Posts Tagged ‘obedience’

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

Prayer Warrior

It’s a term we all recognize. I have used it, my pastor has used it, and probably every Christian I’ve been blessed to schmooze with through the years, has used it. We use the expression because it best prayerwarrior7describes the actions of those of the faith who earnestly lift others in prayer; who consistently and persistently go before the Lord with all requests, supplications, intercessions, and thanksgivings, and often time while possessing prayer lists and maintaining prayer logs. They are classified as our  ‘go to’ people within the body of Christ when an appeal, a plea, or petition is desired. That brings me to a twofold question:

“Is the label right (and by ‘right’ I mean Biblical), and is it harmful?”

I’ll explain. First…

Is it Biblical?

The short answer is, I don’t believe so. While there are certainly folks in the church who fit the definition, I’m not convinced God would concur that a special designation is called for. Is being a prayer zealot a gift of the Holy Spirit? If so, I’m not seeing it. The Bible records three main passages regarding spiritual gifts: Romans 12:6-8;1 Corinthians 12:4-11; and 1 Corinthians 12:28. According to the list, we see…

Prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, mercy, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues, helps, governments, and diversities of tongues.

But, I don’t see prayer warrior on the list.

I suppose you could make an argument that tenacious prayer falls under one (or more) of these categories, but I sense that’s when we begin to stretch the doctrine a little too thin. Let’s be honest, prayer is a vital component of each of these giftings, but is not the actual gift.

Is it Harmful?

Yes, I believe it is, and I’ll tell you why — our Father in Heaven desires that we all pray in this manner. Could we really believe that the Lord would want us to delegate our conversation to somebody else; someone who we perceive is better at it then we are? Where in the Bible does God suggest to us to go find a prayer warrior, or even to make a separate distinction? Nowhere that I can find, but I do see this…

“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.” Acts 10:34

Elevating someone to the status of prayer warrior may encourage the believer who happens to fit the mold, but it simultaneously sends an erroneous message that this person is gifted in a way that we are not, and therefore, we have been relieved of this duty. Do we really believe that? Aren’t prayer warriors doing the very thing that we are called to do? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that prayer warriors are obedient, rather than gifted? Finally, should we be seeking out a prayer mediator when the Father has already provided us one?

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” 

Haven’t we also been given a Helper in our pursuit of prayer?

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26

Here’s the truth — God desires all His children pray in this manner! The fact that you don’t now is not the point. God never intended that in your discouragement (in this regard) you turn to another Christian, but rather you turn to Him. Therein lies the point!

Look at these directives from God’s word…

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

There is nothing in there that remotely suggests we find a prayer warrior to do this for us.

Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19

Do you see anything in there that implies this is somebody else’s job? Me either. The one thing that does jump out at me [is] that if we’re not praying like this, we’re throwing water on the fire that is the Holy Spirit. That cannot be good.

One more…

“Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:17-18

The Last Word

Try to look at like this — it’s the church (not God) that has created a prayer warrior status. When we serve to encourage others with the moniker, it is a wonderful, Christian gesture, but what we’re really saying (when we use the term), is that we recognize there is a great void within the body Christ that only very few are filling. It might be better to recognize this Christian’s faithful obedience instead. May I suggest that the next time we sense the need to identify another believer in this manner, that we also ask the Lord to examine our own hearts to determine why the title is not befitting for us. The question should not be, “Lord, why am I not a prayer warrior,”  but rather, “Why am I not submitted to Your will in my life?”

Am I suggesting we should not seek out others to pray for us?

Heaven forbid!

We are called to pray for one another. I’m saying that there is not a circumstance to ever shy away from being the type of communicant the Lord wants us to be or to relegate the duty to someone else. God wants to talk with us directly and has fully equipped us to be fervent communicators.

Talk — God is listening.

If you enjoyed the post please like it, share it, comment on it, or subscribe to it. Frankly, I am blessed that you stopped by to read it today. God bless you too!

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Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him. Judges 10:6

Quotes For Today

“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words…When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint”

“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?”

These would be such precise assessments of today’s youth, had they not been penned well over a thousand years ago. The first quote is attributed to the 8th century Greek poet Hesiod and the second to the 5th century Greek philosopher Plato. Apparently there is nothing new under God’s sun. Things have not changed one crumb, except to say that there are now billions of people in the world making the perversity appear a billion times worse. We should not be surprised. In the Book of Judges the Lord raises up deliverer after deliverer and each time, the children of Israel repeatedly do evil in the sight of the Lord. If we weren’t so culpable ourselves, we might be shocked.

Why Does This Happen?

Well the short answer is that we’re all sinners, however for the born-again believer, that excuse no longer floats. A true follower of Christ Jesus; one who is enveloped in the components of the faith, should know better. So what happened with Israel? In their case they were recurrently guilty of what we’re so often guilty of: complacency. God would save them, there would be peace in the land for forty years or so (the length of a generation), and then the next generation would fall away into idolatry. Why? Because the previous generation kept their faith to themselves; they were self-satisfied and made little or no effort to carry on the oral traditions of their faith. God warned them (and He warns us today) that this would happen…

When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest–when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage… Deuteronomy 8:10-14

We Have an Advantage

Today, we have Israel’s example recorded for us in God’s word. Back in the day, Israel relied on their own oral tradition. Not an excuse mind you, but nevertheless, they did not have the Bible to refer to. I only mention that fact as a reminder—the Christian has God’s Word and His Holy Spirit living inside of us. It does make you wonder why we make the same brainless errors though.

And the children of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray.” So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord. Judges 10:15-16

The Good News

Like I said earlier, nothing much has changed through the years—God’s formula is still the same: confess, submit, and repent. Confess our sin, submit to the consequences (and there are always consequences), turn away from sin and turn towards Jesus Christ with an obedient heart. Ladies and gentlemen, we serve the God of second, and third, and fourth, and…chances. A horrible experience is the best teacher, but it does not have to be your experience.


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If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce…you shall eat your bread to the full…I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid…your enemies shall fall by the sword before you…I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you…You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new…I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. Leviticus 26:3-10Enormous Promise

“If, ” God says, we walk in His ways, retain and execute His commandments, He will supply provision, spiritual richness, serenity, authority, and most of all His presence. This is a promise from our Lord based not on our performance, but our determination—God alone knows the heart.

Read the Leviticus passage again. Are you suffering in any of these areas? The solution is simple—determine in your heart to walk in all His ways. Failure is not determined by how often we stumble; the reality is that stumbling is a distinctive of the believer’s tenacity. No, failure comes with disobedience; when we falsely believe there is another way to achieve that which God desires to provide by His grace and mercy. What does failure look like? Read the following passage:

But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you. ’And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit. ’Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins. Leviticus 26:14-21

Why So Brutal?

Do these things seem brutal to you? For many it seems God has gone way over the top for those who choose to disobey Him. That’s not how I see it. I see a God who loves us so very much; He has made it vividly clear—as far as the east is from the west, as different black is from white, God has made the choice an obvious one. Plainly said, “You can’t blame the label maker when you choose to sip the poison.”

A Liberal Return Policy

What you have to love about our God is that He keeps the door open for a very long time. He will allow us to walk in disobedience for years and years, and then use those consequences we’ve endured as the very road signs pointing us towards salvation in His Son Jesus the Christ.

But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me…then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. Leviticus 26:40 + 42

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Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsBehold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5Many read this text and collectively scratch their heads wondering what is David suggesting and what exactly is he pronouncing against his mother. Very simply he is confirming that we–his own mother included, are sinners. His declaration is not that procreation is sinful, but rather at the point of conception two sinners have accomplished bringing yet another sinner into the world. The fact that the world largely rejects this doctrine is a cause why the world suffers as it does today. We need to grasp the truth that we are not sinners because we sin, but rather we sin because we are born sinners.

Consider Communism as Proof

Examine the principles of communism and you might think it initially a wonderful concept and perhaps even perplexed as to why it never panned-out. Just today I discovered the false premise on which Karl Marx constructed his model and understand why the entire concept was doomed before it even began–Marx asserted thatthat all men are inherently good. That idyllic philosophy is in direct contrast to the truth regarding sinful man.

And by the way, we might find it interesting that the only reason our capitalistic system works is because it is based (whether we realize it or not) soundly on God’s truth. Capitalism succeeds (for lack of a better word), because man is fundamentally self-centered and given the prospect of keeping that which he has made, drives him to make more. It works because man has essentially tapped into his own sinful nature and the reality of its success is nothing more than a sad commentary confirming what God has said all along…

There is none righteous, no, not one… Romans 3:10

His Remedy

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him. He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Proverbs 22:15; 13:24

We need to address the issue (as truth) somewhere and there is likely no better place than in the home. Spanking our children is not a solution to the sin problem, but it is a treatment that will serve to keep the propensity to sin in check. More importantly it helps our children to understand the difference between right and wrong and affords them a release-mechanism for their guilt. Sorry, but timeouts do not achieve the same result—all one need do is look at our penal system to understand that timeout-theology is a largely a wasted effort.

God knows discipline is painful—our Lord knows all about pain. We need to reflect on that when we are seeking a softer solution to our discipline problems–what if He had sought an easier way. Our gratitude should be displayed in our obedience. When it comes to discipline, let us stop searching for painless responses where none exist.

His Solution

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11

As Christians we know that the only cure for our sinful condition is found in Christ Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross. We would not have come to this realization had we not first recognized that we were sinners and without that basic appreciation there can be no discernment regarding the need for a Savior. Now I am not blaming my parents, but I have a strong sense that had my folks been more direct and unwavering in their disciplinary strategy, I may have sooner come to understanding the type of person I am. And today I look at my two oldest and reflect on the disservice I did them by not being consistent in this same quarter. For the most part, I would say that they would agree.

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And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. Exodus 14:13-15God, Aren’t You Paying Attention?

To some this is an unusual passage of scripture. It begins unmistakably with Moses speaking directly to the people; encouraging them not in themselves, but in the Lord. That is a good thing, right? So why (some might ask) does God then say to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me?”  if it is evident that he was speaking to the people?

The Big Cover-up

Moses is guilty of something all Christians do at one time or another—he is talking boldly to cover-up the fact that he does not believe what he is saying. For all intents and purposes Moses said to Israel, “Be strong in the Lord, ” but to himself he muttered, “God, where are you?” What makes the scenario even more peculiar is that Moses probably did not realize his own doubt and faithlessness. Whether it was consciously or unconsciously, his authoritative proclamation to Israel merely served to cloak the reservation harbored in his own heart.

Only God

…For You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men. 1 Kings 8:39b

The Exodus account serves to remind us that we (like Moses) are incapable of identifying our own heart defects and that in order to see them God’s eyes are required. Those who think they know their own heart are only deceiving themselves and are placing barriers in the path of their own spiritual development. It should be our habit to persistently and continually ask the Lord to search our hearts.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24

Moses could have fussed and debated with God at this point, “Father, you know I trust you and have no doubt. Didn’t you just hear what I said to Your people?” But rather Moses chose to accept God’s rebuke without quarrel and simply chose to obey the Father’s directive. His obedience served as his confession.

But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. Exodus 14:16

We know what occurred next (the Red Sea is parted and Israel safely crosses over), but in this verse we see a specific application for today’s church as it pertains to our heart issues. The rod in the passage speaks to the measure of authority each believer has received from God, a ‘stretched-out hand’ to our obedience, and ‘the water’ (throughout the Bible) speaks to the Word of God. We can discern our hearts and God’s plan when in His authority and in our obedience, we accurately divide His Word. In so doing the Father will faithfully and powerfully reveal Him self.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

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Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing…?” Genesis 18:16-17Why God Talks to Abraham

You know, it all comes down to faith and obedience. Abraham has demonstrated by faith that he will do whatever the Lord asks of him and furthermore, that he will share this knowledge and wisdom with his family. In other words, God opens doors for Abraham and Abraham walks through them. It stands to reason that if God has not spoken to you, or He has stopped talking to you, there is a spiritual threshold you need to cross—go through that door and God will provide another.

The truth of the matter is that God desires to bring us all into the loop; He wants to reveal to us more and more of His plan. But what have we done with the information He has already given us? Have we kept it to ourselves? Do our families know these revelations? God honors our obedience, not our disobedience, so if you’re not hearing Him go back to the place where you last did [hear Him] and do what He said.

So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and…every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. Genesis 17:23

What Has God Asked You to Do?

Compared to Abraham’s gargantuan task, what has God asked you to do? I believe, at least in part, that God gave us an extreme example so that everything He would ask us to do would pale in comparison. There are three elements of Abraham’s faith that should leap out of the text and all three deal with obedience.

The first thing we notice as that Abraham took his son to be circumcised; he did not merely suggest to him that this was something he should do on his own. Let’s be honest, if Abraham left it up to the boy, it never would have been done. If you have a son, consider the present condition of his room…I rest my case.

Secondly we see Abraham imposed his faith upon everyone under his roof. It was compulsory. It does not mean that everyone believed in God as he did, but rather that everyone in his home would live by God’s moral standard. ‘My house, my rules, ’ is quite doctrinal as long as your rules jive with God’s.

The final principle is essential—Abraham practiced what he preached. There was no debate and there were no justifications, there was just obedience. God said it, he did it, and then he shared it. As a result God honored it and spoke clearly to him.

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