Monday, August 7, 2023

What We Must...

What We Must...
by David Brenneman 

"But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”" Acts 5:29-32.

There's several people who have been in my life for God's timing and reasons.  People who are in various spiritual states. Everything from being backslidden to unsaved and at various places in-between.   

Compelled is probably the right word to use, because it does fit.  I am compelled to pray for these people.  It's not something that can stop until they cease breathing. 

Something that I was taught a long time ago was that as long as a person has the breath of life, there's hope for God to do something with their life. 

What would the kind of things be that would be prayed for?  Oh, my Dear Reader, there is no limit where God's will is concerned.  

We read of some extremes of the Apostle Paul.  "This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme." 1 Timothy 1:18-20.

There you can see that we leave the means and the duration to God to handle.  

When it comes to living the Christian life, we will never err if we are living in obedience to God's Word, God's will, doing life God's way.  

When worldly philosophies, vain thinking, when the striving for worldly success and glory are what drives Christians more than what God has to say on those things, they are in trouble.

In many places in the Old Testament we see references to being stiff necked and stubborn in reference to the children of Israel.  Christians can be the same. 

When I pray such for anyone...the heart of the prayer must also be right before Jesus too.  Rather difficult for me to pray those kinds of prayers if I too am holding onto something that He's told me to let go of.

Matthew 7 is straight from Jesus. 

"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye!"  

Just as we ought not to partake of Communion without a heart that is right before God, we ought not go into battle with a heart that's not right either. 

In Christ we have hope upon hope. 

Jesus was angry at the Pharisees and Sadducees because of the hardness of their hearts.  Stiff necked, stubborn.  

We also must not handcuff God either. 
Not praying prayers that limit what we think God should or shouldn't do.  

Honestly if Matthew 18 were utilized in the Church today in the way Jesus intended, perhaps many would be living life more in the way He intended for them. 

Matthew 18 is often referred to concerning Church discipline.  

We must obey God rather than men...or even women.  It matters not who.

When talking to other Believers it does sometimes come to specific people. There are times when I do refer to praying for those in question. There's been times when I have been asked why, why pray this way or that way.  

The answer is simple. God said to and I have no choice to. God knits lives together for His purpose, for His sake, this history of time is His story.  

Sure, some may never indeed come to Christ, but it won't be because of nobody praying for them, because at least one person did. 

Sure, some will be handed over to Satan to be taught not to do certain things or say things they shouldn't, it will be because someone was praying for them.

Some, to be sure, will be those Prodigal Son or Daughter of the faith.  That father in that story never gave up.  Never stopped praying. Never stopped believing that Jesus would work in them. We can be that intercessory person who prays them back to a right relationship with Jesus. 

The last portion of the speech given at the end of the movie "Courageous"...

"I accept this responsibility, and it is my privilege to embrace it.
I want the favor of God and his blessing on my home.
Any good man does.
So where are you, men of courage?
Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord?
It’s time to rise up and answer the call that God has given to you and to say, “I will. I will. I will.”

Our lives are the culmination of the work of the Spirit of God in us. We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them. 

We are going to go through life in joy and in pain. Those we come across will help and probably hurt us. They will show some form of love and some will hurt us to the core of our being.  God's forgiveness reaches all of that.  All. Not some, not maybe, but all.  It was Peter who asked how many times must he forgive his brother.  The guy on whom the Church would be built.  Forgiveness is a foundation stone in the Church. 

Compelled I am to pray because the Spirit says that I must.  I must obey God rather than men.  That's the only explanation that I am able to give. 

We do not know the conditions of the spiritual battle that raged, and trust God, it raged, that brought every single Believer to faith in Christ for salvation.  

We do not know even the slightest in regards to the state of the spiritual battlefield right now in the lives of the people who are the most difficult to deal with or live with, who have caused the most pain.  

Jesus said to pray for those who persecute you.
Jesus said to pray for those whom you might consider to be an enemy. 
Jesus said to pray for...everyone. The good, the bad and the ugly.  

The power of the Church was in their snatch people from the very gates of Hell.  Think about that!  Your laying aside your will in favor of what God says to be praying like, praying for and praying about, will snatch someone from the very gates of Hell that are trying to claim them!

We have to set aside every encumbrance as Paul also wrote. Everything that gets in the way of living for Jesus.  This has to include our personal thoughts and opinions and feelings on others. Jesus did.  He was mocked, beaten, abused to the point of death and He still put the Father’s will before His own. 

We must be about the Father’s business...
We must be praying for whomever the Spirit brings into our lives and crosses our lives.  We must obey God rather than men. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. Lockman Foundation 

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