How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort mayest live and die happy?
Three; the first, how great my sins and miseries are; the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 7:24, 25.
So in 1558, an 82 year old man is martyred for his faith. And that’s one of the significant events, a catalyst moment, in the Reformation in Scotland.
Biologically beneficial, huh? What about some other effects like STD’s? Unwanted births? Destruction of families?
Here’s a correlation scientists might not pick up on: there’s a reason why our straying from God is also called adultery: sin.
Here’s a fun comic from Adam Ford.
The transformation of Zacchaeus is a testimony to the power of Jesus to save. When you are meeting with seekers who want God, don’t get in the way of the capital S Seeker who seeks and saves the lost. He is the One who can transform a heart.
Pray to Him. Ask Him to put you in the right place at the right time. Do whatever it takes to introduce people to Him. Don’t make seekers climb trees to get around you in order to see Jesus.
Digging out of the celebration of the Lord’s Day is in itself a refreshing thing. Turns out, greater obedience in this area gave me greater insight into what kind of rest I actually need. I don’t need a clean space, I need an obedient one. I don’t need a perfect haven of restfulness, I need a heart of rest. I don’t need all the external resources to celebrate the Lord’s Day without consequences. I need the consequences of the Lord’s Day for the rest of the days to be joyful.
Until then, we do not need the testimony of an impressionable 4-year-old boy, a neurosurgeon, spine surgeon, sports writer, or even a pastor to know that heaven is real. We have everything we need in the Bible. Its testimony is enough to generate genuine faith in Christ, as well as a greater longing for unending life in his presence.
This is not a formula! Kids from wonderful gospel-centered homes leave the church; people from messed-up family backgrounds find eternal life in Jesus and have beautiful marriages and families. But it’s also not a crapshoot. In general, children who are led in their faith during their growing-up years by parents who love Jesus vibrantly, serve their church actively, and saturate their home with the gospel completely, grow up to love Jesus and the church. The words of Proverbs 22:6 do not constitute a formula that is true 100 percent of the time, but they do provide us with a principle that comes from the gracious plan of God, the God who delights to see his gracious Word passed from generation to generation: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Oh God and Father,
You have promised your people that you are building a church that the gates of hell shall not overcome.
You have promised that your Word will go out and shall not return to You void;
that Your gospel will be preached to the ends of the earth, and then the end will come.
You have promised your called-out-people, this ek-klesia, the Spirit of Truth that will lead us into all truth, all knowledge and wisdom.
You have given to us your Holy Word, the Scriptures, in which you still speak through and to us today. This Word reveals all about you that is right, true and good.
But Father, in the midst of these promises a contra-gospel arises.
Despite your goodness and gifts to us to guide and sustain us,
there are those who would seek to twist and distort Your Word;
those who wish to tickle their own ears with lies and fabrications that only fit the greed and lusts of their hearts.
We know that the desires of our flesh, the desires of our eyes and the pride of our lives does not come from You,
yet some would teach otherwise.
Father, there is a generation who is hungry and desperate for truth and light.
We seek the bread, not crumbs.
Yet, we stand in between two generations. Those who have come before us who have bought this lie of prosperity,
this lie that the American Dream can be compatible with our faith in You; this lie that your Son was surely an American Jesus who only seeks our comforts, health and wealth.
Now there arises a new generation as well, a young generation of those who will seek your truth in the midst of competing “gospels.”
O Lord, my prayer now is for my generation, this generation who stands in between those who have come before and those who are coming after.
My prayer is that you would give us the love, the courage and the heart to
speak out against this so-called prosperity gospel.
That you would give us the faith and wisdom to live out the Christian faith as you would have us do, for this is a task that we cannot do on our own but only as an extension of your mercy and grace.
Oh I AM, would you stop the spread of this message and disease, this perversion of your truth,
not only from spreading in this country alone,
but in all countries, especially those who have nothing yet are so desperate for anything to cling to.
Father, empower true, gospel-preaching missionaries to boldly preach for your kingdom in these foreign places,
by your Spirit would you see your gospel spread to all nations.
O Lord, my prayer now is that you would tear down the strongholds of this health and wealth “church,”
that you would cease the lies and false utterances of these false teachers;
the Joel Osteens, the Benny Hinns and the Creflo Dollars.
And yes, Lord, we shall not be afraid to name them when necessary;
just as Paul was not afraid to name Hymenaeus and Alexander – the prosperity teachers plaguing your church in Ephesus.
But Lord, my prayer is not to see the character, reputation or honor of these men and women tainted or destroyed; only that they themselves would diminish and You would increase.
Father my prayer is not that you would have it come to pass that these teachers or their followers would come to harm, but that they would be loved and shown the truth of your grace in Christ.
Remove their spiritual blindness and hardheartedness, allowing them to see who Christ is and what he’s done on our behalf.
Teach your church, your body, what it means to be gentle and loving, yet firm and bold.
Show us how to stand up for truth not in the manner that seems appropriate to the world,
but only by the manner that suits inheritors of Your kingdom.
Lord, it is easy for me to adamantly speak out against the so-called prosperity gospel,
yet be comfortable with living my own prosperous lifestyle.
Father, rid me of these distractions, these wrongful desires that take me away from you.
Renew my heart and mind to only seek the things that are above,
for how can I speak against prosperity gospels when I myself love said prosperity?
Rid me of my comforts and needless pleasures, that you might be glorified in and through me.
Not because of me, but in spite of me.