January 2016

Hope for a Prayerless church

In my previous blog post “What can the righteous do?” I established that the moral foundations of society are being destroyed all around us; and that the mandated response of the righteous, as spelled out by Jesus, is to watch and pray.

The question of the hour now becomes, why does it seem that this priority to watch and pray is not being heeded by the Church? My use of the word “Church” refers primarily to expressions of the Body of Christ in Western culture including both the Church universal and individual churches. In order to answer this question, and propose a remedy, it is necessary first to understand the dynamics that have shaped the typical Sunday morning church service in the West in recent years

What can the righteous do?

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3 NIV

I don’t know about you, but I find this to be very unsettling and thought provoking question. It comes in the context of a prophetic Psalm that was penned by David, but inspired by the Holy Spirit, describing the very days in which we are now living. It refers to a crisis situation where the moral foundations upon which a society or a nation has been built are being systematically overthrown and destroyed.

The scenario which Psalm 11 describes is one in which demonic forces of darkness are launching wicked and violent attacks specifically targeting God’s people and the righteous ways of God they represent. Does that sound familiar? Any God fearing person who has any awareness whatsoever of what is going on in their community, the nation and the world cannot help but acknowledge that we are presently under such concerted assaults. As a consequence, we can certainly identify with Lot who while living in Sodom and Gomorrah experienced his righteous soul being vexed daily by “the lawless deeds he saw and heard” (2 Peter 2:8 ESV).

What then should the righteous do when confronted with such unsettling, perplexing, and ruinous circumstances that threaten our very existence? Right at the outset in verse one David suggests that we have two alternatives, either take refuge in the Lord or flee to the mountains for safety. He offers the idea of fleeing with the phrase “How then can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain?’” It is obvious, from the way he says this that fleeing to “your” mountain, wherever or whatever that may be, is not a viable option.

Silencing the Voices of Restriction

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17 ESV

Have you ever stopped to consider what things are holding you back from serving God the way you’ve always wanted? Can you pinpoint what is restricting you from a whole hearted commitment to following Jesus in the way you believe you really should?

Like most people, I love the opportunity afforded us, as we begin a new calendar year, to turn over a new leaf in our spiritual lives.

Regardless of your answers to the opening questions, the reality is that there are obstacles and restrictions standing in your way of new beginnings spiritually. The enemies of our souls are always seeking to thwart the forward progress of every believer who sets their heart to abide in and do the will of God. These enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil all afflict us with restrictions that can hold us back from experiencing the fullness of God’s plan and purposes for our lives. It’s as if they have “fashioned weapons against” us that through threat and intimidation, bludgeon us into passivity, or worse yet, retreat and hopelessness.

As this verse from Isaiah indicates, these weapons typically fire their volleys as voices – either from within or without, in the form of a “tongue that rises against you in judgment.” These wagging tongues have a way of pelting us with misbeliefs and untruths about ourselves and God. If we give heed to them they inflict us with a sense of unworthiness, lack, fear or worse, which result in spiritual paralysis.

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