Wednesday, August 5, 2020

So Much I Don't Understand

There is probably no topic I have studied more, other than God and Jesus, than the subject of prayer. I became fascinated with this in college. I got turned onto some authors like Leonard Ravenhill and E.M. Bounds who opened up a whole other world of prayer than I knew existed. 

My library is filled with dozens of books on prayer. Some of those books I continue to read over and over again. I listen to sermons on prayer. I try to practice prayer personally. I am a continuous student in God's school of intercession. I still get frustrated because I do not know how to pray as effectively as I would like. 

That was over 30 years ago I first investigated prayer back in college. Since that time, I continued to study the scriptures about prayer. I rad voraciously people like Andrew Murray, Rees Howells, Jim Cymbala, and my favorite, George Mueller. Each showed me something new. God used them to point me to different dimensions of prayer. 

Now I have to say there is so much about prayer and how it moves God to work I still do not understand. One thing I know for certain when it comes to prayer, it is never a question of whether God is able to answer or not. Gen 18:14, Jer 32:17 and Matt 19:26 settle that. It is a matter of whether God is wiling to answer. Does it please Him to answer. Does He desire to grant us what we ask. This is further iterated in I Jn 5:14-15, which I quote often when preaching, teaching, or writing about prayer. 

Even knowing all of that, there is so much I do not understand. Many times I have been left scratching my head wondering what went wrong when I thought I knew the will of God on matters and I prayed Bible promises. The desired outcome did not come, sometimes after years and years of fervent prayer. Many prayers I've brought before God in petition have still not been answered other than the message to wait. 

I know the key is all bound up in what He wills.  Learning to pray His will is crucial. Of course that means discerning His will in the first place. Truth be told I have often not prayed in accordance with His will. I allowed my own personal desires to influence what I convinced myself was His will. Many times I have prayed amiss and been left with empty hands and a wounded faith. 

That is something I am working on doing better. I want to be much more deliberate about discerning His will when I pray. Of this I am convinced. God desires to glorify Himself through a praying church that bears much fruit. Jn 5:7-8. I fall way short. I still have much to learn. I am eager to learn it. 

It should be our aim to pray prayers that God wills to answer and that will glorify Him. Tonight, with God's help, I want to unpack a tremendous verse on prayer. You can tune in on the Spring Creek Baptist Church in Weatherford, TX facebook page. An easier way is to go to myspringcreek.org and click on the facebook link. We will start at 6:30 and do a deep dive into this mystery of prayer. I hope you are able to join us. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

The New Normal

Out of the pandemic several phrases have caught on and have become common. Social distancing. Self quarantining. Anti-maskers. The new normal. Out of all those phrases the one I detest the most in the new normal. I feel like society is being conditioned to accept the current status quo. To do so is to acquiesce to abnormal things.

In the history of our world, it is not normal to avoid any contact with other people outside your home. God designed us to be people who live in community with other people. We are told we cannot do that in person anymore. We are supposed to accept things like zoom as the alternative. Television commercials support this. Public service announcements remind us of this. People have been quarantined in the past. It was the sick people. Not society as a whole? Depression is on the rise. Anxiety is increasing as well as stress. Bills are mounting and finances are dwindling. We need one another. We need to stir one another toward love and good works as Hebrews 10:25 exhorts us.

I could not believe it. The new normal is online church services. In California all worship services inside a building are banned. Even singing is banned by the Governor.. Singing in the new normal is detrimental to the health of others. Think of every pandemic in the history of the world. Were churches shut down in the past, but abortion clinics could remain open as essential. Worship is essential for followers of Jesus. At what point do Christians reject the new normal where you are told you cannot even sing a hymn or worship song to God?

It is not normal to walk around wearing a mask. Think of the irony of it. In the past, people who wore face masks robbed you. Dr. Fauci actually said in March wearing face masks would not be helpful. Look it up. Yet here we are ordered to wear them. It is the new normal. It is not normal at all. Quit believing that. Why was Fauci seen at a Washington Nationals baseball game sitting with two other people and not covering his mouth or nose in the stands and not socially distanced? 

Why are people refusing to accept cash or not unless you have exact change? Is there a new normal push to get rid of cash currency in society? If so, what is the new normal agenda behind it?

Why is it considered the new normal to protest and to physically assault people and police officers? Why is everyone caving into peer pressure to bow the knee at the national anthem instead of standing with respect for those soldiers who fought and died to provide this freedom for us? Why is it the new normal for the Supreme Court to vote 5-4 to not to allow a Nevada church to have over 50 people in attendance when thousands are allowed to flock to the casinos? Why is there so much pressure to say churches remaining open spreads corona while BLM and ANTIFA protesters are encouraged to meet? Why am I forced to wear a mask into a restaurant, but as soon as the chips and salsa arrive I can remove it to eat? This is the new normal. Why is it the new normal to give people the stink eye for not wearing masks?

We are being programmed. Conditioned to accept the new normal. Brainwashed wit the same messaging to think we are doing our civic duty to give into CDC guidelines.

Why would I trust the government? I am expected to live within my means and balance my checking account at the end of the month. They have shown themselves repeatedly to be fiscally irresponsible. Has a politician ever lied to the American people before? Have they ever covered up the truth, spun the facts, given double talk and doubled down on talking points they want to get out there? Has the government ever spied on its own citizens? Does the news anchor always tell the truth and the whole story? Is the news biased toward one political party over the rest? Are politicians out of touch with the common people? Are they filled with self interests, greed, and personal agendas? Do politicians ever intentionally deceive? WHY WOULD I TRUST THEM TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU AND ME? MY FAITH REMAINS IN GO AND JESUS ALONE!

Are the corona statistics accurate? Are the tests really reliable? Somebody sure wants us to believe they are. It is the new normal. Some say we will never go back to life as it used to be. The government will never willingly give up civil liberties snatched from a silent cowardly society. Again we are being conditioned to accept as normal something that is abnormal. Why are medical doctors who speak out against the CDC and Fauci threatened with silence or the loss of their medical license. This is nothing less than medical tyranny. There is no longer free speech.

I still have free speech. Yahweh, Jehovah and His Son Jesus are exclusively God. There is no other way to salvation except through Jesus. Not Allah. Not Mohammad. Not self enlightenment. Not any other religion. Salvation comes through Jesus alone by faith alone and not as a result of works. The Bible is exclusively the Word of God. God breathed. Inspired by Him through human authors. It is truth for all time. The Ekklesia, the church, is ordained of God. We are commanded not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as is the habit of some [Heb 10:24]. We are to assemble. It is not assembling when I sit in front of a camera at home in my living room and others do the same. We are to assemble, even if the group remains small. Even if we go back to the Acts model and meet in homes. The church is to assemble. And all the more as the end approaches. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Homosexuality is sin. Transgenderism is sin. Same sex marriage is sin. That is normal. Same sex marriage is not normal. Deceiving and twisting the minds of young children to alter their gender is not normal.

I will not be one who accepts the new normal. I will use my brain and think refusing to just go along. I will be a preacher and teacher of Bible truth. I will seek to love all people. I will seek to speak the truth in love. I will not be afraid to disagree and to stand alone.

I was so proud to hear about the San Francisco Giants pitcher who refused to take a knee when they played the national anthem. He said he could only bow to Jesus as a Christian. I am sure he has paid a price for that stand. The same cost you and I will have to pay to go against and reject the new normal. Choose you this day who you will serve. As for me and the Edwards household, we will serve Jesus. That is our normal.