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Posts Tagged ‘National Day of Prayer’

The theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer (May 5, 2016) is ‘Wake Up America.’ The emphasis is upon the need for Christians to “return to the God of our Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name.” The representative verse the NDP committee has chosen is Isaiah 58:1a:

Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.

I like it, but before we all set out to participate in this year’s event, I’d

ndplike to elaborate upon their import, at least as far as it pertains to consequence, as I suspect a certain presidential candidate’s name is going to come up a lot in our prayers today.  If (or when) God pours out His wrath on America it won’t entirely be because of a heathen in the White House, but because there are heathens in His house as well. So before we go around proclaiming, “Surely God’s wrath is coming now!” we should submit to a little self evaluation.

Let us consider the NDP theme Scripture verse from a few years ago:

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, emphasis mine)
Take note that the passage does not begin, “If my people, which are called by My name, shall elect a godly man…”

If you’re a Christian and you’re concerned about the wrath that is coming, focus on the log that might be in your own eye — that person you’re shacked up with, that lifestyle you embrace, that porn you watch, that substance you abuse; you get the picture. Be ye revived! Some would say you aren’t even born again, so if that’s the case, be ye born again!

You say you’re saved and there’s nothing in your eye? Great! Turn your attention to that brother or sister wallowing in their habitual sin and lovingly bring them back into the fold.

It will serve us all well to remember that God’s wrath is not coming solely because your guy at the gas station is a Muslim, your doctor in the hospital is a Hindu, your mechanic at Pep Boys is an atheist, or your man in the White House is bombastic. These are folks we should be sharing the Gospel with,  but remember, when His wrath comes it will be partly because of the filth within the body of Christ, the Church. That should sting a little.
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“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger (wrath) of God is coming.” (Colossians 3:1-6 NLT)
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That Colossi-warning was written not to the world, but to the saints (Ephesians 5 repeats the warning to the church), and one of the reasons why 2 Chronicles 7:14 is applicable not only to historic Israel, but to our nation today. So perhaps when we pray today, we should focus not on others (so much), but ourselves and in the spirit of revival.
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“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God…(Praise the Lord, but)…whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (Romans 5:9; John 3:36b)
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Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2

I really didn’t want to enter the 50 Shades debate. I think it was because I’m still reeling from the President of the United States 1standing up before the 2015 National Day of Prayer and reminding us all that we should dismount our ‘high horses’ of anger and justice (in regard to Muslims burning a man alive), and pause to remember the church’s historical record. I’ve this vision of President Obama calling me out, “Ya know Dave, I think you should get off your ‘high horse’ and stop talking about all this ‘sex within marriage’ stuff. Seems to me your record on this issue makes you a hypocrite.”

Ya know Dave, I think you should get off your ‘high horse’ and stop talking about all this ‘sex within marriage only’ stuff.” 

Ugh

He’s right.

Where do I get off warning others about their sexual exploits after I’ve had my fill. While I’m at it, what business do I have warning others about drug and alcohol abuse, drunk driving, aggravated assault, or dare I say murder. Let the record show that Dave has lots and lots of blood on his hands.

A ‘Biblical Reality’ Check

This is where we all need to pause and consider all the players in the Bible, save Jesus. Can you think of one who was without sin? Me either. But yet these same men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote the Bible. My mind immediately flashes to the Apostle Paul; a guy who arrested and murdered Christians, not unlike some barbarian Muslims we know! How dare this wretched man offer us Godly counsel and call it wise.

Ah, but for the grace of God, there go I.

Our One Defense

For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Romans 3:28

Sinners have only one defense in this matter: we boldly proclaim Biblical truth because we are justified by our saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is not the Christian who speaks, but the saint who is robed in His righteousness. No one in Christ’s church sits upon a high horse except Christ Himself, and it is in His name we may speak. It is for this reason I often declare on these matters that I have no opinion – I have a Bible. Therefore, we boldly proclaim that sex outside of marriage (i.e., marriage between a man and a woman) is wrong because God has said so.

I Don’t Agree

Please don’t argue with me or anyone else, read Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; and Jude 7 for yourself. If you still don’t agree, bring your debate to God, however trust me, “But Dave did it,” is not good fodder for your argument! The Bible commands complete abstinence before marriage, with sex between a husband and his wife being the only sexual relationship God approves.

It’s Black and White

5o Shades of Grey is nothing more than perversion. Even when I was active in my sexual sin I would have recognized this book as perverted, depraved, and pornographic. There’s nothing gray about it being smut. Know this: if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ and find yourself attracted to this book (and reportedly there are many), you are being deceived and you’re opening a door to consequences you may not be prepared for. Check out the last verse of Romans 1.

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:32

Earlier in this same Book, the Apostle Paul makes ill mention of all practitioners of unrighteousness, with dishonorable recognition going towards fornication, inventors of evil things, an unnatural affections. If we stop reading after verse 31, we might ride away on our high horses saying, “Shame on these evil doers,” but verse 32 serves to knock us out of the saddle by reminding us that if watch (or read) from the sidelines, we’re just as guilty.

Please don’t reject 50 Shades because some hypocrite told you it was filth; reject it because God says it’s more harmful than you know.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:7-9

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“You shall make an altar to burn incense on…” Exodus 30:1No Coincidences

I do not believe it to be coincidence that this passage was the focus of my Bible study today—the day after the National Day of Prayer. For those of you who participated in yesterday’s event, I hope you do not see it as coincidence either. For myself, it is as if this morning Jesus sited a coda upon last night’s final petition—a reminder of His continual efforts and how privileged we are to do similarly. Picture Jesus Christ as we inspect the Altar of Incense and let us see our reflection in its golden exterior also.

Lord, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:1-2

An altar to burn incense…

This is not the brass altar standing in the courtyard of the Tabernacle. That fixture speaks of both judgment and sacrifice and it is uncomplicated to see it embodying Christ’s finished work on the cross. This altar, located in the Holy Place, is a gold-covered wood device, the likes of which depict our Jesus in both His humanity and deity.

We have an altar (of brass) from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hebrews 13:10-12

A cubit shall be its length…

This piece of furniture is the smallest in the tabernacle—approximately eighteen inches square and three feet high. It brings to mind that although Jesus makes continual intercession on our behalf, it is simply sufficient. He would in fact tell us that the length and scope of our prayers is not what matters, but rather the potency or sincerity of them.

Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

A molding of gold all around…

This molding speaks of a golden crown for our King Jesus, while at the altar of sacrifice a crown of thorns was thrust upon His head. This altar’s rim also had a purpose—to keep the incense on the table so that not one piece (or prayer) falls to the ground. Imagine if this were not the case with Jesus; if He occasionally dropped a prayer, if His intervention for us wavered before the Throne. Our lives are not tough, for a tough life is one where Jesus no longer interceded for us.

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them…Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy… Hebrews 7:25; Jude 1:24

Put it before the veil…before the ark of the Testimony

There is nothing closer to the Ark of the Testimony than the Altar if Incense. That demonstrates for us that there is no way to be closer to the Throne of God then to come before Him in prayer. It is what Jesus does continually and it should be what we do as well.

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:33

Burn incense on it…perpetual incense

As it pertains to Jesus, this speaks of His present ministry of perpetual prayer on our behalf and to us it speaks to our aspiration and purpose in Christ Jesus. Our enemy desires to take us down one-by-one and his efforts towards that end our incessant. No One is more aware of this fact than Jesus and like the Good Shepard, He watches over His flock with persistence and determination unlike any other. Therefore, it is our reasonable service to respond as the Shepard guides us.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-32

Make atonement upon its horns once a year

Finally there is the blood. There was to be no sacrifice on this altar, but there was to be a memorial. ‘Horns’ throughout the Bible speak to power and there is no exception here. The horns unto themselves possess no power, but they speak to the power of Jesus our Lord. There is also power in the blood—His blood and the ritual here reminds us to be ever mindful of the power of Christ’s sacrifice and that by His act we might have relationship through prayer with the Most High.

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:15


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