Posted by: pastortomvabeach | December 30, 2008

Thought For The Week January 4, 2009

Here we go again! Another new year filled with potential lies before us. No one knows what the year will bring, except the Maker of all things. It is almost certain that we will face unexpected situations and some of those will be difficult to endure. It is also very likely that we will experience pleasant, even exhilarating events that fill us with joy. And some of the year will be very routine. For most of us the daily schedule seems to have a sameness that is at once necessary and almost boring. A new year always carries a mixture of old, new, and unknown.

So how should we approach this section of time that God has given to us? Remember that each day is really a gift. The Bible reminds us to consider time here precious since we never know how much we have left and it flies by so swiftly. We are called to “redeem the time” by the apostle Paul in Ephesians. Perhaps the best way to redeem the time is to start by presenting it to God and seeking His guidance and protection for the year. To that end our church will be joining with the fellowship of the Assembly of God in the U.S. to hold a week of prayer from January 5 through 12. We will meet twice daily to approach the throne of grace and call upon the Lord for His presence in 2009.

What do you pray about? Chuck Colson shared some pretty appropriate ideas in his Breakpoint commentary the last couple of days. He is talking about things that matter most and in each segment he specifically calls us to pray about these things. Two of these that I think need a particularly heavy coverage of prayer are the family and the church.

Colson very correctly asserts that there are “powerful and malevolent cultural forces that seek to tear families apart” working in the world today, suggesting, “it’s only natural that the enemy would seek to destroy families—precisely because the family is God’s ordained instrument for the propagation of the human race, and a symbol of the loving fellowship within the Trinity.” He goes on to contend that the best way to destroy the family is to destroy marriage, citing author Christopher West, who warns, “the first step in the disintegration of civilization—toward a “culture of utility and death”—is the devaluing of marriage.”

Colson calls on the church to work to strengthen marriages and families, to model healthy marriages and families to our culture, saying, “If Christians cannot model healthy marriages and families…then who can?” He encourages pastors, leaders, and church members to focus on our own marriages and on those in our congregations and then he says, pray. “Pray that God will preserve the institution of marriage and protect the family. Pray as if our civilization depends on it, because it does.” Here is one of our most pressing matters for prayer.

In another commentary Colson urges prayer for the church. He says, “It was on my knees a few months ago that God hit me like a 10-ton truck about the priority of praying for the Church. We can’t pray for our nation to be revived, to be saved, to receive God’s mercy; we can’t pray for our leaders to make wise decisions unless we first pray for the Church. Colson argues quite forcefully that our nation is in the condition it is, facing economic and moral crises because “We’ve traded a Christian worldview of work, thrift, savings, and prudence, for the false worldview of consumerism (leisure, debt, and instant gratification)…a false worldview (that) leads to the worst kind of idolatries…and…to our self-destruction.”

The founders of our nation stated that our form of government (the Constitution) was only suitable to govern a moral people and I’m quite certain they would not look upon the practices of most of our culture and call it moral. In economic and moral/ethical terms the nation is like it is because Christians, in many ways, “have abandoned our heritage and have bought into the idolatry of consumerism, we have betrayed not only our God, but the nation we love.” Colson strongly states: “This nation cannot be saved unless the Church is first revived. Renewing the Church is the key to saving America.” I wholeheartedly agree with him.

We held daily prayer leading up to the election in November, going line by line through I Timothy 2:1-8. One of the first things that Paul says about prayer is that we should pray for “kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” This is the call to pray for our country. He goes on to say, “Our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” This is the call to repentance and righteousness. If we who are saved, we who make up the church of the Living God, are not living “in all godliness and reverence,” how will the people in our nation who do not know the Lord ever find their way to Jesus?

We desperately need to seek the Lord in the coming days for the two institutions that hold the promise of making the greatest difference for the welfare of this great nation. We cannot continue to be great if we are not founded upon solid, loving, God-fearing families (God’s first unit of community) and upon a strong, holy, and growing church which is living the gospel and bringing Jesus into every corner of society. The nation is built upon its families and churches. If these are not strong, no amount of government oversight and money will fix the problems we face in America today.

With that as our mandate, let me urge you as forcefully as I can – come to pray! Bring your family. We teach our kids to pray by praying with them. They can listen to the concerns on our hearts. You also learn to pray by praying, so you need to be there. You can come in the morning or the evening, whichever fits your schedule. If you absolutely can not come, then get with someone and pray! Take a prayer bookmark this week and pray for the needs listed each day. Let’s bombard heaven, not because God needs to know what’s going on, but because in the effort we just might be changed and begin to see revival in ourselves and renewal in our families. This could start a revolution! Just a thought.

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