from our stupor of sleep, and pray.

As You Are Praying

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
 Matthew 7:7-12  (KJB)

As you are asking, seeking, and knocking in prayer remember to also pray for your neighbors, your friends, your family, and yes, your enemies too; just as you are asking, seeking, and knocking good things for yourself.  Do the same for others.

Now I share the commentary of the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 12…

Therefore — to say all in one word.

all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them — the same thing and in the same way.

for this is the law and the prophets — “This is the substance of all relative duty; all Scripture in a nutshell.” Incomparable summary! How well called “the royal law!” (Jas_2:8; compare Rom_13:9). It is true that similar maxims are found floating in the writings of the cultivated Greeks and Romans, and naturally enough in the Rabbinical writings. But so expressed as it is here – in immediate connection with, and as the sum of such duties as has been just enjoined, and such principles as had been before taught – it is to be found nowhere else. And the best commentary upon this fact is, that never till our Lord came down thus to teach did men effectually and widely exemplify it in their practice. The precise sense of the maxim is best referred to common sense. It is not, of course, what – in our wayward, capricious, gasping moods – we should wish that men would do to us, that we are to hold ourselves bound to do to them; but only what – in the exercise of an impartial judgment, and putting ourselves in their place – we consider it reasonable that they should do to us, that we are to do to them.” From JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

Only doable by giving oneself to the crucified, buried, and risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

7 Lessons When Prayer Seems Unanswered

The Fight of Faith

Sovereign Lord, what I most desired you have denied, yet I praise you! On what account, I know not, yet I praise you. You have done it; that silences me. Your will makes it indisputable, and renders it my indispensable duty to your wise determinations. Hitherto I have had no complaint on the conduct of providence; nor shall I complain until all the mazes are explained. Do, then, all your counsel, though all my counsels should come to nothing. Can a person expect favors from God–who will not wait for God’s way and time?

But what does it matter how the affairs of a present world go, if the interests of the next world are secured? The weather-vane is whirled about with every blast, but the iron spire is still at rest, because it cannot be displaced. So, what does it matter though the outward man decays–if the inner man…

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In a Solitary Place; There He Prayed

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after Him. And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, ‘All men seek for Thee.’ And He said unto them, ‘Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.’ And He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” Mark 1:35-39  (KJB)

O, how Jesus longed to fulfill His Father’s will.  Jesus knew it involved much committed time with Him in prayer.  My how I fall so short on committed time to prayer.  I do try to stay in touch with God through my day, but I lack power with Him; at least it seems so with me.  Lord help me with my praying.  I need You in my life in power and glory.  I am weak, but you are Mighty.

The following is from the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse 35 of Mark 1…

And in the morning — that is, of the day after this remarkable sabbath; or, on the first day of the week. His choosing this day to inaugurate a new and glorious stage of His public work, should be noted by the reader.
rising up a great while before day — “while it was yet night,” or long before daybreak.
he went out — all unperceived from Peter’s house, where He slept.
and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed — or, “continued in prayer.” He was about to begin His first preaching and healing circuit; and as on similar solemn occasions (Luk_5:16; Luk_6:12; Luk_9:18, Luk_9:28, Luk_9:29; Mar_6:46), He spent some time in special prayer, doubtless with a view to it. What would one not give to have been, during the stillness of those grey morning hours, within hearing – not of His “strong crying and tears,” for He had scarce arrived at the stage for that – but of His calm, exalted anticipations of the work which lay immediately before Him, and the outpourings of His soul about it into the bosom of Him that sent Him! He had doubtless enjoyed some uninterrupted hours of such communings with His heavenly Father ere His friends from Capernaum arrived in search of Him. As for them, they doubtless expected, after such a day of miracles, that the next day would witness similar manifestations. When morning came, Peter, loath to break in upon the repose of his glorious Guest, would await His appearance beyond the usual hour; but at length, wondering at the stillness, and gently coming to see where the Lord lay, he finds it – like the sepulchre afterwards – empty! Speedily a party is made up to go in search of Him, Peter naturally leading the way.” JAMIESON, FAUSSET, AND BROWN COMMENTARY

A S K

Ask, Seek, and Knock

Matthew 7:7-29

Though Jesus has taught us not to “Judge…lest ye be judged”; He has also given us commandment to make certain judgments. That can be seen in these things we will look at now. Jesus teaches us to Ask, Seek, and Knock. Could it be that the power of A.S.K. is that it is the mortar of God that holds the building stones (1 Peter 2:5) of the kingdom together, and keeps us strong in Him? We may know the answer to that question when we see Him face to face.

ASK, SEEK, AND KNOCK IN PRAYER (vv. 7-12).

* The first thing the Kingdom dweller must do is ASK;

+ for wisdom, knowledge, righteousnss, for making right judgments.
+ Ask for the glory of the Lord in all things.
+ Ask for His glory in your own life.

* The second thing the Kingdom dweller ASK in Seeking is to do it diligently, frequently, hopefully,

+ and once again; what ever we are seeking that we may glorify the Lord.
+ Also Seeking that others may enter through the right gate.

* The final thing in the ASK acrostic is in Knocking.

+ Be consistent, persistent, victorious, and again for the glory of the Lord.
+ Don’t give up on praying to fill the glory of the Lord.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (v.12). The “Law and the prophets” has to do with the whole of the Word of God.

PEOPLE MUST BE SURE TO SEEK TO ENTER THE RIGHT GATE (vv. 13-14).

* Jesus tells us to enter the “strait gate” or “narrow gate”.

+ This thought gives us a picture of a path that is also narrow.
+ This gate is seen as narrow, rough, rocky, and often dangerous according to the flesh.

* The other gate is wide and broad, and this is the journey which all of us are on until we heed the call through the “Narrow gate”.

+ The broad gate leading to destruction is the one of popularity.
+ You go along to get along. There is tolerance. There is political correctness. There you can be and are expected to be Socially Progressive.
+ It is the gate of the masses. It flows with ease; everyone is going the same direction.

* The “Narrow gate” is one which only very few enter.

+ This gate has a high price to enter it.
+ It requires righteousness. A righteousness that is far greater than any of our own – any greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees

“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Phraisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:20 (NKJV).

We must conclude also that there are two groups of people represented here. Quoting John MacArthur, “The many will include pagans and nominal Christians, atheist and religionists, theists and humanists, Jews and Gentiles — every person from whatever age, background, persuasion, and circumstance who has not come to saving obedience to Jesus Christ.” MATTHEW, Vol. 1, p. 457 of THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY.

* The few is not few because there is no room.

+ Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection has provided room for all who will believe.
+ However, you come in through the gate at the price He paid, not yours or mine.
+ The room God provides is boundless.

WITH PERSISTENCE, BEING CONSISTENT, AND IN THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS AND RESURRECTION GIVE GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST (vv. 15-20).

* By our looking at verse 15 it seems we are required to make judgments by action, words spoken, and behavior.

+ A “False prophet” is to be identified as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
+ How does one discern a false prophet? By the words they speak and the lives they live.

“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst” Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (NKJV).

“And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken? — when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (NKJV).

* Usually, false teachers/prophets like having a large following.

+ They are dependent upon the applause and accolades of the people.
+ The true prophet of God proclaims the Word of the Lord, and is not motivated by men, money, or mention.

* One of the fruits of a true prophet of God is his faithfulness to the Word of God.

+ The prophet of God will preach the Word of God even while he is being stoned, and hated and despised.
+ The prophet of God will preach even when it seems no one is listening, or seems that no one cares.

* The fruits give the verdict. The fruits of the true prophet of God will be that those who hear the Word of the Lord through him will be on their face before God, seeking righteousness, holiness, and the face of God.
* In fact, the fruits of the prophet of God may not be seen immediately; they may come after the prophet is dead.

THE FINAL JUDGEMENT IN IN THE HANDS OF THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE (vv. 21-23).

* Many of the false prophets and teachers are those who are relying upon their “good deeds” to get them into presence and pleasure of God.

+ They believe that by their many deeds they surely will be allowed into God’s house.
+ They have afterall healed the sick, cast out devils, and preached in His name; why shouldn’t God allow them in?

* The reason they will not get in is because they are not known by the Savior.
* They are in fact self-deceived people.

+ Because of a “Prayer of decision”, led by someone else, and false assurances given from men, and not from the Word of God they go from the church “altar” thinking all is well and there has never been any change made in their lives toward God, grace, and salvation.
+ They fail to examine their own lives –

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV).

* The Righteous Judge: who is Jesus Himself will say to those who do not know Him and are not known by Him; “I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity”.

+ Notice, that He attributes what they have deemed as good works, as iniquity.

THE JUDGMENT THAT STANDS WILL BE THAT WHICH IS BUILT UPON THE ROCK AND THE STONES ERECTED THROUGH THE MORTAR OF ASKING, SEEKING AND KNOCKING (vv. 24-29).

* The foundation is one of obedience.

+ Is it required that a follower of Jesus be obedient?
+ Should a child be obedient to their parents? Obedience is as a child to a parent or master who has our best interest at His heart.

* It has a foundation which is built upon the Rock.

+ This rock will never fall, nor will the foundation that is built upon this Rock.
+ The Rock of Jesus Christ will never fall nor fail, but shall abide forever, “…And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18.

* Jesus Christ Himself is the Rock, and we must trust Him to be our Rock of security, strength, and power.

+ He is our authority.
+ The people who heard this Sermon on the Mount realized His authority.

“He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes”.

+ He is the authority, and anyone who detracts from Him is a liar and a deceiver.
+ His judgment and the judgment of His Word will stand forever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Christian Disciplines

Kingdom Character/Disciplines

Matthew 6:1-18

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE WITH CAUTION (vv. 1-4).

* Jesus’s first words in the first verse is “Take heed”, so there is caution needed in giving.
* Caution means giving without calling attention to your act.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO PRAYING WISELY (vv. 5-13).

* The hypocrites, to whom Jesus refers, probably spent no time praying in private, unless it was to build their praying vocabulary, and prowess in expressing the words they would pray in public.
* How the Kingdom Christian should pray –

+ When you pray Praise and Glorify the Father – Recognize Him for who He is; Holy, Righteous, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Sovereign, LORD of hosts, etc…;
+ For His will in your life as though you were in Heaven;
+ When you pray be sure that it is His will that you request most earnestly;
+ Request from Him what you need for the day – not wants and desires – your needs for the day;
+ Asks for forgiveness of your sins and transgressions against God and those you may have committed against your fellow man;
+ Asks for the power of the Word of God in your life to be delivered from evil;
+ As you are ending the time with the Lord end with recognition of His sovereignty, power, His kingdom, recognizing that His Kingdom is forever.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FORGIVING THOSE WHO ARE INDEBTED TO US (vv. 14-15).

* The Christian of all people should know how to forgive – We have been forgiven much.
* Lack of forgiveness can hinder our prayers, and rob us of peace.
* All Christians have been forgiven by God’s grace, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FASTING WITH JOY (vv. 16-18).

* Just as in their praying, so also in their times of fasting they begged the attention of men.

* Fasting is right and good when it is done with the right motive.

+ To seek God’s will in times of uncertainty.

+ To seek God for personal renewing, revival, and church renewal and revival; National renewal and revival.

+ To seek God for strength for going through a difficult time.

* Fasting is a means of disciplining the appetites of the body.

* Overcoming hypocrisy in fasting -+ Be honest with God in your secret life;

+ Fast seeking God with all your heart;

+ Pray from your heart, not form;

+ Fast secretly;
+ Please God alone.

* The purpose of fasting and prayer is to glorify the Lord, and then it matters not whether you get what you asked for yourself.

For the Kingdom Christian Giving, Praying and Fasting is so that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus our Lord and Savior. All world religions have these as religious disciplines for the gaining of their salvation, or earning favor with their deity; whoever that may be. These become the Character of the true Believer of Christ – the true Christian.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Constant Praying

Constant Prayer

Colossians 4:2-4

Paul writes about prayer. He encourages much concerning the matter of prayer. Prayer is an important part of a Christian’s life, growth, and living. The Word of God is our food source, and we need to pray for our understanding and enlightenment, and to know how to apply it to our lives. Prayer is our communication with God, while the study and reading of God’s Word is His communication with us.

Proposed OUTLINE –

I. THE TIME FOR PRAYER IS NEVER SET; IT IS FOR ALL PLACES, ALL TIMES AND FOR ALL CHRISTIANS (v. 2).
II. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE IN PRAYER, AWAKE, WATCHFUL, AND AWARE (v. 2).
III. THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYER SHOULD BE THAT OF THANKFULNESS (v.2).
IV. PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT THE TASK OF PRESENTING/PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND THE WORD (v. 3).
V. PRAYER FOR THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 3-4).

In Arabian folklore we have the story of Aladdin. Within the story is a Genie in a bottle. The one who finds the bottle and releases the Genie gets wishes. It should be a fearful thing for Christians to view the communication of prayer with God as something similar to the Genie in a bottle. We do not go to Him and request whatsoever is according to selfish human desire.

In the writing of this, and preparing to deliver it as a message makes me so aware of a lack of knowledge concerning prayer. I fall so short when it comes to prayer. There are times when in my private time with the Lord, I can hardly utter a word. Many times what I pray seems so trite, and unimportant when compared to God’s Word. Yet, in God’s Word we are told to pray. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17); Pray, “For kings, and for all that are in authority…” (1 Timothy 2:2); Jesus said, “…Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1); When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane He said, “Pray that ye enter not into temptation” (Luke 22:40), and He also said, “Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Luke 22:46). That is enough to let us know the importance of prayer and praying.

When it comes to praying; it is not about getting what we want, as much as it is about giving glory to the Lord, and knowing His will for our life and living. Jesus did say,

“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).

What does the Christian, the follower of Jesus Christ desire? To know God, grow to be more like Jesus, for the glory of the Lord in our life. If you have seen prayer as a means of getting your feeble wishes granted then, you have fallen into the trap of “thorns and thistles”, and they will smother you out.

I. THE TIME FOR PRAYER IS NEVER SET; IT IS FOR ALL PLACES, ALL TIMES AND FOR ALL CHRISTIANS (v. 2).

There is no set time for prayer. You can pray at a planned time or event. You can pray when there is no planned event. You can pray when you feel like it, and when you do not feel like it. It seems that some of the best praying is done when we have fallen to our lowest level. When things seem to have fallen apart, then we get serious about praying. Is that what our Lord had in mind when He said, “Men ought always to pray…”. Is that what Paul meant when he wrote to the people of Thessolonica, “Pray without ceasing”?

II. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE IN PRAYER, AWAKE, WATCHFUL, AND AWARE (v. 2).

As we look around at events and happenings in our world we see an urgent need, a cry of sorts, a pleading to be in earnest prayer. A thought just occurred to me that the word “Earnest” means a ‘down payment’ in the book of Ephesians,

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” Eph. 1:13-14.

The thought I am seeing is; Prayer that pays the price to see the requested thing accomplished. That simply means a sacrifice in time on the knees seeking God’s face and His will in all circumstances, and situations.

This prayer must be one asked for while fully aware, awake, and watching faithfully to protect, keep that very thing with which we have been blessed. It also means doing those same things for the souls of others. We have an enemy who wants, even desires ravenously to devour us. We are called to vigilant, diligent, earnest prayer. Prayer that sees God’s will is done, and He is gloriously magnified.

III. THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYER SHOULD BE THAT OF THANKFULNESS (v.2).

Christians should be the most happy and joyous people walking on this planet. Yet, far too many times there are hearts, and lips of complaint rather than thanksgiving. When we are praying we should be especially thankful to our Lord for the many blessings he has given us. One of the things we should thank Him for daily is life, because He can take it from us without a moments notice. Have you ever thanked God for each breath of air? What about each step you take?

Let’s look at this “Thanksgiving” thing from another angle. Do you thank Him for the answers to your prayers? And, even before they are answered, as far as you can tell? Can you, and will you thank Him when He gives no answer, at least immediately? Sometimes it is just plain tough to be thankful. What if God gives you the answer of “NO!”? Will you be thankful for a “NO!” answer? You could be if you knew that God had your best interests at the center of His heart, and that what you had requested might cause you irreparable harm, physically, spiritually, mentally, or whatever other way there is.

The apostle Paul wrote,

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” 1 Thes. 5:18.

IV. PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT THE TASK OF PRESENTING/PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND THE WORD (v. 3).

Those who proclaim the Word of God and the Gospel are in constant need of the prayers of the people. That is because the adversary the devil is not pleased with the Gospel and the Word going forth as God has commanded. He does not want God’s Word accomplishing what He pleases, ie. what God pleases. God’s Word will not return to God void – without accomplishing God’s purposes. It must be presented though.

The devil can throw a kink into its presentation by questioning in the mind or minds of recipients of the Word. Remember Eve, and the serpents question to her. “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The serpent is a real liar, deceiver, con-artist, and the father of all such.

Paul request prayer for his ministry of proclaiming the gospel to all who would hear, and as many as would hear. Notice the things for which he asks: 1) for open doors (opportunities) for preaching the Gospel; 2) to be able to proclaim the message of Christ which at one time was a mystery, but has now been revealed; and 3) that he would be able to explain it so as to have it revealed more readily by the power of the Spirit. We do not need to make the Gospel difficult, but make it as clear as possible that the Spirit would work in power without any baggage

V. PRAYER FOR THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 3-4).

There is power in the Word of God. When there is enlightenment by the Spirit of God the Word of God changes lives. We must pray for the ministry of the Word to have as much an impact on individual lives as there could possibly be. How big is God? He is bigger than all that is. The Lord asked Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14).

Jesus, in His prayer for His disciples, prayed, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth” John 17:17. When people are praying for the Word of God to go forth in power, there will be power in the pulpit, power in the pew, power in the home, power on the road, power in the homes of the neighbors where the Word is proclaimed, power in the schools, power in government – Local, State, and Federal, and around the world. Of course, that is the ideal situation.

Too many times we pray for a sign miracle, ie. healing, a need met immediately or almost immediately met, or money to fall into our laps. Pray for the ministry of God’s Word. Pray that it will first and foremost have an impact in your own life, then, in the lives of your family members, neighbors, work associates, friends, and such.

Do you have a backsliding or backslidden brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or enemy? Pray for their renewing. You know their problem, most likely, mention it when you pray to the Lord. Do you have a lost brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or enemy? Pray that God would convict them of sin, make them miserable in their sin, then, ask the Lord to show them Jesus dying for their sins on the cross.

Pray that your pastor, and all those who proclaim the Word of God may do it clearly with understanding, with power of the Spirit, and with boldness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ready to Preach the Gospel

Romans 1:8 – 15

Praying for others is an expression of concern for them, and of trusting them to His care. It is first of all, for God’s guidance, providence, and personal spiritual growth. Secondly, that their witness [ good witness] may be seen and spoken of by all.

Prayer lets others know you are praying for them. We encourage others in the faith for the believer, and lets the lost know you are concerned for their eternal well being. It bonds the people with one another and to the one praying for them. In the Latter (above): it give strength for greater service.

In prayer we accept God’s grace toward all (v. 12). Our faith is mutual – no one is greater than the other. The faith that saves me is the faith that saves you – the faith from God.

In prayer we acquire a desire for spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit characterize the Spirit-led believer. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23. Righteous actions. ” For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. ” Philippians 4:16-17. ” By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15. We desire to see people come to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. These fruits will be seen, known and recognized by others.

We have a glorious message to proclaim (vv. 14-15). To the Greeks – these were considered the civilized and wise. To the barbarians – considered unwise because they could not speak the Greek language nor were they assimilated to Greek culture. The message of the gospel is for the “Wise” and for the “Unwise” – the culturally correct and incorrect – the rich and the poor. We ought always: by prayer, supplication, and the study of God’s Word, be ready to preach the gospel wherever God may call us.

-Tim A. Blankenship

That the World Will Know

“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” 1 Kings 8:60  (KJB)

King Solomon had just ended a prayer during the dedication of the temple. During this dedication he now speaks to the people, and informs them that through these things which he mentioned in prayer the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God…  What are those things by which they may know?  It has to do with the way God loves His people:

  1. He chastises or disciplines His people when they sin;
  2. He hears and answers their prayers when they pray;
  3. He forgives their sins and delivers them out of their troubles;
  4. He keeps them in His hand, and protects them in their enjoying their blessings;
  5. He always reminds them, lets them know that there is no other God; all the others are powerless and false.

Now the question could come to us who are Christians, “How can all the people of the earth know that the LORD is God through us?”  We know and love Jesus, yet, the above things are for you and me as well.

It does say in the book of Hebrews chapter 12…

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8

Just wanted to remind you that no Christian can sin without consequences. We still are disciplined for our sin.

Let us let the world know of God’s holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace. The cross of Jesus is where all of these were put on display by holy God.  Let the world know.

You, O LORD, Are My Rock and My Fortress

In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in Thy righteousness. Bow down Thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be Thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For Thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for Thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”  Psalm 31:1-3 (KJB)

Are you feeling down, dirty, discouraged, and in despair today? There is One in whom you can place your trust.  David found that trust in the LORD our God.

The Psalmist calls on the LORD to listen to him.  He request that the LORD be “My strong rock, for a house of defence…”  I am pretty certain that David faced those times like we have too.  Lonely, afraid, desperate, and in despair; and in those times he cried out to God;  and God hear him and answered his prayer.

Though David was looking for a hasty reprieve from his dilemma, he quickly realized that the LORD was his Rock and his fortress, and simply requested that God would lead and guide him.

In the not too distant past our Vice President was mocked and criticized by a lessor known individual who called him a mental case because he claims that Jesus speaks with him.  I was thrilled to hear our VP say that.  David spoke with our Lord, and the Lord spoke back, and because of this we have the Psalms which we can read and through them the Lord speaks with us too.  That is if we have a heart for Him.

He hears the cries of His people.  The question really is today; Do His people hear Him?

Hear the Lord GOD today through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus God Son, the God Man, in whom you can give your life – heart, mind, soul, and strength.

When GOD Seems to be Silent

Unto You will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if You be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto You, when I lift up my hands toward Your holy oracle.”  Psalm 28:1-2 (KJB)

This Psalm of David is the prayer of a man who is crying out to God; maybe even yelling out, shouting out to God for a hearing of his requests, or “supplications”, as he states it, which is his earnest prayer.  An individual who has a real need which they see, feel, or fear; one who knows the Almighty will go to Him with that need just as David, and plead, yearn, beg for an answer to their prayer.

In the New Testament we are told…

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  James 5:16

Now, let us get something straight.  We do have someone to pray to.  It is not prayer that is the power.  It is the One who gives the power to whom we direct our prayers.  If our hearts are not of Him, His word, His way, His will, His heart and mind, then, we will not get an answer.

I have made a commitment to the Lord which may seem empty to some, maybe brave and bold and dangerous to others.  A few years ago I was praying, and said to Him, “If you never again answer a prayer of mine, I will still trust in You.”  I can still say that.  I know that He never fails to accomplish, to finish His word. He does what He says He will do.

What do you do when God is silent?  Keep on praying and keep on trusting in Him.

 

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It

The king shall joy in Your strength, O LORD; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. For You meet him with the blessings of goodness: You set a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of You, and You gave it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation: honor and majesty have You laid upon him. For You have made him most blessed for ever: You have made him exceeding glad with Your countenance.”  Psalm 21:1-6 (KJV)

King David was speaking of much more than what he had requested.  He was speaking of the future King of Israel, King of the world who would receive all that He requested because He had died to redeem His bride unto Himself.

On that word “Selah” I want you to remember that I look at that word and pause, think about what was just read, what it says, and reflect on it.  Now thinking on that second verse for a bit: did David get all those things?  Did he get all that his heart desired?  I really do doubt it.  He was joyous in knowing the LORD and resting in Him.  It would seem to me that it is directly related to the coming King, the Messiah of Israel, and Savior of the world.

He asked life and was raised from the dead.  He asked for long life, and will live eternally, even for ever and ever.  He is glorified in the salvation GOD has provided through His death, burial, and resurrection.

This Psalm is a song of David thanking and praising the LORD for His answer to his prayers; that they are exceedingly abundant over what he could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It.  He gives life through faith in His Son Jesus.  Will you ask?

My Sentence… From Your Presence

Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of deceitful lips. Let my sentence come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes behold the things that are equal.”  Psalm 17:1-2 (KJV)

For this 17th day into our 150 Days I will let  C. H. Spurgeon, the author of The Treasury of David speak to you on verse two…

“Let my sentence come forth from thy presence.” The Psalmist has now grown bold by the strengthening influence of prayer, and he now entreats the Judge of all the earth to give sentence upon his case. He had been libelled, basely and maliciously libelled; and having brought his action before the highest court, he, like an innocent man, has no desire to escape the enquiry, but even invites and sues for judgment. He does not ask for secrecy, but would have the result come forth to the world. He would have sentence pronounced and executed forthwith. In some matters we may venture to be as bold as this; but except we can plead something better than our own supposed innocence, it were terrible presumption thus to challenge the judgment of a sin-hating God. With Jesus as our complete and all-glorious righteousness we need not fear, though the day of judgment should commence at once, and hell open her mouth at our feet, but might joyfully prove the truth of our hymn writer’s holy boast –

“Bold shall I stand in that great day;
For who ought to my charge shall lay?
While, through thy blood, absolved I am
From sin’s tremendous curse and shame.”

“Let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.” Believers do not desire any other judge than God, or to be excused from judgment, or even to be judged on principles of partiality. No; our hope does not lie in the prospect of favouritism from God, and the consequent suspension of his law; we expect to be judged on the same principles as other men, and through the blood and righteousness of our Redeemer we shall pass the ordeal unscathed. The Lord will weigh us in the scales of justice fairly and justly; he will not use false weights to permit us to escape, but with the sternest equity those balances will be used upon us as well as upon others; and with our blessed Lord Jesus as our all in all we tremble not, for we shall not be found wanting. In David’s case, he felt his cause to be so right that he simply desired the Divine eyes to rest upon the matter, and he was confident that equity would give him all that he needed.

I believe David knew what the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, meant when he wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1

If I Have Rewarded Evil Unto Him that Was at Peace with Me

O LORD my God, in You do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver. O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yes, I have delivered him that without cause is my enemy:) let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yes, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay my honor in the dust. Selah.”  Psalm 7:1-5 (KJV)

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ we put our complete faith and trust in Him.  It is a good thing not to be concerned about those who might persecute us due to our faith, but we ought always pray for them, and that they would come to the faith of Christ as well.

There are none who can deliver as our GOD and King who we believe, know, and receive through the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our prayer can and should be that of David as he prayed this prayer – “If I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me…”, then, we can know that we will be aware when we have behaved ourselves unseemly toward another  of Adamkind.  We ought to always love our neighbor as we love ourselves; and that is seen the the final six Commandments God gave us.

In David’s prayer he even asks for his judgment to be swift and sure concerning his evil treatment of those who were at peace with him.  I would say we ought to always be a good neighbor, no matter who that neighbor might be.  Difficult?  With some neighbors, NO!  With other neighbors, Sometimes, and maybe always.  The responsibility of being a good neighbor is mine, the Christians, not the neighbor’s.

If we mistreat someone who is peaceful toward us, then, we need not complain when we are treated likewise by someone else.  There is still, and always will be application of Paul’s words, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7).

 

When We Look Into the Distance

Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto You will I pray. My voice shall You hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto You, and will look up.  Psalm 5:2-3 (KJV)

For a reading of Psalm 5:1 you may follow this link.
We so often call on God in prayer.  Even many who will publicly proclaim “I do not believe in God” will call out to God when some traumatic event happens.

In these two verses of Psalm 5, the Psalmist cries out, “Hearken unto the voice of my cry…”.  Which is a yearning for God to hear.  The sweet Psalmist of Israel calling out to the One He knew would hear, and answer his call, his cry.  The honor, respect, and devotion is seen in the prayer.  “My King, and my God” would only be the One whom he loved, trusted, and to whom he has committed his life.

The words of faith spoken in this prayer, “My voice shall You Hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto You, and will look up.”  By his faith in the Living God he is able to look into the distance, and from the events of his past know that GOD will hear him.  Not just today, but every time he prays.

Every time the Christian prays to the One who has made all things, and made us in His image, we can know that God does hear and answer our prayer. Knowing that we can look into the distance… into the future, and know that He will hear, and answer.

 

Prayers of the Saints Heard by the Great High Priest

“And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”  Revelation 8:1-6 (KJV)

The One who created all things, also still holds these things in His hand, to show forth wrath upon the “Inhabiters of the earth”; and the Priest who judges sin.

In the national life of Israel trumpets played an important role and had three important uses: 1) For calling the people together (Numbers 10:1-8); 2) For announcing war (Numbers 10:9); and 3) For announcing special times (Numbers 10:10).

And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. Revelation 8:1 (KJV).

The final seal is opened. Notice the response of Heaven. Silence. This could be caused by awe because now the book is opened and the glories and power of God are revealed. All that was concealed is now revealed to all of Heaven for the first time.

Not a whisper, nary a sigh, but only silence. Sometimes the greatest reverence is given God by our silence. The Psalmist even wrote, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).

It is not told us why there is silence for one-half hour, but it does have to do with the seventh seal and the book [scroll]. There could be more than one reason, but I do believe the above reason is a biblical one. Other than that we just do not know.

It seems that the seven seals and the seven trumpets are interrelated. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven vials of wrath. These cannot be separated, then, because they all fit together. Each series of judgments seem to lead to a more severe wrath.

The seven angels are not named and it is not necessary to do so. They are given one trumpet each.

There is “another angel”, an eighth mentioned who seems to be a priestly angel. Some have equated this angel to being like the appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ – referred to in the Old Testament as the “Angel of the LORD”. It is not clear who this angel is. Jesus is the High Priest who atoned for our sin, and He is the One who will judge the world. Whoever he is he is fulfilling the work and ministry of a priest – unlike the work of any angel.  Since the Lamb is Christ Jesus and the One who opens the seals, I will believe this is just a completely different angel.

He stands at the brazen altar of judgment and sacrifice, with a golden censer [cup or bowl] for the incense which was given him. The incense is offered with the prayers of the saints [your prayers and mine, as well as the saints of the tribulation]. The incense is a symbol of prayer and worship.

In the Old Testament the high priest would kill the sacrifice at the brazen altar, collect the blood, and God received the offering by fire. The priest would take the golden bowl and take fire from the altar [which was never to go out Leviticus 6:12-13, and it was lit by God Leviticus 9:23-24], and enter the holy place with the blood, and with the fire, take the incense from the golden altar which was located outside the Holy of Holies [the presence of God], and he would enter the presence of God veiled in the smoke of the incense, pouring out the blood of the sacrifice at the throne of God – the presence of God. This made atonement for the people’s sins for one year.

Notice after the prayers and incense is offered to God the eighth angel takes fire in the golden censer, from the brazen altar of judgment, and casts it upon the earth.

Our prayers for deliverance; the prayers of the tribulation saints for deliverance and retribution, and for the glory of God to come will be done in God’s time. The “Imprecatory Psalms” (Psalms 7; 26; 35; 52; 55; and 58 are examples); these are not cries from selfish people, but cries for God to vindicate them according to His Word and grace.

It is amazing that God seems to store our prayers as a sweet fragrance to Him and will carry out their request in His time and according to His divine will. Have you grown weary and tired of prayer? Keep praying from a yielded and repentant, and broken heart. He hears you.

After the fire is taken from the altar and cast to the earth it causes great upheaval. Voices, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake. It seems clear that the censer used for offering up worship and prayer is now used to hurl judgment and vengeance upon the earth.

Nothing is said about how the seven angels “Prepared themselves”. It could be a simple thing as raising the trumpets.

Let us as the saints of God raise our hearts and voices in prayer to God.  The time which we live is urgent.  Let us begin by repentance, seeking forgiveness of sin, and seeking revival of the Church.  The world is in grave need.  Let us be the Church; the Body of Christ. The Great High Priest who forgives our sin; also judges sin.

Brethren, Pray for Us…

Even the apostle Paul; maybe I should say, “The apostle Paul” needed prayer just as any of us do.  Prayer must not be something we do only when we have an emergency situation.  We “…ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).  Sometimes we get requests for praying for specific personal needs from others, and that is good.  Paul had need in the following request because he sensed, that the word and gospel of Jesus Christ were being attacked and hindered.

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (KJV)

I am certain Paul had other more personal needs, but this request shows that his heart was on the things of Christ, not of the flesh.  Note that he first asked that the word have free course; that it would spread throughout Thessalonica, and surrounding areas freely, in power, and with speed.  He requested that we pray for the glory of God, and His word, and to be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for there are people in the world who get hateful toward the word of God, and the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and His cross.  That is true in 2017 as well.

He tells us that “…For all men have not faith”, and the state is a continuation of the “Unreasonable and wicked men” in the areas we live.  Some of these unreasonable people do not want God in anything, even to the point of using law to oppose God, who is the One who has given us law.

Let me end by encouraging you to stay faithful to the Lord in His word, and prayer, living for Him; being a faithful witness of His power and glory; knowing that He is coming soon.  Let us wait patiently for Him.

Remember He loves you so much He willingly went to the cross, died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again, and He is returning.

Check Things Out – Pray

Making decisions involving others is not an easy task.  There are people out to take advantage of you, to get all they can get from you.  The Great and Awesome God who has made all things gave us a mind and heart to use, but we do need help at times.

I want to take  us today to an event in the life and leadership of Joshua and Israel after they had conquered Jericho, been defeated by Ai due to their sin, conquered Ai after dealing with the sin in their midst.

There was a tribe of people from Gibeon who were inhabitants of the land of Canaan, and tried to deceive Joshua into believing they were from a land outside of Canaan.

“Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: and these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.” Joshua 9:11-14 (KJV)

These Hivites had heard of the victories of Israel on the other side of Jordan; the defeating of Sihon and Og.  They were frightened for their lives, and practiced deceit to win their lives.  Not any different than many people today.  “Whatever it takes”  we will often do to save our own lives, and that of family.

The sentence of the verses above I want us to focus on is verse 14…

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.

Joshua and the leaders took their word, their food, as a gift of assurance that they were from outside Canaan.  Had they prayed, and asked the LORD’S counsel the outcome would have been much different.

These Gibeonites would eventually be found out; made servants for Israel; and would be a pain, sorrow, and thorn in the side of the people of God.

When it comes to dealing with others; making deals, promises, and such we ought always go to God in prayer first.  Prayer should not be the last resort; it should be the first thing we do when making decisions of life’s importance.

Jesus said…

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

Pray.  Seek God’s counsel.  Always.

Will be away for a While…

Many of you have noticed that I have not shared anything for several days; as a matter of fact, for a whole month.

It may be some time yet.  It seems I have either reached a point of lack of desire, or brain block, something.  “Lack of desire” for posting on blogs, not for the gospel of Jesus Christ or the whole counsel of God.  I could use your prayers in this matter.

I may reblog some others, but I will not be writing anything new for a while.  Thanks for your support of prayer and reading these post.  God bless you all.

-tim

Man of God – A Man of Prayer (2)

 “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.
And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Daniel 9:19-23 (KJV)  Please read to the end of the chapter.

We continue Daniel’s Prayer with Daniel 9:19-27 –

In the fifth place we see that, DANIEL’S PRAYER WAS A FERVENT PRAYER. Daniel’s heart yearned for the day of deliverance. Even though he probably knew he would never see it – he would die in Babylon – still longed for that day when the people would return to Jerusalem, rebuild its walls, streets, temple and everything that goes with it all.

He fervently prayed – ie., with passion, commitment, and fire. Here are some things which accompany fervent prayer:

Humility – Change of garments – to garments of mourning ;; shaving off the hair on the head;

Crying – almost uncontrollable weeping;

Tearing of clothes – an outward sign of sorrow;

Fasting – committed to seeing God’s will done, even to the place of denying one’s self the physical needs one may have;

Sighing, groaning, even the sweating of blood.

Fervent prayer cares nothing for the negative opinions of others – the things listed above will seem fanatical to others who are less devoted, and unconcerned.

Daniel fasted. Reasons people in the Bible fasted; 1)Private problems; 2) Hannah for a child; 3) Public disasters; 4) The death of a king and his sons (1 Samuel 31); 5) Personal grief; 6) Grief for personal sin; 7) Pity for friends or others; 8) Searching for the will of God. It would do the Church of Jesus Christ wonders, if we would begin doing some fasting. We, today, are more familiar with feasting.

 The sixth thing we see is, that while DANIEL PRAYING, THE ANGEL GABRIEL CAME AND GAVE HIM UNDERSTANDING (vv. 20-23). Daniel prayed; confessing the sins of the people of Israel and his own sins, and lifting up supplications unto the Lord for their land. While he was praying the angel Gabriel appeared to him once again.

Gabriel said he had come to give Daniel “Skill and understanding”. I do not think it is too bold of a statement to say that it was because of Daniel’s devotion to God and His Word that God chose him for “Skill and understanding”. Daniel was fervent in prayer. He was consistent in his prayers. He was devoted to the Word of God. He was an obedient servant to God. He fasted. He wept. He mourned. I find it no surprise that God chose Daniel to give “Skill and understanding”.

Notice, the angel said, “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee..” Daniel’s prayers were heard from day one. His faith was strong in the Word of God.

The angel also tells him, “Thou are greatly beloved…” What a decree to come from the mouth of one of God’s angels.

 In the seventh thing we see the angel giving DANIEL THE PURPOSE OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS (v. 24). This is the thing Daniel read from Jeremiah concerning Israel. In the prophecy each seven day week represents seven years, thus the seventy weeks would represent a total of 490 years. What was the purpose of these years – one week of which or seven years, has not yet come to pass.

The purpose of the seventy weeks has a six fold purpose; 1) “To finish the transgression” ie., to bring an end to Israel’s transgression – their sin and rebellion against God in worshipping idols; 2) “To make an end of sins”; 3) “To make reconciliation for iniquity”, ie., that is to reconcile the nation to God; 4) To bring in everlasting righteousness; 5) To seal up the vision of the prophecy; and 6) To anoint the most Holy.

 In the eighth place we are told of THE RESTORATION OF JERUSALEM UNTO THE MESSIAH – WHO IS CHRIST JESUS (vv.25-26a). A decree would go forth for the restoration of Jerusalem from a Gentile king. There was such a decree that went forth from a king to Nehemiah to go and rebuild the walls of the city (Nehemiah 2).

The restoration of Jerusalem was done in 49 years. This period of time equals the ‘seven weeks’. There are 7 days in a week times 7 weeks equals 49 days. Each day equals 1 year. After the restoration of Jerusalem it would be 62 weeks until Messiah was ‘cut off’ this would equal 483 years. The Messiah, that is Jesus Chris, would be crucified on a cross in Jerusalem.

NOTICE – Seventy (70) weeks times 7 equals 490 weeks. This means that only 69 weeks have been fulfilled. The first 483 have been fulfilled exactly as God told Daniel. There has been approximately 2000 years since the completion of the 483 years. There remains 7 yet to be fulfilled. That seven years is known by at least two different titles; first, “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7); secondly, we know it better by “Tribulation period” – “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (Rev. 2:22). It is also known as the “Day of the LORD” in many Old Testament passages.

 In the ninth place we see the SEVENTIETH WEEK; THE PRINCE TO COME; AND HIS COVENANT OF PEACE WITH ISRAEL (vv. 26b-27). The ‘prince that shall come’ is speaking of a deceiver. Some time following the disappearance of the saints of God, this man will come on the scene and make a peace covenant with Israel for seven years “One week”.

In the midst of the week – 3.5 years – this prince will break that covenant,a nd set himself up in the temple of God – “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” 2 Thes. 2:3-4.

He will desolate the temple. Really just his presence in the temple will be worse than the pig which Antiochus Epiphanes placed on the altar. In his desolation he will call for the people of the world to worship him. That is when he begins running into problems. The last 3.5 years will be a time of judgment upon the earth such as no one has ever seen.

Not only will Israel be delivered during this time, but when Jesus comes to put an end to sin, they will look upon Him whom they have pierced (Rev. 1:7). In John 19:37 it says, “And again another scripture saith, ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced”.

The seven years of ‘tribulation will end with Jesus coming in the clouds with His saints, conquering the rebellious nations of earth, ‘the inhabitants of earth’, cleansing the land; and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords.

 The Blessed Hope of Titus 2:13.

COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS. MARANATHA.

Man of God – A Man of Prayer (1)

 “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…” Daniel 9:1-3 (KJV)

Read Daniel 9:1-18

 Daniel was first and foremost, not a prophet who could look into the future, but a man of God. He is even referred to as the “a man greatly beloved” (v. 23; 10:11). Being a “Man of God” means more than just being able to understand, tell, and know God’s will and plan for the future. It is first knowing God and loving Him.

This prayer shows us why Daniel was ‘a man greatly beloved’ – why he was a ‘man of God’. Many a preacher and pastor could learn from Daniel. Looking at Daniel we could learn to pray and know God, and know His heart. Every preacher and pastor who is leading a church, or group of Christians should be ‘a man of God’ first. Too many are now becoming “Men of the people” or “Men of the congregation”, and rather than praying they are playing. Rather than preaching the Word of God, they preach the words and philosophies of men.

In this study we will see nine different points. Six are related to the prayer, and the final three are answer to the prayer.

The first thing that we see was what brought Daniel to prayer, and that was HIS DEVOTION TO THE WORD OF GOD (vv. 1-2). It is quite evident that Daniel was devoted to the study of God’s Word – as much of it as he had – because he was reading very devoutly the writing of Jeremiah the prophet. It must have encouraged his heart as he ready Jeremiah 25:1-12 and 29:10 that his Nation would be held captive for only 70 years. He knew the time was getting close, and this got him on his knees.

That is how it should affect Christians today when we read the Scriptures, and see the signs the Word speaks of concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus again. Remembering that the signs are only of the Lord’s second coming – the time when Jesus will literally come to earth to rule and reign as King – should make us mindful that the rapture of the Church is nearer. Knowing this we ought to be in earnest prayer. Getting ourselves ready by confession of sin. Confessing how we have brought shame to the name of Jesus, and pleading the mercy of God upon us. The Word of God is the “Sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17); and is the only weapon we hold in our hands. Of course, the only other weapon we have is PRAYER.

The second point we see is HIS CONFESSION OF SIN – HIS AND HIS NATION’S (vv. 3-5, 8-9,11,14,15). Note, how many times Daniel mentions, “We have sinned”. He does not say, “They have sinned”, but “We have sinned”, “We are a sinful nation”. Any time a preacher/prophet only points out “Their sins” he is failing to communicate the whole truth. “We have sinned” is the message of every prophet of God. If we are to get right with God it must be the confession of every prophet first of all. So many times we talk about the sins of the world, when in truth it is the sins of God’s people that hinders His work; if there is a lack confession, and not repented of.

Not meaning to jump ahead – take a look at verse 20. Daniel says, “And confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel”. We cannot blame others for our spiritual decay, and captivities. It is our sin that brought us to the place of captivity we are in.

Daniel confesses God’s righteousness. Without God’s righteousness He would not be God. In His righteousness He gave us His Son Jesus; He gave us the cross; that a holy, sinless person might die to pay the sin debt that was ours.

When we walk in disobedience to God we have “confusion of face” or “open shame”. In other words, “We have disgraced our God, our identity as the people of God, and have lost our power with God”. When that happens God will do whatever is necessary to get His people where He wants us to be.

Recognizing that our time is short here on earth. Recognizing there are many lost people who need Jesus we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, the study of God’s Word, that we might be equipped for service, and to witnessing of God our Savior to every one possible. We are going to glory. If we tell them of Jesus; they at least are warned of coming judgment, and possibly may come to faith in Jesus and be in glory also.

The third point we see is that DANIEL RECOGNIZES GOD’S JUDGMENTS (vv. 12-14). Daniel realized that the nation of Israel was being judged by God. That was the reason for their captivity.

The Christians of our day are not recognizing the judgments of God. “It’s the weather”, “It’s the way things are”, “It’s just a man-man leading mad men”, “It’s just the way of the day”. Why are Christians not recognizing the judgments of God on our nation today? They do not know God. It takes personal accountability away. After all, what can we do about what someone else is doing to us. We can do nothing about the weather.

What are some ways God is judging America – the good ole USA? Drought, flood, earthquake, tornado, storms that seem to be wreaking vengeance upon those it strikes, this would include Winter storms of excessive snow and ice. Power outages caused by these events. Terrorism from enemies. We were once protected from these things. Now, ie., in the past ten years we have had three noted terrorist attacks one of those was from a fellow citizen of our own country. One in 1993 on the World Trade Center that caused much damage, but not like the last attack on the WTC which completely destroyed it, and killed nearly 3000 people in conjunction with the attack on the Pentagon. According to some, “God is not judging our country”. These people who say such things very much need to WAKE UP from their sleep, and take a good look at God. We are also being judged by the influences of sodomy in our country.

Because we have gotten away from God we have become tolerant of all forms of evil. Because of the philosophies of men we have an excuse for every vile affection. We call ‘adultery’ an affair. We call an unborn child ‘a mass of tissue’. We call sodomy ‘an alternative lifestyle’. There are no drunks anymore they are all ‘alcohol dependent’. If a young man murders someone, it is due to their environment in which they were raised. Why can we not quit mealy mouthin’ around about sin, call it sin, and admit we have sinned, get right with God and get God’s people and His churches back in touch with the One who created us. When God’s people get right, then there will be a much better chance of reaching the rest of the Nation, and the world.

It will begin the healing, growing, and strengthening process with God when we get on our knees and pray fervently concerning our sin, seeking forgiveness, repenting, and seeking God’s power again.

In the fourth point we see DANIEL RECOGNIZES THE OFFENSES AGAINST GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS (vv. 16-19). When the people of God are disobedient to Him we become a reproach to Him and to the nations or people around us. The Israelites lost their witness to surrounding nations, because they were rebellious to God, His prophets, and His Word. They began living like the world around them, they built and worshiped idols, they practiced temple prostitution, and by doing these things they committed spiritual adultery against God. Notice what Daniel prays. First, that God’s face might shine upon His desolate sanctuary; second, to purpose His ear to hear this prayer; third, open His eyes to behold the people’s desolation; and fourth, that God answer them according to His own righteousness and mercy.

Prayer is for the purpose of the glory of God. It is not a wishing well, a genie in a bottle where you get three wishes. It is not akin to tea leaves, tarot cards, or palm reading. Knowing God’s will, then praying for it to come to pass is the prayer that glorifies God. Daniel knew God’s will. He prayed God’s will, then, what he prayed came to pass. This gets us in on God’s will; rather than expecting God to get in our will. David Jeremiah said…

“Our prayers really ought to be prompted out of our deep understanding of what the will of God is”.

From ‘THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL’ pg. 175. He also went on to say…

“The biggest waste of time in Christendom is praying about things that God already said we shouldn’t do.” IBID.

God will answer the prayers that are prayed to glorify Him. That is how Daniel prayed. NOTE; Daniel prayed, “For we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousnesses, but for Thy great mercies…” We do not deserve it, O God, but remember Your promise. It was God’s integrity Daniel was concerned with. He knew Israel did not deserve to go back to Jerusalem; but God must keep His Word. Daniel simply knew God never broke a promise. He was demanding nothing. He was merely standing on God’s own integrity and power.

HAVING RECOGNIZED, FROM READING JEREMIAH THE PROPHET, OF THE SEVENTY YEAR CAPTIVITY; DANIEL PRAYS FOR GOD’S WILL TO BE DONE ACCORDING TO GOD’S MERCY (v. 18).

Found Praying Against the Law

“Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.” Daniel 6:11-17ff (KJV)

DANIEL IS FOUND PRAYING, ACCUSED, AND CONVICTED (vv. 11-17). The spies went back to work as soon as the decree was signed. Spying on only one man it seems. What treachery and deceit.

Daniel was guilty as charged. Oh that we might be found praying. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Is there enough evidence in your life; in mine; to prove you guilty of being a Christian? If I were to die on my knees in prayer, witnessing to a lost person, or preaching from the pulpit; I could not think of a better place or way to go home to Heaven from.

These men are very persistent in getting the king to fulfill his own decree. The laws of the Medes and Persians are not altered (v. 8). What was the king to do? He tried all day to find a way out for Daniel. The king loved Daniel. Finally, with much pain of heart, disgust, and probably discontent toward himself for decreeing such a law, and toward these others the king declares Daniel guilty and sentences him to the lion’s den.

THE KING’S NIGHT OF UNEASY FASTING, SLEEPLESSNESS – AND DANIEL’S NIGHT WITH THE LIONS (vv. 18-23). Darius spent the night tormented by what he had done. He would not eat. He refused to sleep. “No musical instruments” implies he refused to sleep. The music was used to sooth a troubled soul – he refused it.

The king was probably first to the lion’s den the next morning. He cries out to Daniel. There must have been some faith there. He had some hope that Daniel was alive or he would not have called out his name. Notice the king’s testimony, “Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God whom thou servest continually able to deliver thee from the lions?” Living God; as opposed to the dead gods of the Medes and Persians.

Daniel was alive. God had sent “His angel”. Who was this? It is most likely the same one who walked in the fire with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah [Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego]. (Remember I am wanting the readers here to know there God given names). None other than the pre-incarnate Son of God. A Sunday School teacher was teaching a children’s class the story of Daniel. One little girl said she knew why Daniel was delivered from the lions. She said, “Because, the chief lion was ‘the Lion of the Tribe of Judah’”. What a wonderful answer. With Daniel in the lion’s den the lions – by God’s power – reverted back to their pre-fall condition; non meat eating, but rather eating of grass, roots, fruits and such. I can sort of imagine Daniel sitting down and one big male comes walking up to him, not growling, but purring like a kitten, brushing his side up next to Daniel’s leg. Daniel gets cold during the night and a lioness comes and lays next to him to keep him warm, and Daniel using one as a pillow on which to lay his head.

The king spends the night in a comfortable castle, with a comfortable bed – if there was such a thing in that age – but cannot sleep. Daniel rests in peace, and is warmed by the one’s who were supposed to slay him and have him for the last evening’s supper.

There was no mark or hurt found on Daniel. He was taken out of the lion’s den in the same shape as he was cast in. Most likely with a stronger faith in God now, than when he was thrown in the den.

JUDGMENT COMES ON THE SCHEMERS AND PLOTTERS; THE JEALOUS ONES (v. 24). The conspirators are judged with the same judgment that they judge – “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” Matthew 7:2 (KJV).

In the book of Esther Haman schemes to have Mordecai hanged. His scheme is revealed to the king and Haman is hanged on his own gallows. Schemers will be found out and judged. Even if they are politicians, kings or presidents.

THE KING RECOGNIZES AND YIELDS TO THE POWER OF DANIEL’S GOD (vv. 25-28). Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, makes a decree declaring Jehovah, the God of Daniel, as the only living God. His kingdom “Shall not be destroyed” as opposed to the kingdoms of men. God’s sovereignty is forever and over all that is.

Notice the final verse of chapter six. Daniel prospered during the reign of the Medes and Persians. WHY? Because of His faithfulness to God

FOUR QUALITIES OF DANIEL, THAT CHRISTIAN’S NEED IN EVERY AGE:

  1. He had a consistent attitude;

  2. He was consistent in his performance;

  3. He had a consistent purity;

  4. He was consistent in prayer.

Let us pray to be consistent in these practices, and watch God be glorified.

A life like this (the life of consistency) begins by believing in Christ Jesus through His death on the cross for our sins, His burial – carrying away our sin, our shame, our guilt, our condemnation, and death; and He was gloriously raised from the grave, and He forever lives.  Believe Him, and live with Him forever, beginning the moment you believe.

The Man of Prayer

“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6:4-10 (KJV)

THE PRESIDENTS AND PRINCES CONSPIRED TO FIND FAULT WITH DANIEL; FOUND NONE; SO SET ABOUT TO ESTABLISH NEW LAWS TO TRAP HIM (vv. 4-9). Daniel could not have won in any event in this deception. If he would have not prayed these men would have accused him of turning from his God. If he prayed he would be put in the lion’s den.

These leaders were jealous of Daniel. He was a captive Jew and their leader. He had God’s blessing on his life. The people of the flesh will always work against the people serving God in the Spirit. Look at Cain and Abel; Esau and Jacob; Ishmael and Isaac. The flesh always strives against the Spirit – “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Gal. 5:17 (KJV).

According to the Proverbs 26:28 passage above “…a flattering mouth worketh ruin”, and this is most certainly what these men tried to do to Daniel. They were flattering the king. Flattery can sometimes cause the one who is on the receiving end of flattery to yield to all kinds of things. People love to be praised, and told they are wonderful; but LOOK OUT! What does the flatterer have in mind?

The law these men wanted the king to decree was a decree of emperor worship, and the king fell for it. He did it without thinking of Daniel or any others who might be Jehovah [YHWH] worshipers. Once this law was signed by Darius it was law. His signature was the seal of his ring in wax. There would be no annulling it. It had to be carried out. It was soon put to the test.

DANIEL DOES NOT CHANGE HIS PRAYING – EVEN KNOWING THIS LAW IS DECREED BY THE KING (v. 10). After the decree is signed by the king, Daniel goes to his regular place of prayer and he prays just as always. He prays at sunrise, noon, and again at the end of the day. This purely was not an act of defiance, but an act that had already been his practice. Daniel was not going to change his practice. Now, if Daniel had not been praying, and this law was decreed, then, he starts praying to God it would be an act of defiance, then, these others may have had a genuine charge against him.

It is my belief that if the Christians of the United States would have been praying before 1963 we would not have lost our right to pray, and study Christian materials in the public schools. Suddenly when it was lost we become defiant. That is not the answer. We must get to praying, and pray that God will place people in positions of ‘lawmaking’ who will uphold the laws of God for our country, and get us back to freedom to pray in any place, at any time; and in the name of Jesus.

Since writing this in 2006 there are many things that have happened in the U. S. of A. that make this even more needed for our time in 2017.  People running their businesses as Christians, who have the right to refuse service to anyone just as any other business does who are robbed of that right by frivolous law suits.  Some paying fines.  The right to pray on School campuses to one certain group, but Christians not even being able to wear T-shirts with a Christian theme on them without scrutiny.  It is not time to be defiant; but it is time to continue to practice our faith in Christ Jesus through our lives and living.

If you are not a Christian believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who came from heaven to die for our sins on the cross, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave, and is forever alive.  Call on His name.  He will hear you and save you from the condemnation, shame, and guilt of your sins.  (Romans 10:9-13).

If you are a Christian and have been fearful; stop being fearful of what men do; love God, and believe His Word.  Let the world see Jesus in you.

If you are praying now no one can ever stop you from praying. They may pass laws, but there is no law against the righteous, that can stop them from righteousness.

Loyalty to God and Kings Awarded

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Daniel 6:1-3 (KJV)

A new king begins to reign. A new man often has new ideas. How is it that Darius is now the king of this land? There is only one answer to that question. It is the Almighty God of all that is or will ever be that sets up kings and brings them down. It has been seen, and testimony given by Nebuchadnezzar himself.

Daniel is now under the rule of Darius. As we get a little further in this chapter we will see that this king loved and greatly respected Daniel. We will also learn from this chapter that a man of integrity, and good character does not change his godly actions to please a decree by a king or a despot. The godly individual will pray, even when the laws of the land say, “NO MORE PRAYER”. This is not talking about an act of rebellion where someone; after an edict is given decides, “They can’t do that”, then decides to pray. This is the act of diligence. It is the act of obedience to God that was there before the law or edict was given.

In this chapter we must learn to pray. Prayer now will accomplish great things in our lives when we are faced with commands, laws, and edicts of men which tell us, “You can’t pray that way”. Let’s be faithful now, and continue in diligence, when we cannot. Sometimes things are made legal which are ungodly and unholy; such as abortion, homosexuality, and same gender marriages. Other times things are made illegal which are good, godly, and pure; such as outlawing prayer in schools, and in some places forbidding the preaching of the gospel on the street corner, and/or praying in “Jesus’s name”.

 DANIEL IS NOW UNDER THE RULE OF DARIUS (v. 1). What Belshazzar had promised now Daniel actually receives. Belshazzar is dead. Daniel is alive and ruling within a kingdom. Neither Belshazzar, nor Darius elevated Daniel to this position; only God can do such things.

In a place of any form of rule is by divine appointment. It may be hard for many people to accept, but even Hitler was appointed by God for his time. That does not tickle my fancy either, but it is still true. He was placed as a ruler by God and he was removed by God. If you are a father, it was God who placed you in that position – use it well. If you are the pastor of a church God placed you there, and he can remove you. If you are the Mayor of a small town or a large city you were placed in that position of authority by God Himself. He can also remove you. From the lowest levels of leadership to the upper echelons of government God has positioned leaders for His pleasure and glory, and He can ‘unposition’ you.

 DANIEL IS PLACED IN A POSITION OF RULE – OVER 120 ‘PRINCES’, AND CHIEF OF THREE WHO WERE ‘PRESIDENTS’ (vv. 2-3). These “Presidents” could also be called ‘Administrators’ or ‘Commissioners’. The ‘Princes’ were in charge of provinces around Babylon; gathering taxes, maybe solving problems was also involved. They were in charge of seeing that the king received his due. The ‘Presidents’ were to be sure that the princes were honest in their dealings. It seems that Daniel was the one who kept the two other presidents and their princes honest.

At any rate we clearly see that these others hated Daniel and the consistency of his lifestyle. The two ‘Presidents’ probably influenced the ‘princes’ to conspire against Daniel. They watched his every move. They could find no fault in his life. He never cheated the king, or did anything against the king to cause his demise or fall of the kingdom. The only way they could find fault was to make a law against his faith. With flattery, deception, and cunning they convince the king to have emperor worship for a month. Here is what the king should have heard, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Prov. 26:28 (KJV).

These other rulers know Daniel prays three times per day. They know these things because they have spied on him, trying to seek his weakness, to cause his downfall. The king is told this is an agreed upon law by all the other rulers – deception – Daniel does not know, nor would he have agreed with it. Deception, deception, deception; clear and simple. Darius signs the decree. The law says that no one is to worship any god accept the king for a period of one month (30 days).

Daniel is truly an example for all Christians to follow. He never protested. He never had a sit in, a march – he continued doing what he was now forbidden to do by the kings decree. He continued praying. HE HAD A CONSISTENT ATTITUDE. He also had a CONSISTENT PRACTICE OF PRAYER. That is also our need.

The Dream is Revealed

Broken Pieces

Daniel 2:14-23.

Seeing how Daniel and his friends were not invited to the council meeting they had every right to ask what was going on. “Why is the kings decree so hasty?” (v. 15).

Arioch was the ‘captain of the king’s gruard’, and in charge of killing the incompetent ‘wise men’. When Arioch came to Daniel; Daniel had questions. He knew nothing about the king’s dream nor his edict to kill the frauds.

Arioch seems to be patient with Daniel and his friends. He shares with Daniel how the king has made a decree to kill all the astrologers, magicians, sorcerers, etc., including all those newly trained in the crafts. This include Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. REMEMBER THE ABOVE QUOTATION BY GRAHAM SCROGGIE. They studied astrology, etc. “to understand it, but not to believe it.” The power of these Hebrews was the person who created all things. The person…

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Contrast of the Righteous and the Wicked

There are many gifts given that are given in sacrifice.  Some even given so hopefully to appease a wrathful god who holds a scale in his hands weighing our good and our evil deeds.  No one can judge another heart in the matter.  But the Almighty God knows.

In a couple of verses we look at today we see what God thinks of sacrifices given by the “Wicked”; and the prayers of the “Upright” or the “Righteous”.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” Proverbs 15:8
“The LORD is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 15:29 (KJV)

It is good to be reminded of king Saul’s sacrifice (1 Samuel 15), and Samuel’s words to Saul concerning sacrifice,

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Wickedness is the act of hostility toward God, His Word, His messengers, and His works.  Who are the wicked?  Those who practice such things.  For those who are the wicked; God does not honor, remember or bless your “sacrifice”.  It is an abomination to Him; and will be counted against you unless you believe Him.

Proverbs 15:29 tells us that “The LORD is far from the wicked”.  He is far from them as far as their wickedness is concerned.  The place where they lie at night He is there; but they are far from Him.

In both of the verses of Proverbs is mentioned “Prayer”.  The prayer of the upright; and the prayer of the righteous.  The righteous are those who have heard the Word of God, believed it, received it, and are born into the kingdom of heaven because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The prayer of the upright is His delight”.  The “Upright” are the righteous, and God is delighted– favors, finds pleasure, good will, and acceptance in their prayers. For those who are born again in Christ Jesus it is wonderful to know that He hears our prayers…

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

O turn away from your wicked hostility toward God, His Word, His people, His messengers, and His works.  Call on the name of the Lord.

Praying For Others

“Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.” Acts 12:5-9 (KJV)

Prayer, in the early Church was not a means for changing the will of God, but the means of getting into the will of God, and doing it.  God works and moves when His people pray.

Puritan Preacher Thomas Watson is quoted

“The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel.”

Peter’s life lay in the balance; yet he lay peacefully in prison, lying in chains, and bound to a prison guard.  He had confidence in the Lord God, and peacefully slept while God was at work delivering him from a cold dark, damp and dank prison. Yet, he slept so soundly the angel needed to smite him on the side to awaken him, and it seems “Raised him up”.

There is no place the child of God can get where God is not there.  God was in prison with Peter that day.  Why was Peter in prison? For preaching Jesus and Him crucified, buried and resurrected fulfilling the will of God for His life.

Peter was being an obedient servant of the Spirit of God.  We must learn to be praying for all those who do the will of God; and pray that we be doing the will of God, and glorifying His name.

Warren Wiersbe has written

“God works when churches pray, and Satan still trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.”

Peter was delivered from prison.  When the Church prays, when we who love the Lord Jesus Christ prays, heaven pays attention, people’s lives change, things change, and God is glorified.

 

Christmas Day Seventy and One

What do I want for Christmas today?

To be the man of prayer that I ought to be; praying in the will of God, for His glory, power and praise; to pray continually, earnestly, diligently that His purposes may be accomplished in my life and the lives of others.

“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:2-4 (NKJV)

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred and Fifteen

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be faithful and diligent in prayer, praise and thanksgiving to my God and Savior Jesus Christ; to live for Him that His name be glorified in me; and that I never do these things as defiance against human laws, but always in faithfulness to God.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)

Christmas Day One Hundred and Eighteen

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always be in the heart and mind of  prayer to the GOD Most High, for my family – my children, grandchildren; and as my wife and I prayed for our children’s spouses from the time they were babies crawling on the floor, or before; so too pray for our grand children to have born again, and godly Christian spouses who love God, and His Word.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Fifty and Four

““O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD, You alone.”” Isaiah 37:16-20 (NKJV)

The verses above speaks of what godly leaders do when their people and nation are threatened, by a supposedly invincible enemy.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want a godly leader for our nation – the United States of America – one who is not afraid to pray in the midst of chaos, and attacks for enemy forces, one who will live before God and the people not with empty words of “faith”, but with conviction, and believing God (Not politics, and policies) is our only hope for deliverance, and influence in the world.

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Seventy and Nine

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)

…And read Matthew 6:5-13 as well.

Praying people will be forgiving people.  Praying with pretense, or for show, shows nothing, but hypocrisy.

What do I want for Christmas?

When I pray I want to  be heard by God, not men; I want my prayers to always be offered to God with a heart that knows it has been forgiven by God, and in knowing that in my heart, soul and mind I will always forgive those who have offended me.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Twenty and Six

What do I want for Christmas?

With today’s “Want” I am being a bit selfish.  I have a problem with my right knee which is in pain.

I want to ask those who read this, those who have a heart for God, His Word, and His Son, and prayer; to pray for healing.  In addition I want to ask God to heal your hurts and pains today as well.  God bless you, and Thank you.

Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.” Psalm 25:18 (KJV)

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

Christmas Day Two Hundred Twenty and Nine #2

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to learn to count properly; because I just noticed that on Sunday May 08, 2016 I numbered that day as “Two Hundred Thirty and One” and it should have been “Two Hundred Thirty and Two”.

I am counting backwards from the day following Christmas Day of 2015.  I thought I was doing better than that.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 (KJV)

If this messed up anyone’s day please forgive me.  I am smiling as I write.

I could go back and correct each error, but I will let it remain with this notice in place.