Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Discipleship

Longing For A Sweet Spirit

I know several brothers in the Lord who have sweet spirits.  They are delightful to be around.  They glow with love for others, are full of joy, and pour blessings onto others.  I want that.

My own temperament is typically laid back, discerning (though I fear sometimes I am just plain critical), and often opinionated especially about theology.  I am not argumentative contrary to what you might read.  I don’t enjoy fighting.  I would rather just talk.  When I feel threatened, my face gets red (cursedness of being a white man).  My boys have watched me debating someone and they always say that I look mad, that my face is red like fire.

I want a sweet spirit.  I’m not sure how to cultivate that.  I have prayed about this before.  I want to be loving and kind.

When I was in full-time pastoral ministry, I was more or less a jerk.  I admit that now.  In those days I thought I was just being “biblical” and standing my ground for the truth.  It was others who rejected God’s truth but not me!  I heard a brother say once that it is better to be righteous than to be right.  I wish I would have lived those words.  I would use the pulpit to beat others up (not by name but by my teaching).  I was right.  Everyone else was wrong.  I was not loving and kind.  I was mean.  No wonder I was “let go” from my position.

Having been out of “ministry” for over 10 years now, I see my errors.  I am not writing this for sympathy or to beat myself up.  I am done doing that.  I am writing to confess before the Lord my desire to be like Him.  Yes at times the Lord can be angry but His anger is not based on sin or pride.  The Lord’s anger is a pure hatred of sin.

This leads me to the gospel.  I look back at my past 20+ years of being a Christian and I see all the sins I have committed, all the times I have failed the Lord.  I see how I failed him while I was serving in full-time pastoral ministry.  Yet I am so grateful that He never gave up on me.  The Lord Jesus could have cast me aside (as I would have long ago) but He has not.  Jesus has been faithful to me.  He has provided for me and for my family.  Most of all, the Lord Jesus has been my Savior through  all this.  The Lord knows how many times I have prayed Psalm 51:1-2 or 1 John 1:9?  The Lord knows how many times I have failed Him yet He has never failed me (2 Timothy 2:13).

The gospel teaches me that yes I am a sinner.  No doubts there (Romans 3:10-18).  Yet in Christ Jesus I am saved and forgiven and declared righteous before a holy God (Romans 3:22-27).  My salvation is not me saving myself from myself but God saving me from Himself (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  The gospel teaches me that my temperament can be transformed but only by the work of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  In my flesh, I cannot please God (Romans 8:8).  No matter how much I try,  I will never be perfect, will never do enough to please God (Isaiah 64:6).  The gospel teaches me that Jesus alone is my salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) and He alone is my mediator before the Father (Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:25).  I am not lost today only because of the grace of God given freely to me in Christ Jesus my Lord (Romans 6:23).

I am so thankful for these small reminders of the faithfulness of God.  I am far from perfect.  Very, very far!  But I trust in the perfect Savior who can save me perfectly (Philippians 1:6).

Thank you Lord Jesus for Your salvation and Your forgiveness!  Where would I be without You?

Advertisements

Five Things I Would Tell My Twenty Something Self

I am nearing 42 years old.  My hair is turning gray.  I feel older.  I am getting to that point in life where you start to ponder your past as well as your future.  Thankfully, I know that Christ has saved me (despite my ups and downs over the years) and while I am very far from perfect, I do long to be like Christ.  There is a hunger for sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3) that I pray for (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  I am thankful for the grace of God that brings salvation (Titus 2:11-12) and the grace of God that sustains me (Philippians 1:6).  Without the Lord Jesus, I would not be saved (Romans 8:38-39; Jude 24-25).

What would I say to my younger self if I could write to me back then?  I could write a book on this.  Five points is not enough but for the sake of brevity, I will only do five.

First, I would say get closer to God for He alone is the only one who will satisfy.  In my twenties, before marriage, I thought that a woman would satisfy me.  She did not.  I have had to learn the hard way that only God can fully satisfy the human heart.  No wonder the Lord rebukes those who trust in flesh and make flesh their strength (Jeremiah 17:5).  I use to quote that verse back when I was 18 years old and broke up with my first Christian girlfriend.  How I wish that verse would have sunk deep into my soul.  No person can satisfy like the Lord God.  No one.

Secondly, you will change your theology along the way and that is okay.  When I was a young man, I thought I had theology figured out.  I would preach sermons and be so “right” about issues whether it be theology or life.  I remember doing counseling (if you can call it that) in which I would just quote the Bible the entire time and not show any emotions or reactions.  I would tell people to just read their Bible and do it!  That was my advice.  I was so legalistic toward others but not toward myself.  I hated their sins but not nearly as much as I should have been hating my own (Romans 7:18).  I also was uncharitable toward those whom I disagreed.  How I wish I could go back and take back my theology debates with brothers and sisters.  I wish I could have been filled with love and not with pride.  I wish I could have been loving and kind instead of mean and bitter.

Thirdly, always remember that it is Jesus who keeps us and not we ourselves.  As a young man, I would have given an “amen” to this but the reality for me was that I didn’t think God loved me unless I did all that He wanted me to do which was: pray, read my Bible, give 10% of my gross, support missions, do evangelism, worship, go to church, read Christian books, listen only to Christian music, avoid worldliness in every shape or fashion, avoid all sin, daily repent, etc.  My entire Christian life was full of doing but inside I didn’t really believe God loved me.  In fact, for many years I thought God hated me or at least He was disappointed in me.  I would quote Romans 8:1 but it wasn’t in my heart.  I would quote 1 John 4:19 but I didn’t really believe God loved me despite what I knew about the cross.  I thought I had to prove my love for God but my actions (James 2:14-26) and thus I was caught in a “give and take” relationship in which God gave me His Son for my sins (John 3:16) but I had to give my all to Him (which mainly meant keeping the rules) to remain saved.  When I would fall into sin (and I did many, many times), I would run to God and confess my sins (1 John 1:9) but I would hold to a sort of Catholic view of penance where I had to pray more, read my Bible more, share my faith more, go to church more to prove that I truly was sorry for what I had done.  When I would fall again, I would do it all over again.  I wish I could go back and just say, “Stop.  Believe that you are loved by Christ and secure in Him.  Make Him your delight  and not your works.”  I have learned much from Arminius here about the assurance of my salvation: that my salvation is based on the work of Jesus Christ and not my works (Philippians 3:3-11 and yes read it!)

Fourthly, “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).  Proverbs 17:28 should drive you, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”  Proverbs 13:3 says, “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”  Proverbs 21:23, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

If I could go back right here and tell my younger self to avoid using that tongue, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache.  How many have I hurt along the way?  How many would I go back and try to say the kind thing, the right thing, the loving thing?  When I was in my twenties, I remember taking my old faithful NIV and writing down countless references to the tongue from Proverbs.  I posted them on a sticky note that I kept for many years.  Why didn’t I abide by them?  The preachers I hurt.  The Christians I hurt.  You’ll be a better man if you’ll just shut up.

Lastly, Christians will hurt you.  A lot.  I know you and I know you’ll want to preach on holiness, on how the church should be unified and all.  But I promise you, Christians will hurt you and let you down a lot.  Preachers will fail.  Your own friends that you now have will turn away from Christ.  A few will come back but only nominally.  Every church you will attend will have people in it that will hurt you.  The only one who will not hurt you will be the Lord Jesus.  That is the good news.  Just as I said back at the first point, God alone will remain faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).  I’ve been an imperfect Christian now for over 20 years and I have had many, many Christians hurt me and I’ve hurt them (see the point above) but the Lord Jesus has remained the same (Hebrews 13:8).  Don’t place your faith in others.  They will fail you.  Your wife will fail you (yes you do get married).  You will fail your wife.  You will be a let down to your friends, family, and your own children.  But that is why you must point them to Christ.  He is our only hope.  He alone is the only one who is faithful and true.

But in the end, you will not listen to me.  You’ll learn this the hard way you old stubborn mule.

Your Friend Till You Die,

Roy

PS – No the South Carolina Gamecocks will not win the national championship in football but they do in baseball (twice back to back) and the Dodgers will spend billions of dollars but do nothing with it.  Oh and in 2004, place a large bet on the Red Sox to win it all!  You’ll see why.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/17/2016 at 1:18 PM

Like the Persistent Asking of a Desperate Beggar

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,
4 and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

– Luke 11:1-8

Persistence in prayer is something I think many of us need.  I know I do.  My prayer life tends to go up and down depending on many issues.  There have been seasons of prayer in my life where I was praying earnestly and full of faith.  Then there are times of prayerlessness.

In Luke 11 we find the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray.  He gives them a model of prayer in verses 2-4 which are similar though not the same as Matthew 6:9-13.  The New King James along with the KJV add words to make these two texts match.  Most Greek texts do not have these additions.  I think this is important because the “Lord’s prayer” is not a magical prayer meant to be uttered and repeated over and over again.  The Lord Jesus is teaching His disciples a model prayer.  Prayer is not just reciting words.  Prayer is not just reading prayers.  Prayer flows from the child of God to our Father who hears our cries.  The disciples surely knew this having watched the Lord Jesus pray.  It was His prayer life that they asked for Him to teach them.  Not His miracles.  Not His teaching style.  Not His leadership style.  It was the prayer life of our Lord that the disciples saw and asked Him to teach them about.

I have been around saints of God who knew how to pray.   They would walk and talk with God all the day (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  There was a persistence in their prayer life that was continually.  They walked with God like Enoch of old (Genesis 5:24).  Prayer was like breathing to many of these saints of God.  I have heard the stories of the great prayer warriors such as Leonard Ravenhill and E.M. Bounds.  I have heard of the prayer life of David Brainerd and David Livingstone.  I have heard of the prayer lives of John Wesley and George Whitefield.  Their ministries were marked with souls but also with prayer.  Wesley would often rise up early in the morning before the sun came up to pray.  Martin Luther would labor for hours in prayer.

Where are the men of prayer today?  In fact, many of the intercessors I know of are women.  I praise God for them.  I thank God for godly women who pray like Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.  The Holy Spirit placed women among the Apostles as they waited for the promise of the Father in Acts 1:14.  These women were praying along with the men of God. We need mighty women of God.  But where are the men who pray?  Where are the men known for their prayer lives and the ministries marked by prayer?

Our Lord teaches us here in Luke 11 that prayer is to be marked with persistence (v.8).  The ESV translates the word as “impudence.”  I like the old KJV here as it translates it “importunity.”  The MacArthur Study Bible states it like this:

It conveys the ideas of urgency, audacity, earnestness, boldness, and relentlessness – like the persistence asking of a desperate beggar.

I like that image.  Beggars tend to just ask and then move along.  They don’t tend to be very persistent.  Jesus states that we are to be persistence in our praying.  It is not because God is not willing to hear us nor answer us.  In fact, that is the opposite of what Jesus is saying.  Our Father hears us and He knows our needs.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:8 that our Father knows what we need even before we ask Him.  If a friend will get up to give to the beggar what he needs, how much more will our Father give us what we need?

The balance is to pray the will of God.  The Lord Jesus is not saying that if we are persistent in asking for something, God will relent and give in.  As we pray the will of the Father, the Father hears us and He answers according to His will (1 John 5:14-15).  Jesus said that He always did the will of Him who sent Him (John 6:38).  Jesus prayed to be close to His Father and to do His will.  Jesus submitted Himself completely to the Father to do His will (Hebrews 5:7-10).

As we persist in prayer, we are submitting our selves to God.  We want to do His will.  Prayer prepares us to do that will.  When we truly pray, we are wanting to honor the Lord and to bring glory to Him.  This is not about us.  This isn’t praying about foolish things.  This is about praying for the glory and honor God.  This is gospel-centered praying.  Like beggars, we know that our Father is the best and He is our reward.  This is not about finding bread.  This is about finding and seeking the One who gives us bread.

Finally, a word about praying.  I don’t want condemnation to come over you.  I have lived before under condemnation about prayer.  When I was in college I read that if a minister doesn’t pray for two hours a day, they are not worth a dime a dozen.  I wept at that because I was not praying for two hours a day so I made up my mind to pray for two hours a day.  I was a failure to say the least.  My “prayer life” was more about staring at the clock to get in my two hours.  At one point I was up to praying an hour a day but I was not praying.  I was hitting the clock.  I was doing my praying for others to notice my “prayer life.”  I wanted others to pat me on the back for my prayer life.  I look back now with sadness on those times.  My prayer times were not powerful times with the Lord.  They were just words uttered for others to notice me (Matthew 6:5).

I long to just walk with God now.  I long to talk to Him like a friend, like a brother, like a father.  My little boys can just cry out and I’ll run to them.  They don’t have to say over and over again “Daddy” for me to run.  If they were in trouble, I would not come to them and say, “Do you really believe I am able to help you?  Seems to me that you haven’t been talking to me much and so I’m going to leave you be.”  No!  I help my boys because I love my boys and I want what is best for them.  The same is true of God our Father.

Hebrews 4:14-16 is so precious to me now.  My prayer life will never match the Lord Jesus’ prayer life.  He was perfect in every single way.  He bore my sins including my prayerlessness.  I am not advocating laziness in prayer.  Luke 11:1-8 shatters that.  There is a persistence in prayer lives.  In fact, Luke 11:9-10 speaks of this persistence further:

9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

But the balance of this is to see that our Father is good and He wants to answer our prayers as the Lord Jesus states in verses 11-13 where He contrasts our earthly fathers with our heavenly Father:

11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

If our earthly fathers would not be evil toward us (we hope), will our heavenly Father be evil toward us?  Of course not!  Our Father is good and He is loving and kind.  The Lord Jesus demonstrated that perfect love (Romans 5:8-9).

The gospel enables us to pray.  We don’t come before our Father with our righteousness.  We come in the name of Jesus who is our salvation, our righteousness before a holy God (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  We come in the name of Jesus because He is our high priest before the Father (Hebrews 10:10-14).  We come in the name of Jesus because He is our advocate and our friend (John 14:12-14).  Through the Lord Jesus, we are able to approach the throne of God and He hears our cries.

I rejoice in the Lord that He hears our prayers!  May God be glorified through the prayers of the saints of God (Revelation 5:8).

How To Hear God

We want to hear from God.  We want to hear God speak and know it is His voice.  Can we hear God speak?  The answer is yes!  Here are simple steps to hearing God:

1.  Get a Bible.


2.  Read the Bible.


3.  If you did that, you heard from God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Congratulations!

Then The Gospel Came…

Imagine a world where few are Christians.  Most of the culture is full of idolatry.  The love of money.  The love of sports.  The love of sex.  The political leaders are corrupt.  Politicians in general are corrupt and not trustworthy.  The leaders of the nation are pagans and they despise the gospel.  At every turn the nation is against the gospel it seems.  They despise biblical authority, despise its truth, attack the truth of the gospel, attack those who follow Christ.  They seek to cast Christians off as strange, aliens, and out of touch with reality.  In fact, they believe Christians just want to destroy their fun!

Sounds just like the wicked nation I live in.  But this nation is the Roman Empire at the time of the book of Acts.  A wicked depraved time.  One biblical commentary stated that the Roman empire was much worse in terms of Christian persecution, rejection of biblical authority, etc. than any time in history.  We might could point to the communists nations that openly hated God but few compare to the Roman Empire.  It heavily persecuted Christians and killed many of them including most of the Apostles for their faith in the Lord Jesus.  While the Romans were busy worshiping idols and the emperor, the Christians were calling for them to repent and turn to Christ (Acts 17:30-31).

What gives me hope is that the gospel transformed the empire.  From its humble beginnings in Acts 2, by the time we finish with the book of Acts we find Paul the Apostle in Rome preaching the kingdom of God (Acts 28:30-31).  The very next book in our Bibles is the book of Romans with a church alive and well in Rome (Romans 1:7).  The book of Revelation (which I know some will take exception with me here because of my preterism) was written to encourage persecuted saints of God (Revelation 1:9) in the Roman Empire.  The book of Revelation promised them victory (Revelation 2:1-7 for example).  They are told that Jesus is “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).  Our victory is sure for Jesus is our King!  This was the hope for the saints of God!  It is our hope as well!

We look around at our wicked world.  Here in the United States we see violence, hatred, lack of respect for authority, pride, all types of wicked sins including idolatry and sexual immorality.  We see the wicked sin of abortion where millions of people are being slaughtered all in the name of conveyance and sexual sins.  We see lying politicians and corrupt leaders now openly attacking the gospel and questioning God’s absolute authority in all things.  We see Christians bowing their knees to the false gods of money, power, sex, sports, and all types of wickedness.  We no doubt live in an evil age.

Yet I have hope in the gospel.  The gospel promises the sure victory of Jesus (Psalm 110:1).  Jesus will win (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).  The gospel will go forth and we have victory through Christ alone (Matthew 28:18-20).  The nations belong to our King (Psalm 2:8).  While the United States and other nations may be wicked, they will not last forever.  Only the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ will reign forever (Daniel 7:13-14).  I have hope that the gospel will win.  The nations will bow to the Lordship of the King.  Every knee in fact will bow to the glory of the Lord Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11).

I write this  because it is easy to be discouraged.  Islam is growing.  The cults are thriving.  The false gospels are being preached.  Jesus is being attacked at every turn.  The national media hates the gospel.  The President of the United States is a pagan.  The nations reject the Word of God.

Yet Jesus is still Lord and He will reign forever!  I pray that the nations repent.  I pray that our nations turn to faith in Christ.  I pray for the gospel to go forth and sinners turn from their sins and turn in saving faith to the Lord Jesus.  I pray that God Almighty would have mercy and send a revival to the nations.  He can turn the tide.  The Lord turned the tide in ancient Rome and He can turn the tide in our wicked nations.  I pray He does for His glory and for His name.

Seeing “Us” in Scripture

I enjoy Chris Rosebrough and his podcast “Fighting for the Faith.”  Chris often uses satire and comedy to point out false teachers and teachings.  His podcast often has sermon reviews of both good and bad sermons and Chris will point out why they are that.  I am often amazed at what passes for sermons these days.  Much of what seems to be coming out of the seeker church is not even close to true biblical teaching.  It is more or less about “us.”  It is man-centered to its core.

I have written often on the need for expository teaching and more sound doctrine being preached.  Just this week while working I was pondering why people enjoy attending seeker churches where doctrine is minimized and those who desire to go “deeper” with their faith are criticized.  I want to ask them, “How can you sit under this guy and learn anything?  What has he taught you that brought you closer to Christ, deeper in your theological understanding of the gospel?”  Heck, most of the teachers Chris plays on his podcast have no gospel understanding.  The seeker churches are just “say this prayer and become a Christian” as their gospel.

I subscribe to a local church here in my city that has been sucking people from the more traditional churches (mainly Baptist churches) for some time.  They started at about 50 people or so and today have over 1000.  Because of their growth, church leaders often avoid criticizing them because of their growth.  They are instead esteemed.  I point out that growth is no indicator of truth.  Look at the cults.  Look at Islam.  Truth is not pragmatic.  Truth is truth and God’s Word declares the truth of God (John 17:17).  Jesus said that He is the truth (John 14:6).  God has given us His truth through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  We need no other “truth.”  Yet many are unwilling to take the truth of the Bible and examine the teachings of large seeker churches because of their numbers.

Each week I get their Sunday services on my podcasts.  I listen to their sermons.  Why?  Because I want to know if they are preaching truth.  Often they are not.  In fact, they often are preaching nothing at all.  They are currently preaching through John but they are not expository nor are they dealing with their text.  They often just read the text and fill in stories about themselves or others to pass the time.  They are not false teachers.  They are “un-teachers.”  They are teaching neither bad doctrine nor good.  They are teaching nothing.  They just focus on “us.”

This is true nearly of all seeker churches that I know.  The focus is on “us” and not Jesus.  The gospel is not about the glory of God, the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, His sacrifice for our sins, along with His death, burial, and bodily resurrection from the dead where He now sits at the right hand of God to pray for us.  No!  The “gospel” of seeker churches is on “us.”  It is about “us” and our glory.  The gospel of seeker churches is about Jesus coming to give us an “abundant life” or to give us a “hope and a future” (both John 10:10 and Jeremiah 29:11 are seriously abused and destroyed there).

Just this past week I listened to two seeker churches Resurrection Day services.  Both were focused on “us.”  The gospel was not taught.  The focus was not on the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  The focus was on God resurrecting your dreams.  Neither church preached repentance for the forgiveness of our sins (Luke 24:47).  Neither church even mentioned repentance at all.  Both did mention sin but only in passing.  Sin is what keeps us down, what keeps us from reading our potential.  Gone is the truth of the gospel of repentance.

The gospel is not lost.  It is easily found in the Bible.  One can skip it.  One can downplay it.  But one cannot ignore it altogether.  Just reading the New Testament brings us face to face with our sins, with our inability to save ourselves by our good works, with the fact that we are enemies of God because of our rebellion against His law (Romans 3:19-20).  We find that our world is not getting better by works of the flesh but we realize that we must repent of our sins if we are to have peace with God (Acts 2:37-39; 3:19-20).  We find that repentance brings salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).  We find that Christ alone saves us from the wrath of God by His grace and mercy (Romans 5:1).  The gospel is focused on the person and work of the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 1:3-14 and notice how many times “He” is mentioned and we are not).  Salvation is not accomplished by making amends or trying harder or your good deeds (Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).  Salvation is the gracious work of God wrought in us by His Spirit through the saving work of the Lord Jesus.

Until next time, keep loving and living in the gospel.

Praying For Our Enemies

Someone wrote that worship of God is where we worship Him for who He is.  Intercessory prayer is where we pray what God has promised in His Word.  For example, when we pray for the lost to be saved we are praying the will of God (1 Timothy 2:3-6; 2 Peter 3:9).  We are praying what God has spoken.  When we pray for world missions, we are praying what the Father promised to His Son (Psalm 2:8; Matthew 28:18-20).

With intercessory prayer in mind, Jesus said in Matthew 5:44:

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

We are called to pray for our enemies.  What does this do in the heart of the believer?  This produces love.  When we begin to pray for our enemies, we will soon find that we have a love for them.  We begin to desire to see them turn from their sins and repent.  Yes we hate their sins but we will begin to love them for being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).  True praying for someone will produce love for them.

I have been seeking to implement this into my prayer life.  When I hear a story about a church preaching false doctrine, I have begun to pray for that church to come to repentance.  I have been praying for those who are enemies of the gospel.  I have been praying for those who are dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3) to come to faith in the Lord Jesus.  I have been praying for cults to turn from their false doctrines to the truth in Christ.  My longing is for genuine love to flow from me for those who are enemies of the gospel.

I am all for apologetic ministries and even discernment ministries but I fear that too often we are wanting to win debates with people and pointing out their false teachings while not praying for them.  To be clear, I detest false doctrines.  Yet I equally know that Jesus calls us to pray for our enemies.  I fear that we often want to destroy people while not longing for them to come to repentance.  May that not be.

Paul the Apostle was persecuted by his own people, the Jews.  Yet he prayed for their salvation (Romans 10:1).  Paul could have grown cold and bitter toward his own but he longed to see them repent.  His praying no doubt produced love for his lost kin.

My prayer is that I would pray for my enemies and truly love them.  I am far from that now.  In my heart, I want my enemies gone!  I look around at the wicked world and long for Jesus to come and make it all right.  Yet how many would be cast into hell if that were the case and Jesus came today?  Again, the Lord is patient with  lost sinners (2 Peter 3:9).  The heart of God is for sinners to repent and live (Ezekiel 18:32).

May the Lord help me to pray for my enemies for His glory.

%d bloggers like this: