Long ago, in Old Testament times, people attempted to commune with God in various ways, even by offering up animal sacrifices. That system proved to be quite insufficient. For it never did take away sins (Heb. 10:4). Though it was insufficient, it did, however, and it does now, speak of Christ.
The tabernacle. Every detail of the tabernacle, with all its parts and in all the furniture, reminds us of who He is and what He did for us. It also speaks to us of His living temple, the church—the habitation of God.
The tabernacle shows to us, as it did to them, a “new and living way” by which to commune with God. It is the way of the living Christ, “which He consecrated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Heb. 10:20).
Furthermore, the tabernacle gives us a pattern (as a map) of how we…
In Matthew 7:1-5, our Lord has been preaching on judgment. He tells us not to judge others; and whenever we try to correct another we must first look at and purify ourselves, then we can see clearly to help them.
In the sixth verse, most bibles put this verse in a special paragraph on its own. But D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones suggests that that is not right, that it should connect to the previous five verses, that it is the final statement on judgment. Indeed, I agree. It tells the spiritual Christian how he must judge another—with “a spirit of discrimination.” So, Jesus says in verse six…
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
What is meant here? First of all, pearls are the Christian message. And the dogs and the swine are all that is unholy and unclean, or all those who are unworthy to hear the Christian message. And we know that all of us have sinned, but in this context, Jesus was referring to those sinners who reject the gospel and the truth of God and those who hate Him and even snarl at the message of His truth.
So, Jesus is telling us that we ought not to just spread His word of truth to everyone, but only to those who are worthy of it—or who are seeking it. This may come as a surprise to some people. Some may say that since God loves all people, all should hear the gospel. But the end of verse six gives an explanation of why not. Jesus says that some who hear the gospel will “trample them [our words] under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” In short, they reject the truth and even do damage to it and to you.
If you need an example of this, we can look at Jesus teaching. First, we can compare how He answered Pilate with Herod, in Luke 23:3 and 9. With Pilate, in verse three, Jesus answered him; but with Herod, in verse nine, he answered him nothing. Why? Because Jesus judged Pilate to be a genuine seeker of truth, but He knew that Herod cared nothing for the truth. He knew it by his attitude. And there are other examples. Many times Jesus would not speak to the Pharisees, or at least answer their questions. He instead would go and minister to the Gentiles and to the sinners, as also Paul did.
In all our evangelism efforts and when we seek to teach the truth to people, we should always learn who we are talking to, to see if they are worthy of hear us. Here are three sets of instructions that may be helpful to you in your speaking to others.
Learn to know what to give each person in each particular situation.
Learn to know the way to present the truth to each person. Learn to assess people.
Learn which aspect of truth is appropriate in each particular case.
Also, know that our presentation to unbelievers must be different than to believers. An unbeliever only needs one thing, the doctrine of justification by faith. They need only to know of their sinful life and their need of salvation. Any other bit of truth will have no meaning to them; or we should say that they will take it wrong because of their unregenerated state.
To believers, some have a need for basic truth only—the milk of the word; others should be fed more solid food—the meat of the word.
Intercessors are the workers of the prayer ministry. We can have great leaders and organizers, great groups, and wonderful prayer conferences, but without intercessors there would be no prayer ministry. Intercession is what makes the prayer ministry happen.
There are always some faithful souls who are eager to pray that will volunteer to sign up as intercessors. Most of us, however, are just too independent and too occupied with our own affairs. Therefore, we need to be reminded to pray, and recruited to intercede for others.
You who are leaders in the prayer ministry are the recruiters. You need to stand in the gap for the prayer ministry that God has called you to (Ezek. 22:30). Here are some ideas on who you should recruit as intercessors.
Recruit those who are attracted to your ministry. Your ministry will be of a certain type; likewise, your personality and your way of doing things will be unique. If someone comes along and likes what they see, and senses that they are being called by God to join you, that is the person you want on your team.
Recruit your friends. Recruit those who are on all different levels of friendship to intercede for you and your ministry. They will be as circles around you. You may have two or three close friends to pray for you; they will be as tight circles around you. You will usually have ten to twenty casual friends; they should be as a larger prayer circle around you. Then there will always be a greater number, sometimes hundreds, who are your acquaintances; they should also pray for you, guarding your parameter.
Therefore, we should think of our friends as those who pray for us. And if they are truly our friends then they will prayer for us. But we should also recruit friends for our friends. This is part of the hard work of the prayer ministry.
Recruit those who seem to be more gifted as intercessors.I don’t know if I believe that God has given a spiritual gift of intercession to some people more than others. But we do know that there are some Christians who enjoy prayer more than others, and pray more.
Peter Wagner is one who believes that God has gifted some with a spiritual gift of intercession. He has said in his book, Prayer Shield that 5% of the average congregation has the gift of intercession. He states that those who have this gift “pray longer,” “pray with more intensity,” “enjoy prayer more and receive more personal satisfaction from their prayer times,” and, “are acutely aware of hearing quite clearly from God.”9
As I said, I am not ready to say that these people have a special spiritual gift; but I do accept what Peter Wagner has observed. Anyway, these are the type of Christians that you need on your prayer team. These are the people that we need to seek out and recruit—for ourselves and for others. Many of these great prayer warriors I have a feeling are not signed up to pray for as many people as they would like to pray for. I think many of them would be tickled if someone asked them to be an intercessor for them—because, after all, that is what they feel they are called to do!
Okay, now that you have an idea who to recruit, the question now is how to recruit? Basically, I would say, you will look for those who show an interest in prayer. Recruiting is just keeping your eyes open to see and find those whom God has prepared and given a heart for prayer. But since each type of ministry is different we must apply different methods of recruiting for each of them.
If you are part of a state, national or worldwide prayer ministry you may want to start by seeing who has subscribed to your prayer magazine, or who has purchased any of your prayer materials. Those will be some of the ones who are more interested in prayer. From that interested list you can send a letter asking them to sign up as an intercessor.
If you are part of a small group ministry or a church ministry you may want to call those whom you think are interested in prayer or approach them in person.
In whatever way you approach your interested people, make sure you communicate to them exactly what they will be required to do. For instance, tell them how often you will be sending them prayer requests, and tell them how much you expect them to pray. I think the more you make things clear to them the more they will be motivated to intercede.
Why all people need intercessors, and why some need them more than others
All of us who are human need someone to intercede for us because we all have needs and problems and we are all subject to temptation. If each of us had friends around us, interceding for us, we would all be better off—we would all have a better chance at overcoming temptation, and being protected.
Pastors and evangelists, I think need prayer more than others; therefore they need more intercessors interceding for them. Here are…
Three Reasons Why Pastors and Evangelists Need More Prayer
1. They receive a stricter judgment (James 3:1). Since God holds teachers and leaders more accountable, they need more prayer protection and prayer power.
2. Satan will be after them more. Pastors and evangelists preach and teach the Word more and proclaim the gospel more than others. Therefore, Satan hates them more and will temp them more than others.
3. Pastors and evangelists have more influence on others. They need prayer more than others because they have more responsibilities and they influence more people. If Satan overtakes a pastor, for example, the whole congregation is affected. Therefore, when we pray for a pastor we are in effect praying for the whole church.
I don’t think there has ever been a great preacher or evangelist that did not have faithful prayer warriors interceding for them. Peter Wagner in his Prayer Shield tells of two great evangelists, Charles Finney and Billy Graham, who each had their faithful intercessors praying for them. Finney had one known as “Father Nash” who frequently traveled with him; and Billy Graham had Pearl Goode, which Graham himself has attributed much of his evangelism power to.10
It is a shame that more pastors don’t try to recruit more intercessors for themselves. As we have seen, they certainly have a need to. Nonetheless, we should make it our aim and duty to intercede for them, and to recruit others to do the same.
Encouraging intercessors. Intercession is hard work. And sometimes, especially if answers don’t come quickly, the work is discouraging. If you are a leader in a prayer ministry you need to take time to encourage your intercessors. I suggest that you communicate regularly to let your prayer partners know that you appreciate their service to you.
The Yellow Salsify or Yellow Goatsbeard may be considered a weed much like the dandelion.
I have been waking up early these days, because of the early light and also because of the heat. This morning I decided, before church, to go for a walk to beat the heat of the day. To my surprise I saw so many of my favorite flower—the Yellow Goatsbeard. They were all over the place—dozens of them. But I didn’t bring my camera. Rats! (the above is an earlier picture)
Here you see just the large pod of the Goatsbeard. It is in the middle of the day so the flowerhas closed up.
After church, though it was hot, I decided to go back to where I had walked earlier to get a few pictures of the Yellow Goatsbeard. But they were gone! I saw some of their pods closed-up, but no flowers. Suddenly, it dawned on me; these particular flowers open in the early morning and then shut when the morning is over—I suppose to escape the bright sun or the heat.
I think we miss so much when we fail to get up in the morning with the sun. We not only miss the blooming of special flowers; we miss the voice of the Lord. Isaiah 50:4b says,
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.
The words of this entire passage (vs 4-11) are Jesus’ words to His Father (and also words to us, to show us His obedient relationship with His Father). He wants us to have that same kind of relationship with Him and with the Father; and He wants us to get up in the morning and listen to Him as a disciple.
I think the fact that I was able to see the Yellow Goatsbeard when I went out at 6:30, and not see any of them later, tells me that God has special delights for us in the morning when we make a sacrifice for Him.
In this post we will first discuss prayer as approaching the throne with confidence, and how mediation aids us in that process. Next, just briefly, we will talk about Jesus as our High Priest and how He gives us confidence in prayer.
Meditation Helps Us Approach The Throne of God with Confidence
First of all, we need to understand this aspect of prayer—that prayer is an approach to the throne. And it is that, simply because that is the nature of prayer. According to Spurgeon, “True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God. It is not the utterance of words, it is not alone the feeling of desires, but it is the advance of the desires to God, the spiritual approach of our nature toward the Lord our God.”5
Secondly, we could say that prayer is approaching…
These are large and far-reaching ministries, but I think they are just as important as the others. God wants us to prayer for all people, far as well as near. This is how these prayer ministries may be designed.
They may operate through the following avenues:
Magazines and newspapers. There are a few good Christian magazines and newspapers out there that focus on prayer. I get Herald of His Coming, which is jam packed with articles on prayer and it also provides the reader with about eight or ten News Briefs with prayer requests from various countries. I think newspapers and magazines like this one is an excellent way to recruit prayer ministry members, provide the reader with world-wide prayer requests, and to keep him or her motivated to pray.
A prayer letter. A letter may be mailed to all magazines and newspapers subscribers. Its purpose will be to invite…
Self-confidence is inherent within us. It is something we were born with, a gift we have from God. But that kind of confidence can be abused—when we give into our pride. A better, more reliable source of confidence, and what I want to talk about now, is God-confidence. This is something a bit different. When we are confident in God we are not confident in our strength, rather in our weakness, so that He is made strong in us (2 Cor. 12:9-10). We could also say that a God-confidence will serve to help our self-confidence—to help us not to abuse our self-confidence.
So, with that said, how do we get this God-confidence? I want to suggest four ways: by repentance and trust, by obedience, by meditation, and by fellowship.
Repentance and trust. The first step on your way to confidence is to admit your spiritual…
These ministries are very important.The goal for each of them is to get Christian people praying together for their city or community, so that, according to 1Timothy 2:2, they may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Here are a few ideas of what I think this ministry should look like:
1. There should be a clear focus of ministry.That focus must be on interceding for the needs of the city or community. Those needs will be at least three-fold:
(1) For its leaders. Prayer must be made for all the city or community leaders, that they be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth; but also, that God would work through them, so that whether they are believers or not, they would rule and make decisions with God’s wisdom.
(2) For churches. Prayer should be made for all Christian churches…
In my last post we learned from the Bible that confidence is a trust, mainly it is a trust in God. Confidence is also having hope, courage, and assurance. Thus if we have confidence toward God we have hope in what He has provided for us, courage because He is with us, and an assurance that the things He has promised us He will give to us. And through it all, because we have confidence in Him, we feel secure and safe. If you think about it, for a Christian, confidence is absolutely essential. Here are five things we can have confidence in God for.
1. For our salvation. Some people don’t think it’s important to know that when they die they are going to heaven. But God does. That’s why He has given us so many promises that we can claim for our salvation. A favorite of mine is…
This will sound like a broken record, but I am still on this journey to get rid of worry—worry…worry…worry…
Recently, I have been having auto troubles—hearing loud grinding noises from the starter. Yesterday morning I was reading from Psalm 37. The words trust, rest in, and wait on the Lord were the most predominant and helpful. I said “yes” to the Lord in regard to those things. I will trust Him and wait patiently.
Well yesterday afternoon, just before I was ready to leave my work place, I wondered how many starts I had left in my truck. Just before I would turn the key, I prayed and gave my situation to the Lord. I turn the key. It made a little noise and then nothing. It was gone. I called a tow truck and waited.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t too worried because I had given it to Him. Yes, I knew I would be tested, but I also knew that He would be with me—as He always is. I don’t know why I worry.
Today my auto shop guy gave me a new starter. All is well until the next test. I will try to remember those words: trust, rest in, and wait on Him. I think it is just a matter of my will saying “I will trust Him… I will rest in Him.” And in every test, it is another opportunity to trust Him.