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Archive for the tag “prayer”

One Little Phrase…

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭4-7‬ ESV)

Isn’t it interesting that in the middle of these verses (right at the end of verse 5) we find this little phrase: “The Lord is at hand”? Right in the middle of rejoice–don’t be anxious–pray–be thankful–you will have peace–your hearts & minds will be guarded–right in the middle of all that Paul says “The Lord is at hand”. This is why we can rejoice always. This is why we do not need to be anxious about anything. This is why we should make our requests known to God with thanksgiving. This is why the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
We see this same thing in James 5 for why we should be patient:

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. (‭James‬ ‭5‬:‭7-9‬ ESV)

I am thankful to my pastor for pointing this out in James last week. If he had not, I may never have noticed that little, but so important, phrase in Philippians.

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Send Prayers But Don’t Just Send Prayers

A friend of mine retweeted the following on twitter: “If everyone who is “sending prayers” to OK would send some clothes or money instead, they could actually help.”

There’s some truth there even if it is a bit misplaced. As Christians, we should most definitely be praying for all those affected by the devastation caused by the tornado in Oklahoma. Pray for safety. Pray for healing. Pray for the missing to be found. Pray for comfort. Pray for peace.

But…let us also do. Let us care visibly for those in need. Let us love our neighbors as the Good Samaritan loved his (& realize that the point of that parable is that everyone is your neighbor not just those I lose proximity to you). Let us love others as God has loved us. Let us sacrifice for others as Jesus sacrificed his life for poor, undeserving sinners such as ourselves.

And continue to pray. Add to those prayer requests that God would be glorified in this tragedy and would make himself known through his people demonstrating his love toward others.

Political Response

This was an email that I received today from my church that I thought was timely & quite helpful during this political season. I hope it is edifying to the few of you who might read it. 

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As we move closer into this current political season, may we heed to the following words of wisdom as we engage others. Whether it be through conversation, email and/or social media, consider this as a helpful guide.

 

1) Pray for our leaders

“No matter who is in office, whether we voted for them or not, whether they are of the political party we prefer or not, the Bible commands us to respect and honor them (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). We should also be praying for those placed in authority over us (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). We do not have to agree with them, or even like them, but we do have to honor and respect them. Politics is always going to be a difficult issue for Christians. We are in this world but are not to be of this world (1 John 2:15). We can be involved in politics, but we should not be obsessed with politics. Ultimately, we are to be heavenly minded, more concerned with the things of God than the things of this world (Colossians 3:1-2). As believers in Jesus Christ, we are all members of the same political party—monarchists who are waiting for their King to return (Revelation 19:11-16).” (gotquestions.org)

 

2) Political engagement often turns the church’s mission field into the enemy

“Political campaigns make this abundantly clear.  Fueled by a righteous cause, each side wages war with the carnal weapons of this age, and each side demonizes the other, employing the sharpest (and sometimes the nastiest) rhetoric.  That’s not the mandate for the church.  Instead, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (ESV).  Those people out there may be the worst of sinners—you know, activist types—but such were some of you.  And yet, God washed you, sanctified you, and justified you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).  The world may be the enemy of God, as you once were (Eph. 2:1-3), but they need to be reconciled to God, as you have been (Eph. 2:4-10).  The world is our mission field.” (gty.org)

 

3) Apathy is not the answer

“My point is not that Christians should remain totally uninvolved in politics or civic activities and causes. They ought to express their political beliefs in the voting booth, and it is appropriate to support legitimate measures designed to correct a glaring social or political wrong. Complete noninvolvement would be contrary to what God’s Word says about doing good in society: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10; cf. Titus 3:1-2). It would also display a lack of gratitude for whatever amount of religious freedom the government allows us to enjoy. Furthermore, such pious apathy toward government and politics would reveal a lack of appreciation for the many appropriate legal remedies believers in democracies have for maintaining or improving the civil order. A certain amount of healthy and balanced concern with current trends in government and the community is acceptable, as long as we realize that that interest is not vital to our spiritual growth, our righteous testimony, or the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. Above all, the believer’s political involvement should never displace the priority of preaching and teaching the gospel.” (John MacArthur)

 

4) Our trust is in Christ, Not in princes or politicians

R.C. Sproul gives a great reminder about where our trust should ultimately be:

“Yes, we must always work for social reform. Yes, we must be “profane’ in Martin Luther’s sense of going out of the temple and into the world. We do not despise the country of our birth. But in what do we invest our hope? The state is not God. The nation is not the Promised Land. The president is not our King. The Congress is not our Savior. Our welfare can never be found in the city of man. The federal government is not sovereign. We live—in every age and in every generation—by the rivers of Babylon. We need to understand that clearly. We must learn how to sing the Lord’s song in a strange and foreign land.

America will fall. The United States will inevitably disintegrate. The Stars and Stripes will bleed. The White House will turn to rubble. That is certain. We stand like Augustine before the sea. We pray that God will spare our nation. If He chooses not to, we ask for the grace to accept its demise. In either case, we look to Him who is our King and to heaven, which is our home. We await the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, whose builder and maker is God.”

 

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”

Philippians 3:20

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