Category Archives: Church

Prayers for American Churches (7/25/2019)

Christ Church Stellarton

Photograph of Christ Anglican Church, Stellarton, NS. Taken the morning of October 28, 2005

How does the Kingdom of God fit together with the church?

Most who have taught on the kingdom of God over the last fifty years have made a dramatic separation between the church and kingdom of God. In other words, they’ve said the kingdom is totally different from the church. That statement is true and also false.

It’s true if you define church as a Sunday morning service or you define church as a building or you define the church as all of the believers in the world. Then the church is not the kingdom and the kingdom is not the church. Those two things are completely separate.

BUT if you define the word “church” as it appears in the English New Testament as ecclesia, which is the Greek word for it. And ecclesia meant a local body of believers that lived in face-to-face community that had a shared life together and took care of each other and loved one another and knew each other in the sense that they saw themselves as family despite racial divisions, despite economic divisions, and despite sexual divisions (meaning men and women). It you see it as that – a living, breathing, close-knit extended family – all of whom were living by the life of Jesus Christ.  Then that was the kingdom of God on this earth.

You see, a kingdom refers to the king, his domain and the people ruled by the king.

In 30 AD, if you wanted to see the kingdom, you needed to find Jesus. He embodied the kingdom. After Jesus ascended, the corporate followers became Christ on the earth – His kingdom.

So, if you want to see the Kingdom of God now, we need to find a group who expresses Christ living in and through them. (Frank Viola, Insurgence Podcast)

My prayer today:

Lord, You promised that You would build Your church on a rock so that the gates of Hell would never prevail against it. So, we desperately ask that You build Your church in America now. (Based on Matthew 16:18)

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America’s churches.

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Prayers for American Church System (7/18/2019)

Christ Church Stellarton

Photograph of Christ Anglican Church, Stellarton, NS. Taken the morning of October 28, 2005

We can learn much about the Kingdom of God and also the Church by looking at God’s first kingdom venture on earth (after the fall): Israel.

God’s desire for Israel was that the nation would have no king and no standing army. God would be the Israelites’ King and their defense. Israel was divided up into twelve parcels, one for each tribe. The leaders for each tribe would be elders, heads of families and families. Israel was set up to be a loosely governed confederation of tribes and families, unlike any other nation at the time.

In approximately 1043 BC, the elders came to Samuel the prophet and said, “Samuel, you are old. Now make for us a king to rule over us like all of the other nations.”

Samuel felt bad, but God told him, “Listen to the people. They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should no longer reign over them.”

God warned Israel, telling them all that the kings would do to abuse their authority over Israel. Yet, the people of Israel still said, “We want a king so we are like the other nations.”

From 1043 BC with King Saul until the fall of Jerusalem under King Zedekiah in 586 BC, Israel and Judah had a government headed by a king. They were like the other nations with a hierarchal governmental system. It was a total failure.

Why?

God said it would fail and it did.

Okay, now let’s look at the American Church system.

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

Thousands of American believers are praying for revival, which they hope will bring a move of the Spirit to America’s churches and change our nation. Hey, if it happens, I will join my brothers and sisters in celebration.

But…I don’t believe it will happen.

Most of America’s churches resemble Israel with a hierarchal government reigning over them. The New Testament name – pastor – sounds better than king, but make no doubt about it, the American pastor is generally an overlord in charge of the membership. He’s the CEO! This type of church system has been in place since Martin Luther reformed the church in 1517. Five hundred years!

Now, many will say that God has often revived the Church in times past. And yes, He has, but He also sent some good kings to Israel and Judah until He didn’t send them anymore. Maybe the American church system is in the same season that Israel was when its hierarchal government failed.

So don’t stay with the same-o same-o attitude about traditional churches just because God has not reformed the wineskin in times past. Seek the Lord.

I believe God will totally reform the church, preparing it for the End Times.

My prayer today:

Lord, help us American believers not to be conformed to this age and its traditions, but to be transformed and changed by the entire renewal of our minds and attitudes so that we may know what is Your good and perfect will for Your Church. (Based on Romans 12:2)

Join with me to fast and pray for America’s churches.

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Prayers for the Gifts of Healing and Miracles (5/23/2019)

Jesus said that in the last days, nations would rise against nations (or people groups versus people groups) and kingdoms against kingdoms. He said there would be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places.

So what are we doing? Are we preparing ourselves?

For instance, do we realize one in ten Americans are taking illegal drugs? Seven out of ten Americans are taking prescription drugs? Or one in four people have mental health issues? 

Can we even imagine what it will be like if people can’t get their drugs because of earthquakes or wars? It will be total chaos in our neighborhoods!

I know. I know. Many of us will answer all of these questions by saying: “I’m going to trust the Lord.” And that’s all well and good!

But Paul the apostle wrote to Timothy –

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. (2 Timothy 1:6)

We must do everything we can right now to stir up our gifts of healing and miracles to prepare us for the dark days ahead. If we wait until tragedy hits, we won’t have the faith or trust in our gifts to help the hurting people in our neighborhoods.

The old axiom – practice makes perfect – is also true with the spiritual gifts. So, let’s lay hands on and pray for every sick and hurting person we meet. Let’s not give up! Let’s keep on doing it and trusting God to perform the work of healing through us and our spiritual gifts. Eventually, we will reap a harvest of healing.

My prayer today:

Lord, help us to hear Your voice, believe Your words and step out in faith to do Your works of healing in our neighborhoods.

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for the Body of Christ in America.

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Friday’s End-Times Bible Study (Part 2)

When we study the End-Times, we have to stay focused on the main story line, which is Israel, Jerusalem, the Jews and their Jewish King. Yes, you and I have been written into the story with our salvations because we have been  grafted into the natural olive tree – Israel. But we ourselves are not the main story line, okay?

With that in mind, let’s look at the Jewish calendar and some important dates and feasts:

Nisan 1 or Rosh Chodashim (during our March or April): This is New Year’s Day for Israel because it is the day when Israel was delivered out of Egypt. Talmud tradition states that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob each died on Nisan 1.

But more importantly, I believe (along with Jonathan Cahn and others) that this is the date when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. There are lots of reasons behind my thinking, but most of it links to the Jewish calendar and God’s order of events. Interestingly enough, our modern calendars begin with the year of Christ’s birth. Thus, why shouldn’t the Jewish calendar begin with the day of Christ’s birth?

Feast of Passover or Pesach (Nisan 14-15, during our March or April): Passover is the feast of salvation which celebrates the blood of a lamb delivering Jews out of Egyptian slavery. Jesus fulfilled this feast by becoming our Lamb of God, dying on the cross and applying His blood to our sins and lives.

Feast of Unleavened Bread or Chag HaMotzi (Nisan 15-22, during our March or April): This feast celebrates the removal of sin (yeast) from people’s lives. Jesus fulfilled this at the cross by being broken for us and becoming our Bread of Life.

Feast of First Fruits or Reshit Katzir (Nisan 17, during our March or April): This feast celebrates the fertility of the land. Jesus fulfilled this feast when He rose from the grave and became our First Fruit.

Feast of Pentecost or Shavu’ot (Sivan 6, during our May or June): This feast celebrates the summer harvest. This was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit fell on believers fifty days after Jesus rose from the grave.

I wrote the above to show that all of the Jewish spring feasts have been fulfilled and fulfilled in order. That leaves us the fall feasts to be fulfilled sometime in the future.

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

Over and over, we’ve heard that nobody knows the day or hour when Jesus will return, right? They even say, “He will return like a thief in the night.”

But because our Bibles are written in English, and not in Hebrew or Greek, we miss the idioms the Bible author meant when he wrote his letters. These idioms were common knowledge back in the apostles’ days, but have been lost to most of us today.

The phrase “thief in the night” refers to the fall Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashana.

The Torah commanded that no one was to work on this day. But because the Sanhedrin had to first see the new moon before a trumpet (or shofar) was blown, the day was made into a long day of 48 hours so no one would break the commandment of not working. Thus, the moon showed up like a “thief in the night” during that time period.

Also, the “thief in the night” refers to when the bridegroom returned for his bride, according to his father’s instructions. No one knew the day or hour when the bridegroom would show up.

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:4

We seldom hear that Paul clarified his earlier words about the “thief in the night,” but he did. He knew his readers would understand that the idiom referred to Feast of Trumpets.

And guess what?

The next feast on the Jewish Calendar, which needs to be fulfilled, is Feast of Trumpets.

We will develop this more in future articles.

(Continued in Part 3…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.

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With 60 Million Aborted Babies, Why Hasn’t God Removed America Yet? (Part 7)

We have this misguided thought that prophetic voices all work off the same page when they prophesy, but this isn’t true. The Lord reveals to each of His prophetic voices the individual insights He wants each to have so each can bring the specific word of the Lord for his generation.

For instance, Habakkuk and Zephaniah were contemporaries of Jeremiah, but only Jeremiah received the following insight:

Therefore do not pray for this people [Judah], nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. (Jeremiah 7:16)

This should make all of us shake our heads in amazement that God would ask His mouthpiece – and also a chosen intercessor – not to pray for a nation, heading toward judgment.

And just to make sure that Jeremiah heard Him, God repeated Himself a few days later:

Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their trouble. (Jeremiah 11:14)

Let’s put this in context, okay? The Lord is speaking about a specific nation – Judah – in these verses, not individuals. Nations have specific seasons when they must repent and change while individuals can repent right up to their dying breaths.

But what if Habakuk and Zephaniah truly believed Judah might repent and thus stave off God’s judgment? Wouldn’t these two prophets have spent much of their time praying and fasting for Judah? Of course, they would have.

So, on the one hand, there were probably two of God’s prophets praying and fasting for Judah to repent and change, but on the other hand, there was Jeremiah who had been told not to pray because God was going to judge and carry off Judah to Babylon.

Was God confused?

No, absolutely not.

God uses His prophetic voices to draw people to Him, to give them hope and to prepare them for the days lying ahead. But we have to remember that not all people walk at the same spiritual level. So, God sends prophetic voices to encourage believers to move to higher spiritual levels without overwhelming them ahead of time.

I like to think of God’s prophetic voices being like the grains in a 12 Hour Contac Cold Capsule. Each grain of cold medicine is a different size from the others. Some are really minute while others are really large. It takes different amounts of time for the stomach to break down each grain size. In this manner, the cold capsule combats cold symptoms for each of the twelve hours.

Hopefully, this helps to explain why sometimes prophetic voices seemingly contradict one another when they talk about a nation. Some may be talking about revival while others may be talking about God’s wrath.

(Continued in Part 7but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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More Prayers for a Love of the Truth (4/9/2019)

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Do you ever look at America, shake your head and wonder how things could have changed so much in just a short time?

Abortions. Same sex marriages. LGBT. Transgenderism. Racial problems. Youth rebellion. This list could go on and on.

Why?

For the mystery of lawlessness [rebellion against divine authority and the coming reign of lawlessness] is already at work; [but it is restrained] only until He who now restrains it is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7 AMP)

Things are bad, right?

Well, hang onto your hat because you haven’t seen anything yet! How can I say something so pessimistic as this, especially when so many people are talking about a great revival?

You see, most people ignore the following two verses:

Because of this God will send upon them a misleading influence, [an activity of error and deception] so they will believe the lie, 12 in order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe the truth [about their sin, and the need for salvation through Christ], but instead took pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

God would never lie or deceive any person, but He will stand out of the way and allow people who continually ignore the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts to believe their sins are okay with Him.

Maybe that’s why South Bend’s gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg could say, “If you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my Creator.”

Now is the time to pray and fast for our loved ones and neighbors.

My prayer today:

Lord, send the Spirit of Truth to open up the hearts of our loved ones and our American neighbors so that they receive the love of the truth and are saved. (Based on John 16:13 and 2 Thessalonians 2:10 AMP)

Join us on Tuesdays to fast and pray for America.

 

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With 60 Million Babies Aborted, Why Hasn’t God Removed America Yet? (Part 1)

Throughout history, every nation that has murdered its babies has been removed by God. This includes the apple of His eye – Judah.

Judah went astray when King Manasseh and other kings set up an idol to Molech, an Ammonite god. Couples would honor Molech by burning their firstborn child as a sacrifice to Molech. The couples believed this would ensure their financial prosperity for themselves and their future children.

Say to the people of Israel, “Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes… then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after Molech.” (Leviticus 20:2)

Manasseh was king of Judah for fifty-five years. He sacrificed his firstborn son to Molech and by his example encouraged others to do the same. God sent prophets to Manasseh to repent, but the king would not listen to them. Thus, God sent the Assyrian army to take Manasseh into captivity to Babylon.

While in captivity, King Manasseh prayed and repented of his sins. Then God restored him to his throne in Jerusalem. Manasseh spent the rest of his life trying to remove the pagan influences in Jerusalem.

Two years after Manasseh’s death, King Josiah brought a great revival to Judah. He repaired the Temple, restored the feasts, renewed the covenant with God and reformed the nation. God said about Josiah: “There was no king like him, who turned to Him with all of his heart, with all his soul and all his might.”

Nevertheless the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, with which His anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. (2 Kings 23:26)

Jerusalem fell in 586 BC and Judah was carried off captive to Babylon. The reason the Lord removed Judah: the sins of Manasseh.

They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood. (Psalm 106:37-38)

 (Continued in Part 2)

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