Unconfessed Sin – A Thief of Joy

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When sin invades our lives it robs us of joy in the Lord. David knew what it was to experience the darkness and depressiveness of unconfessed sin. On one occasion, David had noticed a beautiful woman named Bathsheba bathing. He lusted after her and like all acts of sin; a number of sinful thoughts went unchecked in his life. These thoughts and desires produced the physical actions of adultery () and even murder (). For a time, he kept silent. Before David confessed his sin to Lord he described his unrepentant condition by saying, Continue reading Unconfessed Sin – A Thief of Joy

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” 16 And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died. 18 Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting. 19 And he instructed the messenger, “When you have finished telling all the news about the fighting to the king, 20 then, if the king’s anger rises, and if he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”

A Prayer for Australia before the 2016 Federal Election

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Our Father, the Creator, Sustainer and Sovereign of all things. Blessed be Your Name forever and ever, to You belong wisdom and might. You alone are the Lord, the great, the mighty, and awesome God. By Your power You change times and seasons; and remove kings and set up kings. You are the One who gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. I ask that You forgive us for our sins. Our nation has ignored Your ways and has chased after corrupt things. As a nation we have rebelled against You and chosen evil rather than good. According to Your great loving kindness and mercy, I pray for Your forgiveness. Continue reading A Prayer for Australia before the 2016 Federal Election

The Atrocity of Abortion

Baby

The fact that you are reading this is a sign that you are in existence. Why do you exist instead of not existing? That is a really important question, and your answer to that question will influence the way you view and live your life. You are here, but why are you here? The answer to that question is found in the fact that there is meaning and significance to your existence. Continue reading The Atrocity of Abortion

Why Should I Pray?

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The question in one way or another has been asked many times, “If God is sovereign, why should I pray?” This question is asked because many struggle with the fact that when we say God is sovereign, we are affirming that He in His eternal counsel has determined all things that will come to pass. This means that nothing comes to pass without His Divine purpose. Knowing that what God has determined will transpire, why pray? This is a very practical and common question. Continue reading Why Should I Pray?

Why I Love Going to Church

Why I Love Going to Church

I am really excited about the first day of the week. As Sunday morning and evening comes by my family gets ready and we go to church. Going to church ought not to be a mere routine or something to fill in time. Going to church ought to be an exciting occasion that we count as a privilege and anticipate the blessing that awaits us. When I say I love going to church, I am not referring to the building (though the church will be in a particular location or building). I am referring to the local gathering of believers – my local church. Why do I love going to church? Though there are many reasons that could be provided, I would like to share three broad reasons that contain many implications as to why I love going to church. Continue reading Why I Love Going to Church

What is the Will of God? Principle 4: Supplication

Praying hands on an open bible

Coming before the Lord consistently in prayer is crucial if we are going to know and walk in His will. In fact, Paul said it very clearly,

“pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” ().

It is God’s will for you to pray! Prayer is an important element when it comes to walking in and seeking to know the will of God. When we pray, we ought to ask the Lord to help us to walk in His will. The psalmist prayed, “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it” (). Furthermore, we ought to ask the Lord to give us deeper understanding of His will, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” ().

Now when it comes to making decisions concerning those things that are not recorded in Scripture, we are to commit it to the Lord in prayer and seek guidance, leading and wisdom from Him. If we are going to walk in His will, prayer should become a habit in our lives.

17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.

18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.

How to Pray for your Pastor’s Preaching

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Like all Christians, pastors need prayer. In an earlier post I wrote about how you can pray for your pastor. In this post, I want to specifically look at how you can pray for his preaching. God in His wisdom has appointed the greatest means so as to reveal His character and will to the church, and that is the preaching of His Word (). Because the preaching of the Word of God is an important and influential task, we must take time to pray for those who preach it.

 

PRAY THAT THE WORD WOULD INSTRUCT HIM 
Pray that as your pastor reads and studies the Scripture, that the Word of God would grip his heart. Pray that his eyes would be opened and that he would behold wondrous things from God’s Word ().

 

PRAY THAT HE WOULD APPLY THE WORD
After God’s Word grips his heart, pray that he would apply it to his life. We read this concerning Ezra, “Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (). Make this your prayer for your pastor.

 

PRAY THAT HE WOULD BE DILIGENT IN STUDYING THE WORD
Pray that he would be diligent in his study. Sadly, all too often some pastor’s can be distracted or lazy. Pray that your pastor would make a disciplined effort as he carefully handles the precious Word of God. Paul commanded Timothy,

 

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” ().

 

PRAY THAT HE WOULD BE HUMBLE
Pray that he would prepare his sermons in a humble manner knowing and understanding, that apart from Christ he can do nothing (cf. ). Pride is an ugly and consuming sin that God hates (Prov. 6:16-17; 16:5). Pray that your pastor would be humble before God and would not preach for show, but rather “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” ().

 

PRAY THAT HE WOULD BE FAITHFUL
Pray that when he stands in the pulpit, that he would faithfully preach the Word of God in fullness and in truth. Pray that his boldness and words would be driven by what God has said. Too many pastors fall prey to the pressure of needing to be popular and pleasing to the ear. Paul called for the preacher to,

 

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” ().

 

R A Torrey asked, “Do you want a new minister?” He went on to say, “I can tell you how to get one. Pray for the one you have until God makes him over!” Pray for your pastor’s preaching and this will be a blessing for you and others.

and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.

10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Prayer and Public Worship (1 Timothy 2:1-8)

Prayer is an essential element to the Christian life and to not spend time in prayer is detrimental to our walk. It is for this reason that the people of God are to be devoted to prayer (). Such devotion reveals our dependence upon God, which of course is necessary because we need His help. Continue reading Prayer and Public Worship (1 Timothy 2:1-8)

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

A Warning Against Hypocrisy

Hypocrite

The word “hypocrite” came from ancient Greek drama. By means of role play, rhetoric or a face mask, the individual was playing-acting. Later, the term “hypocrite” became a designation of someone pretending to be something they are not.

In , the focus is on the Kingdom’s citizen’s conduct in regard to genuine godliness. Jesus begins this section by saying, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (). The conduct of God’s people is to be genuine godliness, which is without hypocrisy. This is seen regarding giving (), prayer (), and fasting ().

Giving ()
Giving to the needy is an important and kind act. However, the danger facing the act of giving is hypocrisy. Despite the kind act of giving, Jesus exposed the motivation of the religious leaders. Their motive was to be “praised by others” (). This pretend piety has its reward – the attention here and now. In contrast to this, Jesus instructed, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (). In other words, give in a way that doesn’t demand attention. God knows your motive and will reward genuine godliness ().

Prayer ()
Prayer is an essential element to the Christian life. Prayer is commanded by the Lord, it deepens our fellowship with the Lord, and is a means that God has ordained in accomplishing His purposes. However, if it is not done with the right motive it is nothing more than pretended piety. Jesus addresses this matter by talking about the motive of prayer () and the manner of prayer (). Interestingly, three times in this passage the Lord says, “when you pray” (vv. 5, 6, 7). This statement assumes that prayer would be a normal part of the believer’s life.

Regarding the motive of prayer, Jesus provides two examples. The first example is of the hypocrite whose prayers are all about them (D.A. Carson refers to this as “play-acting praying”). Their prayers are marked by prideful recognition (Matt. 6:5) and pointless repetition (Matt. 6:7). The second example is genuine and humble prayer. This kind of prayer is marked by private removal (Matt. 6:6) and by plain request (Matt. 6:7-8).

Regarding the manner of prayer, vv. 9-15 are famously known as the Lord’s Prayer. Though it was not a prayer that He prayed, it is His prayer in the sense that He created it. This prayer provides us with a model of how to pray. After the opening words, this model prayer contains six petitions. The first three are concerning God () whereas the final three are concerning us (). This prayer teaches the believer to place their attention on God making it a God-centered prayer. Recognizing that the purpose of this prayer is not to simply be repeated word for word (though that is not necessarily wrong), it provides God’s people with a pattern and model on how to pray.

Fasting ()
Fasting refers to the act of abstaining from food for a period of time, in which the individual would earnestly seek the Lord. In addition to the OT law of fasting on the Day of Atonement, people would fast for other reasons. Sadly, this act of humility and dependence upon the Lord became an opportunity for show (). Jesus commanded that this be done with the motive of honouring the Lord and not man ().

Beware of hypocrisy! Let us serve the Lord with genuine godliness from a heart that is filled with grated toward Him. He knows our motives so let us be warned that hypocrisy is of no eternal value.

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.