Links & Quotes

link quote

Some great reading from today.

“All of the advertising we can do will never equal the interest and participation in the things of God resulting from the gracious answers to the prayers of faith generated by the Holy Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer

“The state of the times extremely requires a fullness of the divine Spirit in ministers, and we ought to give ourselves no rest till we have obtained it. And in order to [do] this, I should think ministers, above all persons, ought to be much in secret prayer and fasting, and also much in praying and fasting one with another. It seems to me it would be becoming the circumstances of the present day, if ministers in a neighborhood would often meet together and spend days in fasting and fervent prayer among themselves, earnestly seeking for those extraordinary supplies of divine grace from heaven, that we need at this day.” —Jonathan Edwards

Why is the media not in an uproar over this?! Pakistani Girls Forced to Renounce Christianity And Marry Muslims

“There is a bond: He takes it and crosses it all out and hands it back to you, and says, ‘There is a full discharge, I have blotted it all out.’ So does the Lord deal with penitents. He has a book in which all your debts are written; but with the blood of Christ He crosses out the handwriting of ordinances which is there written against you. The bond is destroyed, and He will not demand payment for it again. The devil will sometimes insinuate to the contrary, as he did to Martin Luther. ‘Bring me the catalogue of my sins,’ said Luther; and he brought a scroll black and long. ‘Is that all?’ said Luther. ‘No,’ said the devil; and he brought yet another. ‘And now,’ said the heroic saint of God, ‘write at the foot of the scroll: “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin.”’ That is a full discharge.” —Charles Spurgeon

Funny, but instructional, from Ken Davis: Five Super Powers Of Effective Leaders!

I-Have-To-Have-It Attitude

In our Live Dead series, we have been talking about different areas we need to allow to die, so that we might truly live for Christ as His disciples.

One of the things that often gets in the way of our pursuit of Christ is our cravings. This word — which the dictionary defines as a longing or an eager desire — has an interesting origin. The root word in both Latin and Old English means to lay claim to or to demand by right.

In other words, a craving is when something that was originally a want has now become a need in my mind. So I lay claim to it, saying that it’s something that is owed to me.

The Apostle Paul talks about cravings that we all had before we came to know Christ as Savior when he wrote, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (Ephesians 2:3).

This same Greek word shows up in Christ’s parable of the sower when He talks about the seed that falls among the weeds. These people, He explains, allow the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the Word (Mark 4:19).

Gratifying my cravings = choking out the life of Christ.

The problem is that this craving or desire for things other than Christ is often an unconscious habit. We have allowed them to become cravings — laying our claim to them as needs — without even realizing it.

The antidote: fasting. When we give up something, the Holy Spirit can show us if that thing has created an I-Have-To-Have-It attitude in our hearts. This spiritual discipline is hard because our bodies will rebel against having to give up “a right.” But when we press through with this discipline of fasting, God describes the results —

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I. (Isaiah 58:8-9)

That’s how I want to live! So I must live dead to my cravings. I can only do this when I allow a time of fasting to open my heart to hear the Holy Spirit point out all my I-Have-To-Have-It attitudes.

National Day Of Prayer & Fasting

Many times in our nation’s history, our presidents have called for a time for our citizens to pause from their normal routine, and seek God’s face in prayer. America needs prayer! But instead of this call to prayer coming from Washington, D.C., this one comes from Austin, TX, as Governor Rick Perry is appealing for us to pray.

Part of his proclamation reads —

Given the trials that beset our nation and world, from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and continued debasement of our culture, I believe it is time to convene the leaders from each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel. I urge all Americans of faith to pray on that day for the healing of our country, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of enduring values as our guiding force.

Right on cue the “usual suspects” have filed a lawsuit to stop this, claiming its unconstitutionality. HA!! One of those leading the charge to stop this day of prayer and fasting even said, “Nothing fails like prayer. It’s the ultimate political cop-out.” [1] DOUBLE HA!!

I won’t presume to speak for anyone else, but I know from personal experience that prayer works! And I also know from my history books that our Founding Fathers would be appalled at those who continually try to paint them as atheists or deists.

The Founding Fathers were so emphatic in their belief that prayer was to be an integral part of daily public life and public service that by 1815 they had called the people to pray 1,400 times! [2]

If you’d care to peruse some of the national, presidential calls to prayer from our so-called atheist/deist presidents, check out the resources at Wall Builders to see quotes from George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and others.

Despite the naysayers’ complaints, I’m answering Gov. Perry’s call to prayer and fasting on Saturday, August 6, 2011. I hope you will join me!

Fasting (book review)

It’s one of the age-old practices for nearly every religion, but there is still so much mystery surrounding fasting. But Scot McKnight’s book simply entitled Fasting is a simple, straightforward explanation of how to apply this ancient discipline.

I appreciated Scot’s blending of passages from the Bible, the writings of the church fathers, and examples and excerpts from modern writers to present a well-rounded look at fasting. Scot lays the groundwork in the opening pages by giving this working definition —

The Bible presents a responsive view of fasting. Fasting is a response to a grievous sacred moment.

Throughout Fasting, Scot reiterates that we don’t fast to try to get God’s attention, but we fast because we are heartbroken over our condition or the condition of others, and we’re so desperate to see God move. In the process of fasting, our body, soul, and spirit become fully engaged and lead us into a place where we are the ones who are changed. We begin to see those “grievous sacred moments” through God’s eyes, and we begin to feel the same pain He feels.

Those who yearn for God the most often realize the superficiality of their intimacy with God, fast in response to that superficiality, and then (on the other side) find themselves entranced in the presence of the angels and God.

If you yearn for greater intimacy with God, I would encourage you to check out Fasting.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Failure To Recognize

 

The Apostle John opens his gospel account with these sobering words —

[Jesus] was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. (John 1:10)

Commenting on this verse, A.W. Tozer wrote —

My fellow man, do you not know that your great sin is this: the all-pervading and eternal Presence is here, and you cannot feel Him? Are you not aware that there is a great and true Light which brightly shines — and you cannot see it? Have you not heard within your being a tender Voice whispering of the eternal value of your soul — and yet you have said, “I have heard nothing”? This is, in essence, the charge that John levels at human kind: Jesus Christ, the Word of God, was in the world, and the world failed to recognize Him.

I never want to be guilty of failing to recognize Jesus! Sometimes in the busyness of life — even the busyness of the ministry of the church — I can become guilty of being focused on the activity, instead of focusing on Christ, Who is supposed to be the focus of my activity.

So we’re taking a “time out” today. As a church we are fasting and praying for 24-hours to cleanse our hearts to recognize Jesus, and to recognize what He wants to accomplish as we commemorate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday later this month.

Fasting

We’re fasting today.

I believe in this: Prayer + Fasting = Breakthroughs.

Even though this looks like a mathematical formula, it doesn’t work like a formula. Jesus challenged religious people who fasted just because. Jesus was really echoing the words God spoke in Isaiah about religious people simply going through pious acts, but their hearts were still far away from God. They thought God operated on a formula: “If we fast, then God has to….” It doesn’t work that way.

We met together for a time of worship and Bible study last night, and we’ll conclude our fast with corporate prayer this evening. We are focusing on our heart attitude. Not fasting just because or even the pastor asked us to. But fasting because we are hungry for God to move … for Him to break chains … for Him to set people free … for breakthroughs!

I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in us and then through us as we spend this time seeking His heart. Prayer + Fasting = Breakthroughs.

Whirlwind Weekend

I’m up early (as usual, since this is the best time of the day!) getting ready for a full weekend. As a general rule I consider Saturday my Sabbath Day. Sundays are usually “work days” for me, although I don’t feel like I’m working when I’m at church… it’s just way too fulfilling. But this weekend is going to be a little different.

Studying my Bible this morning, because it’s the best way to start every day. Looking at the life and leadership of Nehemiah.

Still fasting along with our Impact! youth group until noon today. I’m just so proud of these leaders for setting a great example. Hey, if you’re in the area over the next four Wednesdays at 7:00pm we’re talking about setting an example from the life of Timothy. Join us and you’ll see some real live example-setters!

Sipping some green tea and praying for some very special friends. I love the connection to our Heavenly Father I have in prayer.

Scooting south in a couple of hours for a family reunion with my missionary relatives. These family members are my heroes! They serve in Israel and Sudan, and it’s rare that they’re in the USA at the same time. This summer is one of those times, so we’re going to enjoy catching up.

So missing (already!) not being at our new home on Sunday. I haven’t even spoken on a Sunday as the “official” pastor yet, but it already feels like home. I can’t wait to get back!

Synced my iPod with some great listening for the 8-hour roundtrip this weekend. Going to get some good stuff in me while I have the windshield time.

A busy weekend, but one I know will recharge my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual batteries. What’s on tap for your weekend? I pray it is as fulfilling as I know mine will be.

Get Ready For Impact!

Yesterday on Facebook I jumped into a conversation that a couple of guys from our Impact! youth group were having. I loved it — they were trying to organize a 24-hour gathering to pray and fast.

When spiritually hungry people make this sort of commitment, I just know God is going to show up in a powerful way. King David said, “Blessed are they who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart” (Psalm 119:2).

There’s no greater way to seek God with all your heart than to deny yourselves and focus on His provision.

So beginning at noon today, nearly 20 of our Impact! youth group will be camping out on the church property. They’ll be praying, fasting, worshiping, and intently seeking God’s favor for the needs which are confronting us. The fast will continue until noon Friday. If you can, join them on-site. Otherwise, fast with them wherever you are.

You can post a prayer request in the comment section below, and you can also check back here to see prayer requests and thoughts that the group will be sharing during their 24-hour season of prayer. We’ve also setup a Twitter account to follow real-time updates from the group.

I’m so proud of these students for taking the initiative to seek God with all their heart!

UPDATE… pictures are being added here.

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