Don’t Mess with the Family!

Beaver CleaversRemember, when June, Ward, Wally, and Beaver Cleaver represented the American family, in the show Leave It to Beaver? One of the worst things that happened in their family if I remember right was when Beaver broke a vase on the mantle. They always pictured a strong stable family even in the midst of weekly dilemmas. Unfortunately, today is a whole different story. It seems as if there is an attack on the traditional family.

Not too many families even sit down together and eat dinner anymore. More tragic is the fact that the definition is being changed by our society. Same-sex couples took their vows for the first time May 17, 2004, in the state of Massachusetts and now, after deliberation for over a month, on Friday, June 26th the Supreme Court handed down their ruling that same sex marriage is legal. No longer is the American family considered a sacred assembly.

Today, on top of redefining marriage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are over 1.6 million births to unmarried mothers, which is a staggering 40.8% of all births in the USA. The Divorce Source, Inc. indicates divorce rates have escalated in recent years with numbers hitting 877,000! The voice of some activist says that the family must be done away with because it’s enslavement to women.


God knew a society needed guidelines and boundaries of righteousness to keep it strong and prospering, so He instituted the Family   (Tweet)


Social professionals agree that the disintegration of the family structure is the cause of an intense major problem in America. The percentage of mothers not at home but serving in the work place is on the rise, producing a generation of “latch key kids” named for their ability to let themselves in their own houses after school because mothers weren’t home. The family is being attacked, and we’re doing nothing!

When the God-defined family deteriorates, there’s also a decline in morals. God knew a society needed guidelines and boundaries of righteousness to keep it strong and prospering. Family is a means that God has established to help keep a righteous structure in our society, keeping out any immoral rust that brings confusion and deception.

Sexual Immorality is a problem that has touched our land from the White House to our own homes. There was a time when politicians were pressured to back out of politics due to sexual immoralities. Present-day polls say, “If it doesn’t affect their jobs we don’t care what they do at home. That’s their business!” Whole cities have holidays where there is nothing but drunkenness and immorality! Our young people say, “Everyone’s doing it!” Some say, “If you don’t experiment, how will you know if it’s right?” With all the different influences, it is no wonder our families are going headlong downward.

The Internet is full of pornography and is an easy access for anyone wanting or just stumbling on to it! Adult bookstores outnumbered McDonald’s in the US by a margin of at least three to one. Annual revenues of the pornography industry in the U.S. are $13.3 billion. This is more than the revenues of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball combined says the Stop Porn Culture.

Anytime a nation or society gives way to what the Bible defines as immoral lifestyles, it soon opens the doors to all kinds of unnatural and warped acts of sexual sin resulting in it’s downfall. The Church must respond to the urgency of the hour with a loving but firm voice of righteousness, “Don’t Mess with the Family”!

Who Left the Gate Open?

The unprecedented news quickly exploded through every news outlet of the 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision favoring same sex marriage. The highest court has single handily redefined marriage, opposing the words of Jesus (Matt. 19:1-9). In spite of this country’s Godly heritage, it now seems that America has opened the gate to turn away from being one nation under God.
Different opinions spread on social media such as, “Love Wins” making it look as if this was a debate of love or hate for the gay community. This decision is not about love and hate, but about keeping the statues of God so that we can live a protected and blessed life (Ps. 33:12).
The Bible teaches us that Jesus died on the cross because He loved mankind and wanted to redeem us. (Jn. 3:16-17) It goes on to say that He didn’t come to condemn but to save us. In other words Jesus didn’t go to the cross because He hated certain individuals, but on the contrary it was because of His love towards them! Yet, many people interpret His purpose and message as hate and condemnation. Let me try and explain this with a story.
When my children were young we lived in an older part of Chicago where the streets are narrow and very busy. I had given my sweet little toddler a kiss and slipped out the back door to start mowing the yard not realizing that the door hadn’t latched behind me. Once I was finished in the back I moved to the front yard leaving the gate open making it easier to get the mower back to the garage. Unbeknownst to me this made for a perfect storm.
Moments later I looked up in complete horror to see my daughter getting ready to step out into the busy street. She had innocently gone through the uninhibited doors and gates unaware of any danger. My fatherly instinct provoked me to yell with urgency “Stop”. Causing my naïve toddler to uncontrollably cry thinking I was upset at her. She misinterpreted my love and desire to keep her safe for a dissatisfaction and anger towards her personally. My yelling was out of desperation to keep her from proceeding into a dangerous road where she would most assuredly get hurt. I had been so preoccupied with the work at hand that I left the gate wide open giving opportunity for her to possibly get seriously hurt.


Real love won on the cross over two thousand years ago (tweet)   


In like manner, this debate is not about God or God’s people hating certain ones, but about maintaining the boundaries He has set. Making sure that there isn’t any gate left opened in our society. Real love won on the cross over two thousand years ago. In 1 Jn 4:7-8 it says that God is love and those that follow Him need to reflect Him through love even while we stand for truth. Jesus went to the cross to free mankind from dangerous actions and lifestyles that would bring bondage. God is not a “Cosmic Kill Joy” wanting you to miss out but a loving Heavenly Father who wants to protect us and give us abundant life. He has set healthy borders that will produce a life of blessing if we follow them and will insure that we don’t begin down a slippery slope leading to destruction. God loves the person but came to deliver them from the works and deception of the evil one. (1 Jn. 3:8)

Have we become a thermometer instead of a thermostat!

thermostat (outdoor)

It can be shocking to see our society in light of past history. We must see the importance of learning from the course of history. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Anytime a person or a nation winks at sin—allowing it to begin to infiltrate and spread through them—they will always suffer the consequences of it. Godliness will always build up a person or a nation! But it is sin that will begin to eat away, leading to death! Psalms 107:34 brings this to light saying, “A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of those who dwell in it.” Our land has been very fruitful and prosperous, but unless we take heed to the Word of God, it’s only scriptural that we will become barren.

Has the Church forgotten the marvelous works of God? We cannot separate our godly heritage from our birthing as a country! In every fiber and corner of our society, we can see the fingerprints of our God. Let us not turn aside on the verge of the most incredible end-time revival this country has ever seen. If we sit here buying into the “Big Lie” that everything is fine, we will only begin to write our own ending. Just as the frog, if it is put in hot water will jump out saving itself. But if it is put in water and heated slowly, it will not realize it’s being gradually cooked ending in destruction.


God wants us to become a thermostat instead of a thermometer!   Quote from “Passion for Revival” (Tweet)


Former revivalist Leonard Ravenhill puts it like this: “We appease sin, but do not oppose it. To such a cold, carnal, critical, care cowed church; this lax, loose, lustful, licentious age will never capitulate. Let us stop looking for scapegoats. The fault in the declining morality is not radio or television. The whole blame for the present international degeneration and corruption lies at the door of the church!” Psalms 9:17 says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Have we forgotten the Lord God?

Mario Murillo says, “When the army of God is healthy, it broadcasts a mighty light. Like a catalyst it changes the culture that surrounds it! But in sickness, the church absorbs the odor of the secular thinking near it.” We have become a thermometer instead of a thermostat! The first reads the temperature of the surroundings and the second is a gage that determines what the surrounding will be. As ambassadors of Christ, we should be setting the standard, not being absorbed into the mud and muck of society.

In Ephesians 5:6 it says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience”. The church, has failed to deal with the real reasons for our country’s problems. Man wants to live without any restraints but not have to deal with the consequences. They want their pie and eat it too! As a result, we are merely putting bandages on symptoms, while ignoring the source or root of the problem.

Nations and civilizations do not just pass away. Their leaders and people are first deceived and drawn away, opening up to self-destruction destroying them and their nation.

Is our country being eaten away by the moth and worm of sin? All the while, we are in our local churches and basking in our so-called security.

Blessed is the Nation that Comes Together in Prayer

praying in a huddleAs the clock struck twelve, the crowds had only one thing on their mind—getting to the place of prayer. The whole city was shut down, businesses closed their doors, schools dismissed class early, and even the legislature had called it a day. The year was 1905, and from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., the eyes of the city were looking to God for his guidance. The mayor of Denver had declared a day of prayer, resulting in more than twelve thousand in attendance in downtown prayer meetings.

During this same time, over two hundred businesses closed for three hours of prayer in Portland, Oregon. In Burlington, Iowa, many stores and factories closed to allow their employees to go to prayer meetings. There seemed to be a yearning and anticipation for a fresh move of God sweeping through people of every social and ethnic level. Churches were bulging full of people praying and seeking God. The news of the great Welsh revival spread through the land like wild fire, causing a hunger to be aroused in America. The result of this great move of prayer was powerful. Many denominations recorded a significant increase in their membership. Things were beginning to be stirred and get in place for the soon coming Azusa Street Revival in 1906.

Nearly fifty years earlier, a similar movement of prayer took place, bringing our country to its knees. It all started in 1857, in Manhattan, New York, area, with an individual named Jeremiah Lanphier, who had a burden from the Lord to start a noon prayer meeting. He advertised and promoted it, which soon brought a steady increase in attendance. Before long, prayer meetings began to spring up in almost every public building downtown. The local newspaper’s publicity thrust a landslide of prayer, beginning a movement that spread throughout New England

The revival that followed had no boundaries going out in every direction changing lives. Shortly after the revival had begun, the country found itself in the middle of the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil. Yet, due to the moving of God, many of the men who lost their lives had been prepared for eternity through God’s grace and mercy.

The effects of this revival touched even the White House. President Lincoln, being concerned about America and how it had become too successful and self-sufficient, full of pride, gave his Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer. On April 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said, “It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” The results of this great revival not only carried on, but also lasted for many years. It had begun in a passion for prayer and was sustained with faithfulness of prayer!


When God’s people come together in persistent powerful prayer, God breaks in with radical results!       Tweet


Mathew Henry once said, “When God intends a great mercy for his people, he first sets them a praying.” We must find the place of prayer! Revival has never come through great preaching or successful programs. We must set ourselves to prayer, seeking to be changed by the power of God. Only when we have touched the hem of his garments will we see a visitation of God!

Desperate Prayer for Revival

Earthquake Destruction1As we awaited the birth of our first baby girl, I can still hear my wife crying in desperation, “Get this baby out of me!” We were in the delivery room and in the last stages of delivery. Even though I had forgotten exactly the proper way of breathing and coaching, I was still attempting to try. With my wife holding my hand, I felt I was the model husband. Yet in seconds, all rationalization went out the window, as I felt her fingernails digging into my arm and the ear-piercing cry of her agonizing pain. I unfortunately, didn’t realize there comes a point in the birthing process when there is no turning back. Either there must be a delivery, or there will be an overwhelming feeling as if the woman is going to die. My wife told me later that at that point, she knew she couldn’t quit, but had to push through the agony and horrendous pain, or she felt she would die.

It is the same kind of desperate heartfelt pain that men and women have felt as they have agonized in prayer for revival. All through history, you will find there were individuals desperate for a move of God. It reminds me of the young Hudson Taylor in England, as he began to get a stronger and a more desperate burden for China. He cried out to God in agony saying, “I feel that I cannot go on living unless I do something for China.” The desperate, inward hunger and vision God had put on his heart was beginning to be birthed. Only later would history tell of the impact and influence this man had on China!


Desperate need requires desperate Prayers!      (Tweet)


Before the Azusa Street Revival broke out, it is interesting to know that William Seymour travailed in prayer for some time. Michael Brown, in his book, writes about Seymour’s prayer life before the revival ever came. “Daddy” Seymour became desperate for more of God, yet for two and a half years, he prayed for five hours a day. “I got to Los Angeles,” he relates, “and there the hunger was not less, but more. I prayed, God, what can I do?” The Spirit said, “Pray more. There are better things to be had in spiritual life, but they must be sought out with faith and prayer.” Then he said, “But Lord, I am praying five hours a day now, I increased my hours of prayer to seven, and prayed on for a year and a half more. I prayed to God to give me what Parham preached, the real Holy Ghost and fire… like the apostles had.” Briefly before the revival, a local pastor had also written to Evan Roberts in Wales, asking him for the key to the Welsh revival. They soon received a reply, encouraging them to pray and surrender all to the Lord, believing God’s promises as they held daily meetings. We can see the response to this advice from the account of Frank Bartleman, another minister in the Azusa outpouring. “We prayed for a spirit of revival until the burden became well-nigh unbearable. I cried out like a woman in birth pangs. The Spirit was interceding through us.”

Through history God has used the desperate prayers of his saints to usher in great revivals. Desperate need requires desperate prayers! It is only when we also get to this place of desperation that we will see revival in our time.

God can You hear me down here?

ceii phone user1Do you remember an older commercial about a man with a cell phone in various locations asking, “Can you hear me now?” Most cell phone users know that good reception depends upon where you or the people that you are talking to are located. Some Christians have that same mentality when it comes to praying. They think you have to be in the right spot. Can you picture believers walking around saying, “God can you hear me now?” As funny as that might seem many believers feel that way. But actually He knows what we’re going to say before we say it! Isaiah declares, “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear,” (Isa. 65:24). God hears the prayers of His children no matter where they’re located.


“ God is everywhere and is listening to my prayers”   –  Tweet


When I was in Junior High, my dream of being like Jacques Cousteau, the famous oceanographer came a little closer to reality. After a summer of doing small jobs and saving my money, I was finally able to sign up for my long awaited scuba lessons. It was during a session that I learned a lifelong lesson of God’s omnipresence. It was my first open water experience with the instructor. We arrived at the reservoir and got ready to dive to the bottom. The last words I remember him saying was once we get to the bottom of the reservoir to follow him closely. This seemed easy enough until we reached the bottom. We were at about thirty-five feet down and the water was murky with only about six inches of visibility. I couldn’t see my instructor or really anything. I was gulping air from my tank at record speed. I just sat at the bottom not able to see anything, feeling all alone and not sure what to do. I began to pray. Now mind you, I was in a completely different world. Though it seems strange unless you have experienced this scenario it was odd praying under water. The questions came to my mind, “Can God hear me down here?” No sooner had the words left my mouth through my regulator than a hand came through the murky water and grabbed me. It was my instructor! Now, to a Junior High boy at the bottom of a reservoir sucking air from a small tank as if every breath was my last, that was a huge miracle! I realized that God is everywhere and is listening to my prayers. King David declared something similar in Psalms 139:7, 9-10, “Where can I go from Your spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence… If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.”

In II Kings 20:1-6 we read where God answers Hezekiah’s prayer. I see a Heavenly Father’s passion for one of His children and answers his request. It reminds me of how I love to answer my children’s requests. In the midst of bad news  and agony, Hezekiah went to the right source and God immediately answered his prayer. God heard his heart cry and extended his life. Many times when we receive bad news we get bitter and upset but we don’t go to the right source with our concern. Hezekiah received a gift from the Lord because he asked. In  Jeremiah 33:3 it says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you…”. God loves His children and will hear and answer us when we call to Him in pray.

  

I Can’t Pray Because My Knees Hurt

AR0162-002In the midst of the beautiful Rocky Mountains the old deserted logging roads made great walking trails above our ranch. Growing up I remember how my mother loved to take her walks in the brisk mountain air. There were times that my siblings and I would be having fun and run up the trail to catch my mother only to find her deep in prayer. After several times of interrupting her we soon realized that this was her private time of praying. She loved to walk and talk with the Lord.

The Bible reveals many different postures of prayer; some people prayed sitting, some standing, some kneeling as well as lying prostrate before the Lord. Paul encouraged Timothy to pray with hands lifted up (1 Tim. 2:8). Others stand or sit in circles holding hands. Still some people think if you’re not kneeling then you’re not really praying. I don’t believe there is any one posture that we must use to pray, on the contrary, there are many ways. Whatever position seems to help you keep focused in your prayer life is the right way. My mother’s posture of prayer was her walks.


If we sow in prayer then we will reap in the fruit of answered prayer.   (Tweet)


After my friend gave his life to the Lord in high school, he became aware that one of the basic principles of growing in Christ was learning to pray. With the best of intentions, he got up before school and tried to pray, but would fall back asleep consistently. One day he had a genius idea. He would stand on the open toilet and pray, knowing that would give him the incentive to keep awake and pray. Well, we might not have to go to that extreme, but whatever gets us to the place of prayer and keeps our eyes on the Lord, that’s the posture we need to take.

Prayer is like evaporated water that comes from the ocean. As we continue to pray it builds up in the clouds then the clouds move with the wind of God’s will and pour down their abundance of rain. Some say the bowls of intercession that we read about in Revelation 5:8 become full and overflow upon the earth. In other words, prayer produces fruit!. If we sow in prayer then we will reap in the fruit of answered prayer. But we must find a posture of prayer that enables us to fill the bowls in heaven with our intercession.

In response to the disciples question “teach us to pray”, Jesus says, “When you pray, say:” (Luke 11:2).  Jesus’ statement is not telling them a time or position of prayer, but rather indicates that prayer is an ordinary and normal function of a believer’s life. Jesus could have told them His favorite posture of prayer but He specifically didn’t, knowing it would cause His followers to make a religious ritual out of one set posture. Rather, He just conveys that we need to pray. Jesus’ only mention of a posture of prayer was moments earlier when He was referring to the way the Pharisees were standing on the street corner to be seen by man. Indicating that our heart must be right not our posture.

My sister loves to pray as she runs the trail along the rim of the Snake River canyon. But the point is not where or how we should pray, kneeling, sitting or lying down, but that our posture is conducive for us to pray.