Shall We Pray?

Natl Day of Prayer

Shortly after Dallas Seminary was founded in 1924, it almost folded. It came to the point of bankruptcy. All the creditors were ready to foreclose at twelve noon on a particular day. That morning, the founders of the school met in the president’s office to pray that God would provide. In that prayer meeting was Harry Ironside. When it was his turn to pray, he said in his refreshingly candid way, “Lord we know that the cattle on a thousand hills are Thine. Please sell some of them and send us the money.”

Just about that time, a tall Texan in boots and an open-collar shirt strolled into the business office. “Howdy!” he said to the secretary. “I just sold two carloads of cattle over in Fort Worth. I’ve been trying to make a business deal go through, but it just won’t work. I feel God wants me to give this money to the seminary. I don’t know if you need it or not, but here’s the check,” and he handed it over.
The secretary took the check and, knowing something of the critical nature of the hour, went to the door of the prayer meeting and timidly tapped. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder and president of the school, answered the door and took the check from her hand. When he looked at the amount, it was for the exact sum of the debt. Then he recognized the name on the check as that of the cattleman. Turning to Dr. Ironside, he said, “Harry, God sold the cattle.”

Today we are being asked to spend some time seeking the Lord in humble prayer for ourselves and our nation.

President Abraham Lincoln wrote this in 1863 calling the nation to prayer.

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”

Will you Believe? Shall we pray!

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“What Does It Mean When They Say…”

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bob passport

“How Do You Walk in the Spirit?” 

“How do you just ‘Give it to God?'”

Walking in the Spirit refers to living in dependence upon the leading and directing of the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches us that every true believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling them from the moment of salvation. The Spirit of God regenerates, seals, and sanctifies the child of God. In addition, He leads the child of God in the ways that God wants His child to go. So simply put, to “walking in the Spirit” means to live sensitive and submissive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

A technology that has been around for a while now serves to illustrate what this means. It is called “Dynamic Positioning”. It is used on deep sea platforms that must stay in a set location in order to do drilling but are only kept in place by constant correction made by thrusters on the sides of the platforms. By means of computers they are constantly checking their exact location by GPS and then making very minor adjustments to keep themselves right where they are supposed to be.

So the Spirit-filled child of God will be listening for and responding to God’s Holy Spirit all through the day! So as Paul says, “If we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:25). In other words, since the Spirit has given us God’s Life, let is learn to trust the same Spirit moment by moment in this life!

Sometimes people will say “Just give it all to God” or “Just Let Go, Let God!” but what does that mean and how do you actually do it?

This speaks of dedicating some circumstance, decision or issue in your life to the Lord and then truly believing that He is in charge and going to do what is best for you. It is a popular way of saying “Really trust God about this matter and stop striving to make things turn out the way you prefer.”

If a child should fear a commercial airplane might crash and was allowed to enter the cockpit. The child might ask to help “steer the plane” out of his insecurity. Perhaps a pilot knowing the plane was being controlled by the plane’s computer might even allow the child to sit in his lap and put his hands on the controls. The child might even fear that the plane was changing course and think he was in real danger. The child’s attempts to “steer” the plane at that point are of no consequence and doing nothing to help the plane stay on a safe course. The plane is being controlled beyond the child’s awareness and above the child’s comprehension.

In the same way, “Giving it to God” means truly accepting that God is in control and then choosing to rest in His ability to keep His promise to work all things out for our good and His glory.

Kingdom Reversals

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So many things in God’s Kingdom are backwards from our way of thinking or reversed from the value system we have been raised with.

“The first shall be last and the last first” Matthew 19:30

“Blessed are the poor” Luke 6:20

“God chooses the base things and the despised” 1 Cor. 1:28

The one I want to think out loud with you about for a few minutes is how God uses the broken.

When we find something is broken we either repair it, replace it or simply stop using it.

In my garage I have a million watt spotlight that I bought eight years ago. It is amazing! If ever there is a burglar trying to hide in my neighbors bushes, he won’t have a chance! If I need to signal a passing commercial airliner at 35,000 feet, no problem! The only thing is… it’s broken! It stopped working seven years ago. Not sure why.

I refuse to throw it away. It might start working again on it’s own! Besides I paid 20 bucks for it!

I can’t fix it – no one sells parts!

I won’t buy another one. Why should I? The cops haven’t bothered to ask for my help and the airlines routinely fly overhead ignoring the awesome potential that I used to have!

Bottom line: It’s broken and simply one more piece of garbage that I have refused to admit that I have on my shelf.

On the other hand…

Jacob lived for 20 years knowing the Lord as his God. He had met the Lord that crazy night in Bethel in a dream. He made a deal with the Lord to be his God.- how kind of him! (Gen 28:21). However, Jacob continued to live pretty much the same as he always had BEFORE meeting the Lord. He figured out what he wanted (including who he wanted to marry) and worked hard for it. He made some good business deals and struggled to better himself personally and financially. Finally, he felt led to go home.

However, while on his way there, with his large family and servants and flocks, he hears that his brother Esau is coming to meet him. The problem is that the last Jacob knew, Esau was planning to kill him for stealing his birthright by deceiving their father Isaac

Now Jacob was in trouble., He wasn’t young, single or able to simply run from his sins as he had before. Now he was responsible for his wives, his sons and for protecting their assets. He does do what he can which is to divide the family into two groups sending them ahead and also send gifts by his servants to his brother, hoping to assuage his brother’s wrath and desire for revenge.

Then after he has done all he can, Jacob is left alone. This is often when it happens.

The Bible records that an angel wrestled with Jacob in the night and in the end cripples him by touching the socket of his thigh. Suddenly  Jacob is a broken man. He is in hurting, alone and he has absolutely nothing but God to cling to and in whom to trust. At the very lowest point in Jacob’s life, when his past sins are coming back to haunt him and he has nothing but fear and regrets around him, God changes his name to “Israel” which means “Governed By God”.

Now, a shattered man is ready to face whatever lies ahead.

Not because he is strong but because he is weak.

Not because he is so usable but because he is completely broken.

Now, Jacob becomes the example God can point to for anyone who wishes to live and die in faith.

I love the postscript on Jacob’s life in Hebrews 11:21

By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Right to the end of his life Jacob “Blessed, worshiped and leaned

Wouldn’t it be great if you could be this usable to the Lord?

You can! But you must realize God intends to break you:

Not like my spotlight that sits broken and unused on the shelf.

But like the Twixt bar you break to share with a friend!

Remember what it says about the loaves “Jesus blessed them and broke them and gave them

The breaking is the preparing of the Lord for the giving of the blessing to someone else!

Which Way Do I Go?

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Alice meets The Cheshire Cat in a tree. It constantly grins and can disappear and reappear whenever it likes. Sometimes it disappears and leaves its grin behind.

On one occasion, Alice is perplexed as she approaches a fork in the road.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” she says. 

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to” says the Cat.

“I don’t much care, where” says Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter much which way you go” says the Cat.

How true.

How important it is for us as believers to discern the purposes and the direction of God for our lives. Sometimes, it feels as if we are sailing the seas of life, blown by winds, drawn by currents wherever time and chance direct our sail-less dingy to go. 

However, we must remember God’s wonderful promise in Psalm 32.

      “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;

       I will counsel you with My eye upon you.  

       Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,

       Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,

       Otherwise they will not come near to you.” (Psalm 32:8-9)

So according to God’s Word “There is a way you should go”. That means there are plenty of other ways you should NOT go!

Most of us have learned there are many different ways to fall off a cliff, but only one road that is leads to the other side of the mountain. 

How do I discern the will of God? How do I know which way to go?

Much could be said. Much more has been written. But perhaps we can simplify it.

Often our tendency is to consult only the outward circumstances or merely our own desires and perhaps even block out unwanted counsel from godly friends. Remember God wants to direct you but you do need to step out in faith trusting He will steer you as you “step” out to do His will. You cannot steer a parked car and God won’t often steer a “parked Christian”.
As Paul the apostle set out on the first missionary journey he began to get direction of where he wasn’t suppose to go (as he attempted to go there). Then, as he got to the road’s end and no doubt was seeking the Lord, God gives him further direction.
The saying here is helpful “Do what you know and you will know what to do”. Remember, following the Lord is  like walking with a lantern. You can see only a few feet ahead of you when you are carrying a lantern. However, as you take a step, you discover now you can see farther than you could before you took the step! That’s how it is with God’s direction: Step By Step!

First. Pray.

James says “You have not because you ask not. If anyone lacks wisdom let him ask.”

Remember even someone as godly as Joshua was misled because he leaned on his own understanding rather asking the Lord for direction.

Then consider the following:

This illustration shows how to line up five crucial factors that will help a person seek and understand the will of God. Each light represents a factor and the safety of the harbor represents God’s will. As we line up the lights (factors) we can sail safely into the harbor (God’s Will).

Happy Sailing!