Effectual Fervent Prayer

God is pleased as we ask Him to move nations, to intervene so we can live quietly and peacefully in all godliness and honesty. (1Ti 2:1-4) It only takes one righteous soul to change the world: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (Ja 5:16b-18)

img_1429So we are encouraged to pray diligently and earnestly for God’s protection and favor (supplications), requesting His aid (prayers) and praying for others (intercessions) while giving thanks for all things. (Ep 5:20) We are praying for our political leaders, especially for president elect Donald Trump, our society, and our world. Please join us!

Here’s our evolving prayer list:

  1. (Ps 118:8-9) Keep our hope in You, not politics.
  2. (Ps 27:11) Teach our leaders Your ways; deliver them from the wicked.
  3. (Ps 33:10) Overturn the evil schemes of the wicked.
  4. (Pr 20:26) Purge corruption throughout our government.
  5. (Ro 13:4) Punish those committed to evil.
  6. (Pr 25:28) Secure our borders.
  7. (Pr 14:15) Help us see through media propaganda to find truth.
  8. (Pr 14:34) Establish righteousness in our land.
  9. (Ps 11:3) Give us righteous judges.
  10. (Nu 24:5, 9b) Cause us to bless Your people Israel.

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A Prating Fool

Twice in a 3-verse passage, God repeats a unique, obscure warning: “a prating fool shall fall.” (Pr 10:8) (Pr 10:10) What’s He telling us? Definitions help.

  • pulpitrock
    Pulpit Rock, Norway

    Prate: to talk idly and at length, foolishly or tediously; chatter.

  • FoolOne deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.
  • Prating Fool: one who jabbers on and on without making sense.

A prating fool shall fall. God evidently wants us to steer clear of fools and the inevitable collateral damage, and to company with the wise. (Pr 13:20) He’s dedicated an entire book of the Bible to help us distinguish between them.

Wise men spare words (Pr 10:19); God exhorts us to measure each one, speaking only as necessary. (Ja 1:19) This is both for our protection (Pr 13:3) and our promotion. (Pr 17:28). Wisdom walks carefully and thoughtfully, aware that missteps are costly.

Life is tough, but it’s tougher when we’re stupid. Let’s not play the fool, or company with them. Let’s enjoy God and His ways, being careful to heed all His warnings.

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As we make our election sure, examining ourselves and proving we’re in the faith (2Co 13:5), consider a vice that God calls variance: enjoying, as an end in itself, being peculiar, divergent, unusual, at odds, estranged, antagonistic, non-conforming, disagreeable, contentious or quarrelsome. Those enjoying living this way as a manner of life have no part in God’s kingdom. (Ga 5:19-21)

lizardcolorIn cleansing our selves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2Co 7:1), we depart the mainstream; in living truth we expose the world’s lies; as we align more and more with God we find ourselves increasingly opposed to an ungodly culture; in pursuing God we find ourselves in rare and precious company; in finding light and life we inevitably abandon the madding crowd to its love of death and darkness. (Pr 8:36)

Yet deriving significance or importance in being outside the mainstream, in belonging to an elite, exclusive club, delighting in finding others in the wrong, exalting ourselves with superior knowledge or beliefs, disdaining those who haven’t found what we have, is in itself death and darkness. (1Jn_3:14b) How easy it is to be immersed in truth while living a lie! (1Jn 4:20)

Finding our significance in the design of God (Ep 2:10), our comfort in the lovingkindness of God (2Co 1:3-4), our hope in the faithfulness of God, our pleasure in pleasing Him, our delight in enjoying Him and His provision, and our passion in helping others find the Way, this is light and life and love. (1Jn_3:14a)

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The End of All Things

God says to us, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” (1Pe 4:7) If God was exhorting saints to prepare for the end of the world two millennia ago, then we are at a loss; the world didn’t end then and it hasn’t since. Immediate context provides precious little help in interpreting, so we turn to the broader context of Scripture for insight.

BarnInStormThe fact that God pleads with us to not expect Messiah’s return before the time (2Th 2:1-3), suggests God isn’t warning us that the end of the world is upon us; there must first come a falling away, which we still have not seen.

The key here appears to lie in the word end, which may convey the idea of a goal or purpose or final result. (Ja 5:11) If we understand it this way, God is telling us that the goal or purpose of all things, the reason everything happens, is at hand, or obvious, or readily perceived. This purpose is repeated in many places, as in the immediate context, “that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 4:11)

God is evidently telling us that we should be sober, prayerful, thoughtful, deliberate in our actions because He intends to glorify His Son Jesus Christ in and through everything. Though sin should grieve us, we need not fret and worry and stew over rebellion, blindness and brokenness all around us, or try in any way to control any of it; God will glorify Himself in and through all. (Ro 11:36)

Rather than letting corruption steal our joy, we should be thankful in and for all things (Ep 5:20), knowing that our God works all things together for good to those who love Him (Ro 8:28), and allows all for a purpose: to glorify Himself. (Ps 46:10)

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Presumptuous Sin

As there are degrees of sin, there’s also more than one kind; the Psalmist asks God to keep him from presumptuous sin. (Ps 19:13) There’s mercy for sins of ignorance (Nu 15:28); God overlooks them (Ac 17:30), but not lives of willful (He 10:26-27) presumption. (Nu 15:30)

CreepingLavaPresumption is being unwarrantedly, intrusively or impertinently bold; inexcusably forward; a readiness to presume in conduct or thought; knowingly thinking, saying and/or doing things without right or permission. Sin is the violation of God’s Law, Torah. (1Jn 3:4) Presumptious sin then is to willfully break God’s laws, or to take God lightly or for granted; it is to despise YHWH Himself (Lk 10:16), and it’s the worst kind of sin. (Ps 19:13)

Like the Psalmist, let’s run from presumptuous sin! As it dominates us we become slaves to darkness (2Ti 2:25-26); God’s children don’t live like this. (1Jn 3:6-8).

And like the Psalmist, while we’re running from presumption let’s acknowledge that God’s the only One who can restrain us and keep us back from it; if God doesn’t help us we’re all hopelessly wicked. (Is 64:6) But God is faithful (2Th 3:3) to help us become poor in spirit.

As we find ourselves becoming free of presumptuous sin, transformed, elect unto obedience and humility, this is the gift and grace of God (Ro 5:17): we’ve nothing to boast of (Ro 3:27) or take credit for (1Co 4:7), nothing to be proud of, nothing glory in. (1Co 1:29) Let’s rejoice … and only in God Himself. (Je 9:23-24)

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The Word of God

Just as all religions aren’t the same, modern Bible translations are also different. How can we tell which one’s best? Why does it matter?

Well, if we’re not committed to obeying our bible then it really doesn’t matter; we’ll go with whatever happens to make us feel good … hardly noticing when it encourages men to abuse their families, as most of our English translations actually do.

Clements Mountain, Montana

But if we’re hiding our bible in our heart, meditating on it daily and conforming our lives to every word of it, then the version we choose makes all the difference: we should trust it as God’s inspired Word. Is any translation worthy of our trust? How can we know?

As it turns out, I don’t think we need a seminary degree to nail this one; no need to master ancient biblical languages. The history of where our bibles came from sheds some invaluable light: most of our English translations are based on blatant absurdity: The Syrian Recension.

Of the few that remain, the King James Version (KJV) empowered two Great Awakenings, was the backbone of the English speaking world for nearly 300 years, and is the only English bible to have ever been generally accepted as inspired by God’s people. In my humble opinion, this one’s a no-brainer.

The Bible isn’t just any old book; it’s alive and powerful. (He 4:12) God’s Word is food for our soul (Je 15:16), a light to our way (Ps 119:105), a map for our journey (1Ti 3:16-17), and the Spirit’s sword, our weapon of war. (Ep 6:17) Let’s choose our bible wisely; pick one we trust, and obey it as the very Word of God to us. Our spiritual health depends on it.

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A Falling Away

Most evangelical Christians seem to believe the end of the age is upon us, that Christ’s second coming is just around the corner. I’ve found this common in bible-believing circles since the late 70’s … I’ve seldom met an earnest believer that felt otherwise. Evidently, Christians have been feeling this way ever since Christ departed, nearly two millennia ago.

Yet Paul begs us not to expect Messiah’s return prematurely. (2Th 2:1-2) Have we been overlooking something basic? Perhaps a little gullible in our exuberance?

LightedCastleGod’s told us there’ll be a vast change in humanity prior to His return, a wickedness like nothing we’ve ever seen … what He describes as “a falling away.” (2Th 2:3) A city He calls Babylon the Great will rise to supreme dominance in world affairs, the cornerstone of global economic and political power, as well as the epicenter of a new global occult religion. These kinds of things don’t generally happen over night; as of now, she’s nowhere in sight.

Yes, the world’s wicked (1Jn 5:19) and bad things happen: economies grow and collapse, global powers rise and fall, deadly new diseases appear, social norms drift and natural disasters disrupt it all … and it’s always been this way. (Mk 13:7-8)

Let’s be sane in the midst of it all, no longer giving occasion to the world to mock God’s people by claiming Christ’s return is near. Let’s walk in wisdom, in hope, delighting in the goodness of God, knowing He’s sovereign and faithfuljoying in Him and edifying one another.

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The Second Death

Mt. Etna, Sicily

Yeshua uses unmistakably graphic language to describe Hell. (Mk 9:43-44, 45-46, 47-48) He’s warning us to do all we can to avoid it. Who among us will go there? (Is 33:14) What would it be like do die the second death?

Before coming to faith I dwelt here, meditating on the terror of the Lord; it moved me to repent and seek God until I found salvation. This is, in fact, God’s norm in evangelism. (Jud 1:22-23)

The Lake of Fire is the dreadful fate of all who fail to find their eternal home in Christ. (Re 21:8) Fear of spending eternity in Hell drives the wise to ensure their election, until they’re as sure of Heaven as Christ Himself. Take no chances: perfect assurance of eternal salvation is available; nothing less is acceptable.

Only a few diligently secure their place in Heaven; whatever it takes, be one of them. (Mt 7:13)

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Too Painful

When I lose sleep over injustice, and recently it seems to be often, I know I’m not handling it well — it’s too painful for me (Ps 73:16); I’m letting the enemy steal my joy. (Php 4:6) It’s time for a little reminder: God is just. (Pr 2:8)

What if God always rewarded good and evil with immediate pleasure or pain,BarnStorm training us like Pavlov’s dogs? We’d never know the depravity of the human heart … or the goodness of God.

In order to fully reveal Himself God must allow evil to go unchecked for a season; this exposes the human heart, and provides Jehovah a venue to glorify Himself. (Ro 9:22-23) The season may be longer than we’d like, but it’s a necessity.

I remind myself that God is faithful; He will bring every secret thing out into light; all will be revealed (Mk 4:22), dealt with and straightened out. (Lk 3:5-6) He may not be as prompt we’d like, but He’s perfectly just (Ro 2:2) and His timing’s always best. (Ps 104:31) My focus is to walk worthy of Christ, in intimate fellowship with God, and leave the rest to Him. (Ro 14:4)

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The New Month

Since the moon is central in the timing of God’s feasts, celebrating each new Eclipsemonth is natural in God’s kingdom. (Is 66:23)

YHWH doesn’t tell us exactly how to do this, but it’s easy for saints to come together under an open sky to worshipfully enjoy each new moon. Like anything else, the more familiar we are with lunar phases the easier this will be.

Monthly worship rhythms keep us aligned with God’s calendar in community, and encourage us to anticipate and prepare for each biblical feast as it approaches, keeping us in touch with God’s prophetic timeline(Col 2:16)

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