Thursday, February 4, 2016

PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE SERIES - THE BOOK OF JAMES, #9

METHODOLOGY CONCERNING:HEALING PRAYER
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (James 5:14-15)

Many of us can testify to the Power of Prayer to heal. Healing is not just God's business but He is the Chief Specialist and the Head of Every Medical school in history. Due to this fact, He has called many into this ministry/movement of intercessory prayer. Those of us who are well known as prayer warriors are used to getting phone calls, emails, texts and Facebook posts regularly, where we pray for some really critical needs several times a day. Therefore, due to the fact that we live in a time where diseases are more intense, some incurable and even more very devastating, it is absolutely critical that we are familiar with the processes of prayer for the sick.

In studying the Methodology of Prayer as we have been, throughout the Book of James, the Word of God shows the casual church-goer the direction to look when there is a need for healing prayer. The verses above give us direction as to:
1. Who is Qualified to Pray:  We are ALL qualified to pray as the Redeemed of the Lord who are walking close to Him. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us we are a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation and God's special possession. But only a few of His "royal priests" have devoted themselves to Prayer. While, in the early church the Elders were the ones empowered by the Holy Spirit to pray for the Sick, in the this dispensation of the Age of Grace, there are not enough praying elders to go around. Therefore, the praying saint is very much in demand. 
ACTION POINT: Make yourself available as the go-to person for prayer from anyone, including absolute strangers.

2. What the Process of Healing Prayer is: While the Bible recommends anointing a sick person with oil, many in conservative churches consider this to be more in the charismatic stream of the Faith and would rather decline its use. The use of anointing oil is NOT mandatory when laying hands or praying over/with another person. But if you wish to use it, please ask permission first. Oil in the Bible signifies, primarily, the Holy Spirit. The act of anointing with oil, while praying for someone else, is an outward acknowledgment that the Holy Spirit is being officially invited to be present while we pray. 

It also does not matter where we begin to pray for a person and it is always better to pray with or for a person immediately if they are in your presence or quietly if you're in an office or grocery line.  NEVER tell someone that they are in your "thoughts and prayers" and then never pray for them! After anointing with oil (or not) proceed to prayer with humility, urgency, power, authority and clarity. Sometimes less is more, so keep your words few but aligned with Scripture and believe in the Promises of God to never leave, forsake or abandon. But accept, on behalf of the person prayed for, the comfort, healing and restoration of that person, believing that "by His stripes, he/she is healed".

3. Where Wild at Heart Faith Conquers: Wild at Heart was a popular book in a lot of men's movement ministries over a decade ago. There was a huge quote in this book which underlines why we must have the kind of Faith which is strong enough to reach the Throne on behalf of another person's illness or your own. Author John Eldredge says in his book that “You can't fight a battle you don't think exists.” Faith is something which no one can see, but they CAN see the RESULTS if we pursue His Healing hands on behalf of others". This is quite noteworthy,  We can see the results of prayer, if the Lord wishes healing on such a one. Even if the answer to our prayers include "no" or "not yet", pray with all the authentic faith, which a true believer possesses.

PREVIOUS POSTS ON THE METHODOLOGY OF PRAYER FROM THE BOOK OF JAMES:
PART 8
PART 7
PART 6

Sunday, January 31, 2016

THIRTY ONE DAYS OF BIBLE TRUTHS - DAY 31 (SPREADING JOY)

BIBLE VERSE: "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11

TRUTH: As Christians, we above all else, should have the joy and peace that passes every form of understanding in this world. That is because we comprehend, by having apprehended, through the design, plans and purposes of the Lord, the message of Salvation, through the Ministry of Reconciliation. By bringing us into the Kingdom of Heaven, through our election as sons and daughters of Christ, our Faith and complete dependence on and in Him, blaze a path for us to show as many as possible the direct path to similar peace, joy and contentment.

There was an old television commercial years ago where an adult was asking a younger person "how come you're so glum?" Gloominess does NOT become the Christian. We, who have the Joy of the Lord, because of the Jesus Who saves, owe it to Jehovah to share it. Here is where the verse above confirms that there is Fullness of Joy for those who are in the Lord.
Fullness of joy reflects the abundance and completeness which not only fills us daily, but multiplies on itself daily. 
Fullness of joy reinforces the spirit of the Westminster Confession- i.e. "the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever". 
Fullness of joy reminds us of the just, merciful, good, compassionate and loving God of Heaven - the ONLY true God - in Whom there is the true pleasant and delightful things which matter in this life, and the next.

The one qualifier is this, to lead someone else into His Presence, we ourselves, must have found ourselves there in the first place, through the Cross of Christ, and repentance of our sins...thereby, accepting Jesus Christ is Lord. With this in place, there is absolutely nothing, in this dark and dying world, which prevents us from not just walking in the Light, but bringing this Light to others in needs of illumination.




Saturday, January 30, 2016

THIRTY ONE DAYS OF BIBLE TRUTHS - DAY 30 (COURAGEOUS WAITING)

BIBLE VERSE: "Wait for the LORD ; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD" (Psalm 27:14).

TRUTH: It takes courage sometimes to do nothing. But that is exactly what Father wants us to do, if we really trust and believe in His Will for our lives. Courageous living begins and ends with depending fully on God's timing for our lives. This goes against the thinking of a world full of "instant" - instant mashed potatoes, instant coffee, instant this, instant that and even instant cameras! We want it all now, and we want it all, period. But Jesus calls for a different mindset from us, His disciples. He says in Mark 5:36 "But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe."

There we have it. Courage and living courageously requires both Faith and Wait. It takes strong Faith in the Lord for the man and woman of God. It takes strong Faith to be full of Divine Courage, which is the opposite of Fear and Anxiety. Look at exhortation from today's verse - Psalm 27:14:
- Wait for the Lord: you and I can give countless examples of striking out on our own, even if we said we prayed, only to fail in our own strength.
- Be strong: have the Faith which Christ calls for. It is opposite of Fear and perfect Love conquers Fear. If you love God, you will have that Faith.
- Let your heart take courage: This is not just a call to courage, but the LORD is calling for allowing YOUR spiritual heart to listen to Holy Spirit.
- Wait for the Lord: in case you missed it the first time. He is calling for us to "just hold on, My Timing is a lot better than yours and the result will be out of this world"!

Friday, January 29, 2016

THIRTY ONE DAYS OF BIBLE TRUTHS - DAY 29 (ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY)

BIBLE VERSE: "Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads" (Joshua 7:6)

TRUTH: In Old Testament days, a sign of true repentance, shame and sorrow over sin was the "rending" (or ripping) of your upper body clothing and sitting in a pile of ashes, while pouring some over your head. It was a public sign of humility and complete openness of the individual before God that public or private sin needed to be confessed. When Jonah preached to the 100,000 people of Nineveh, they all put on sackcloth (uncomfortable clothing made from black goat's hair), poured ashes over their heads and repented of all their sins corporately and individually. God saved each and everyone of them, from the King of Nineveh (now Mosul, Iraq) to the lowliest person.

This outward sign, in the sight of God, is the ultimate act of owning and accepting personal responsibility for one's actions. We don't go the sackcloth and ashes - or the rending and dust over heads - route these days, but we are still responsible for our own actions. God will hold ALL mankind responsible for any unconfessed sin and unlike the latest psychobabble in modern society, each person who ever lived will give an account, saved or unsaved. There will be none of this before the Judgment Seats of Christ: "my parents did not love me"; "I grew up poor"; "I was hurt by some ungodly pastor" or some such excuse. The best thing we can do to help ourselves from now, is to accept responsibility for every corner of our lives from the seen, to the unseen and be like Joshua in this verse above (Joshua 7:6)
- Joshua tore his clothes: so approach God in with an spirit of surrender and openness to His correction and direction.
- Joshua fell on his face: he approached God in complete reverence and awe as to Whom he was appearing before. We should do likewise.
- Joshua was before the ark: we should go immediately and directly to the Foot of the Cross and camp there until Holy Spirit releases us in complete forgiveness.
- Joshua poured dust on his head: he, and thus we, accepted responsibility, which is the first step to redemption and restoration.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

THIRTY ONE DAYS OF BIBLE TRUTHS - DAY 28 (REJECT PASSIVITY)

BIBLE VERSE: “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30.

TRUTH: There is a shortage of real men these days...in fact - real anything. Authenticity is at a premium. Everywhere you look, from the corner house to the state house, from the people's house to the church house, fake is in, good is out. Folks are just going through the motions, trying to make it from one day to the next. Some just mail it in and allow themselves, their children and their communities to be run over. We see it right now in Europe which is being overrun by a Stone Age religion while the few people of God there remain silent. We see it in the rest of western civilization where passivity - laying low and hoping all this evil will go away - is the norm, and righteousness is scoffed at. 
God is still looking for a few good men and women. He is desirous of those fixed on Him and will never waver. What the times demand, what the future of our families and the next generation requires is for the true people of Yahweh to take a stand for the Truth, be bold and courageous for our God is with us. Greater is He Who is in us is not a cliché but Bible Truth. The same Spirit Who raised Jesus from the dead lives in every born-again Christian. He/she who has the Spirit has life, he/she who does NOT have the Spirit does not have (eternal) life. NOW, this same indwelling Holy Spirit does NOT live in cowards. He abides, empowers, directs and affirms those who belong to Christ (John 1:12). Knowing all of this, why would an authentic Christian not pray, not dig into the Scriptures, not praise our God, not seek the assembly of the saints but just run out the clock and sit on the most minuscule of leads? God is looking for a person in all levels of society to “stand in the gap”, to renounce laziness, to rebuke sloth, to reject passivity. Would we step up now or would we rather answer to Him one day, for not doing a thing about anything?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

THIRTY ONE DAYS OF BIBLE TRUTHS - DAY 27 (REJECT IDOLATRY)

BIBLE VERSE: "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all?"(Ezekiel 14:3).

TRUTH: Idolatry is worse to day than even when the Lord Himself was speaking to the great prophet Ezekiel here about 2600 years ago. What God said to Him then, or to Moses 3500 years ago applies even more so to humans alive at this present time. Everything written in God's Word is for all people of all time. There are people today whose lives are lived entirely in the now, with a line of sight no further than the nose they have buried in their smartphones and electronics. Their spiritual eyes, minds and hearts are so distracted by the lure of their possessions that their natural eyes sometimes forgets to inform them they've stepped off the curb into on-coming traffic. But Idolatry is not just the love of the gods of material things or the corruption of this modern world. Many equate the false gods of the pagan religions, even in Christian colleges and churches, to the God of the Bible and Creation. Many including religious leaders say demonic cults and religions worship the same God Whose Son gave His Life on the Cross so the world may be saved. Many even talk strange oaths to secret societies, with strange looking hats and toys, while claiming to do good works that they claim will get them into Heaven. This is ALL Idolatry.

All of this aforementioned Idolatry will lead untold billions to destruction unless there is a change of heart and they look through their hardened sin, to the One Who forgives - Jesus. There is a line of thought that a person should only "trust" their sins are forgiven but the word "repent" is one which requires action on behalf of the person who has never met the Savior Face to face. The idols of the heart are the worse to get rid of in this paradigm, since the natural man or woman loves being deluded by sin, or it would not be committed. In fact, anyone whose hearts are set on ANYTHING else on God, even if it is another person to love, is committing Idolatry. And that replacement love is called Iniquity, which is a much stronger word that it's first grade cousin "sin"! Iniquity guarantees guilty judgment and punishment unless there is repentance. There are those who walk in this condition, call themselves Christians, go to church on Sunday or four times a year or never, who never have the Ear of God. They never will until their final breath until they too reject idolatry, renounce any ungodly oaths they've taken and cry out to Jesus for His Forgiveness. If this describes the condition of someone we know, let's reach out to them, as soon as possible.



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

THIRTY ONE DAYS OF BIBLE TRUTHS - DAY 26 (GOLDEN FAITH)

BIBLE VERSE: "So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" 1 Peter 1:7

TRUTH: True gold is tested by fire. The gold is cooked and cooked and cooked until ALL impurities are removed, in the form of the sludge and dross which rises to the top. What is left behind is a solid 24 karat precious metal, shiny and beautiful. This is how it was back in the bazaars and shops when Peter and Jesus' other disciples walked the earth, spreading the good news of the gospel. To be sure, only the very wealthy could have afforded this precious metal at the time. But in Jesus' economy, the poorest widow is richer than all the billionaires of the world combined, if she has Faith that is just pure golden!

The possessor of  "Golden Faith" is one who has been through the ringer of life, yet comes out shining because the Spirit of God reflects the deep praise and commitment to the Father, that lives in such a one. Golden Faith is not something which is attained overnight, but one which refined in the fires of tribulation, tears, fears and even cares. Golden Faith is also one which has been refine of all impurities, just like gold metal, to bring it to as close to 100% pure as is possible in this life. Golden Faith never wavers, wanders away or waffles in the face of adversity. Golden Faith stands up for Jesus when everyone else is diluting His Name on earth, with the systems of this dying age. Golden Faith is authentic, undefiled and uncompromising. Is our faith like 24 Carat Gold which reflects the Image and Power of the Savior? Let us so hope.

Monday, January 25, 2016

THIRTY ONE DAYS OF BIBLE TRUTHS - DAY 25 (#CLEANLIVESMATTER)

Fuller's Earth Would be used in water 
as soap to cleanse fabric in Bible Days
BIBLE VERSE: "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap". Malachi 3:2

TRUTH: If you really look into a study of what a "Fuller" does, it would stun a person and make quite obvious, why clothing, fine cloths are fabric were so expensive in days of old. Fuller's soap is mentioned twice in the Old Testament and both point to the great Great Purifier, Who's precious blood cleanseth as white as snow. The process is thus, in brief: a fuller lived outside the city and needed space to lay out picked cotton which has been beaten flat on a surface by paddles and/or a large stone. He then has the flattened out product trod upon by all kinds of feet running up and down it. Then once that is beaten and all the natural oily and other sticky subtances found in natural fibers are taken out, the fuller washes in water to get more impurities out. At this point the fuller then washes the fabric in alkali (soapy) substances in large tubs of water to whiten the fabric. This produces some fantastic white linen and cloth once the cleansing with this "fuller's soap" is complete and the fabric has gone through the beating and cleaning process.

It is precisely this type of process which God puts His elect through in order to makes us fit for the Kingdom. The sanitized word is sanctification. But when the Christian goes through the beatings down of life, and all the pressures, stress and curves balls thrown at us, we are supposed to view this as making us stronger in perseverance. Perseverance is a biblical concept, as we, as saints, are called to persevere until the end. Tomorrow we will look at the Refiner's Fire, but for now, as a comparison, Tide or Era Laundry detergent have nothing on the Fuller's soap of antiquity and they all pale in comparison to the cleansing which the Discipline of the Lord means to His people. The Christian who works through these things in life, under the Power of the Holy Spirit will live a fruitful life here on earth, growing in Holiness and sanctification. These things are meant to cleanse us, if we stay close to Him in fellowship, praise, prayer and the Word. Because in the end, for the purposes of Heaven, only #CleanLivesMatter.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

THIRTY ONE DAYS OF BIBLE TRUTHS - DAY 24 (SPIRITUAL HYSSOP)

BIBLE VERSE: "Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean" Psalm 51:7a.

TRUTH: Hyssop is mentioned throughout the Old Testament as an instrument designed by God for religious purification, according to the Law of Moses. This can be found in Exodus 12:22 and Numbers 19:6. We see it turn up again when Jesus was hanging in pain on the Cross and mentioned that He was thirsty..."so they put a sponge full of the sour wine (vinegar) upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth (John 12:29b).  Hyssop is a plant or herb with amazing qualities, just like everything the Father designed. Apart from the potential to cleans and regulate normal hygiene and daily functions of the intestines etc, Hyssop contains qualities which can treat asthma, bronchitis, sore throats and more. A paste from it can treat bruises and small burns.

So it is with the Word of God - it soothes, heals, cleanses, corrects and purifies. It is our conscience and our guide which the Holy Spirit, Who lives alongside the spirit of each truly converted Christian, uses to guide us into the path of God's Truth. In this prayer of Repentance (Psalm 51), King David knew the depth of his sin, but he also knew the Holy Spirit would deliver him if He would apply the spiritual attributes of the Hyssop plant to his dark depressed spiritual condition. Many Christians live with hidden sins in their lives and need not salvation, but purification. The first thing required is a willingness to "halt" the bleeding and bind up that wound. Then next up is a cry out to God to apply the bitter dose of the hyssop plant of Discipline. Depending on the sin, this discipline may not go over well, but it will correct the ship of the person's state. Then, third, once that discipline has been applied to the affliction and application is made, restoration can return with sweet release, as the burdens are lifted up by Grace! So now, if a dose of spiritual hyssop is needed, why not confess to God now, and accept His Grace?