Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Can you stay on your horse?

by Doug Nichols

Jane Austin was a writer during the Victorian era and wrote several books, most of which portrayed the clergy in a demeaning way. The clergy were always simpletons and prideful; seemingly turning down their noses at people, rather than ministering the grace of God and His loving kindness.

Recently my family and I watched a new rendition of “Emma” by the British BBC. The acting and photography were excellent!

In the first part of the series, the Vicar (clergy) was leaving a house and getting on a horse and someone said about him, “That man is so full of himself, it is a wonder he can stay on his horse!”

This is exactly the opposite description of what should be said about a pastor or even a Christian.

Instead, a person should be able to say, “That man [woman] is such a wonderful person. He is so kind, gracious, humble and easy to get along. He is always reaching out to others, serving them, taking the back seat (or even giving up his seat) so that others can be cared for; he is the last one to be served and the first one to graciously give a kind word of encouragement and minister to others, even though he may be suffering himself.”

In Colossians 3:12-13, Paul says, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
As you can see, these nine character qualities listed in Colossians are the exact opposite of pride. A good question for each of us, therefore is, “Can we stay on a horse or are we too full of ourselves with pride?”

“God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6, nasb).

Monday, May 3, 2010

We are Agreed Regarding Prayer

by John Richard, ACTION Minister-at-large

** That if two of us on earth agree about anything we ask for, it will be done for us by our Father in heaven (Matthew 18:19)
** That where two or three of us come together in the name of Jesus, there Jesus is present among us (Matthew 18:20)
** That He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will surely along with Him , graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)
** That if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us -- this is the assuranc e we have in approaching God (1 John 5:14)
** That we will obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need, if we would go boldly to the throne of His grace (Hebrews 4:16)
** That we have not because we ask not and that when we do ask, we do not receive because we ask amiss (James 4:2-3)
** That when someone gives us a hard time and persecutes us, we need to cover that person in earnest prayer (Matthew 5:44)
** That Jesus taught His disciples how to pray rather than how to preach (Matthew 6:5)
** That we are to watch and pray even as Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane required of His disciples: “Could you not watch with me for a single hour?” (Matthew 26:40)
** That Jesus taught by example what it is to continue all night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12)
** That the good and compassionate Heavenly Father is waiting readily to give the Holy Spirit to us, if we would humble ourselves to ask Him (Luke 11:13)
** That if our hearts do not condemn us, then have we confidence toward God and we receive from Him whatever we ask (1 John 3:21-22)
** That if we harbor sin in our hearts, then the Lord will not even hear us; He has to hear us, before He can answer us (Psalm 66:18)
** That the eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous and His ears are open to our cry (Psalm 34:15; James 5:16b)
** That when the poor and needy seek water but there is none and their tongues are failing for thirst, then the LORD will hear them and not forsake them (Isaiah 41:17)
** That even though we confess: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God” , yet there’s no real thirsting in our soul for the living God (Psalm 42:1-2)
** That if we are to have a spiritual revival in our church, then we will need to answer truthfully two disturbing questions: “Has someone got something against me? (Matthew 5:23-24) and “Have I got something against someone? (Mark 11:25)
** That there’s such a thing as solidarity of sin, that is, when any one of us sins, that affects the whole body of Christ (Joshua 7:11, 21; Isaiah 59:9, 11; Ezra 9:13; Nehemiah 9:33-34; Daniel 9:3-19)
** That we are to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests and that with this in mind, we are to be alert and keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18)
** That Satan trembles when he sees the feeblest saint on his knees and that there’s no other way whereby we can withstand against his schemings (Ephesians 6:11)
** That when we call to the LORD, He is willing both to answer us and to show us marvelous and wondrous things we could never have figured out on our own (Jeremiah 33:3)
** That when man works, man works but when man prays, God works (James 5:17-18)

--John Richard, ACTION Minister-at-large