Wrestling With Rage

pexels-photo-753619GEORGE DESIPRISAn epidemic of anger has hit our nation.  Permeating our society, we see a growing monster of strife and division.  Rage infects our government, our churches, our homes, and our personal relationships.

Whatever the rationale, this chaos is a wrecking ball of Satan, the Great Destroyer (John 10:10) doing his ugly work.  How can we cope with such chaos?  How can each of us deal with anger and rage personally or corporately?

First, understand that furious chaos is not God’s way.  He is not a God of confusion, but of peace, through the power of the Prince of Peace.  “The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).  Chaotic anger is actually counter-productive.  It results in worsening problems, not solving them.  Most anger is self-centered and is sin.  Even “righteous indignation” for a good cause must be controlled by the Spirit or it will destroy, not resolve.

Secondly, practice effective prayer.  This includes repentance, with God-honoring hearts and Christ-honoring behavior.

Effective prayer is described in I Timothy 2:1-8.  We’re told to pray for all men, whether or not we like them.  This includes “kings and all in authority.   Paul wrote this while under the brutal, heavy yoke of Emperor Nero who passionately killed Christians, including Paul. He understood the implication of what God directed him to write: pray for redemption, wisdom & peace even for the wicked rulers. We’re to pray for all that come to mind, including those in authority, even if they generate anger in us.

Effective prayer is further described in verse 8:  we’re to pray with holy hands.  “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).  Living with unconfessed, unresolved sin will shut the windows of heaven to us.

I Timothy 2:8 also states that we are to pray without vengeful anger and judgmental arguing.  An angry, hostile spirit gets in the way of God’s best purpose.  Negative attitudes and behavior actually limit God.  Though He is sovereign, He uses us to accomplish His highest purposes through effective prayer and Spirit-directed action.  For us to operate in an angry, wrong manner obstructs and grieves our Lord (Ephesians 4:29-30; II Timothy 2:24).

Ephesians 4:22-32 goes further in telling us what to put off and what to put on, as those who are called to be His.  The passage sums up Christ-like attitudes to have for effective prayer and effective relationships:

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor (noisy shouting), and evil speaking be put away from you, along with all malice (desire to cause distress to someone).  Instead, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Trust God to deal with the cause of your anger by first letting Him deal with you. Choose His way each day, by His strength.   Christ will be honored, peace will ensue, prayers will be answered, and God’s best purpose will be accomplished in your life and in the lives of others.

By Wesley Smith

© 2018 Bible Prayer Fellowship & Wm. Wesley Smith
You may copy and distribute this article unchanged for free.

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Pray from a Cross-Centered Life

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When we come to the cross, we come humbly, surrendering ourselves to Christ’s lordship. We can forget this posture as we live out our day-to-day, and this has an impact on our praying. Therefore when we pray, we pray from a cross-centered life. Learn more about this in this week’s Prayer Circle video.

Check out our companion blog on the Paradigm One website to dig deeper.

Pray within God’s Character and Activity

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The apostle John tells us that “Now this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us,” (1 John 5:14). Sometimes, however, we lack the confidence that God has heard our prayers. Learn more this week about how heard prayers originate in the character and activity of God.

Dig deeper with this week’s companion blog on the Paradigm One website.

 

Putting Prayer in Its Place of Power

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When we pray with and on the objective truth of Scripture, something happens. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” We begin to be transformed by the Holy Spirit from the inside out.

Praying with Scripture rescues prayer from routine and brings it to a place of rest and joy in the Lord. Learn more in this week’s Prayer Circle!

Don’t forget to stop by the Paradigm One blog to read Joe’s companion blog for this week’s session.

Shepherding the Prayer Meeting

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As the leader of prayer meetings or prayer groups, it is your responsibility to weed out the bad habits and reinforce (sometimes even introduce) the good habits. This is especially crucial to creating powerful moments of prayer where people leave saying, “Jesus was with us today.”

If you’re a prayer leader or you want to get more out of your prayer time, check out our blog on Paradigm One this week. It’s filled with practical ways that we can transform our time before and with the Lord.

Don’t forget to check out the latest Prayer Circle video as well!

Putting Prayer in Its Place

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Thank you for praying for us as we developed our latest Prayer Circle video series! We’re so excited to welcome you back for what we pray will be an edifying series on the power of prayer.

If you were invited to a prayer meeting today, what would your heart’s response be? We can probably all remember a time when its response was “ugh.” Why is it that prayer meetings can be so dry? In our latest video, we’ll discuss our need to stop treating prayer as a religious practice or imitation and to start using it as a tool to participate with our active, living God.

Join us this week at the prayer circle, and check out our companion blog on the Paradigm One website.

A House Divided

Today in America we see our house divided.  Sharp differences in politics, social and ethnic issues, family matters, spiritual issues, the work place, etc. have always existed.  But now, civil behavior has increasingly given way to hatred, hostility and violence on a level possibly unprecedented in our lifetime.  Along with this, our moral depravity continues to rot our families and nation.

Christ warned, “A house divided against itself cannot stand!” (Matthew 12:25).  Erwin Lutzer, former pastor of Chicago’s Moody Church, said, “America is rapidly degenerating into a godless society.  Mired in a moral and spiritual crisis, America’s only hope is a national revival.”

To have that remedy on a national basis, we first need God’s people to get right with Him and with each other.  The Church should be a positive, redeeming influence on society, but is so weakened by sin that it’s highly ineffective.  Lutzer then said, “Sadly, the influence has been in the wrong direction, as we see evidence that our culture has permeated our churches.  The church is seduced by the social agenda of wealth and pleasure, and has condoned sinful compromises.  There is moral decay within the church, including among many church leaders.  How can America be influenced by an inconsistent, hypocritical church?”

Our focus has been on personal pleasure, prosperity, pride, politics, and prayerlessness rather than on Jesus Christ and His holiness in our lives.  Our sins encompass the whole gamut of evil, including pornography, sexual perversion, infidelity, abuse, theft, dishonesty, a critical spirit, unbelief, murder, self-serving anger, occultism, violence, and the list goes on to break all of God’s commandments. While we are called to be a light of Christ and a tasty, preserving salt, our light has dimmed and our salt has lost its potent flavor.

Lutzer continues, “From our past, we learn the clear lesson that a genuine spiritual revival can do more to transform culture than all of our political/social activism.  We need a renewal that can be effected only by widespread repentance before the Almighty whom we have so grievously offended.  The forces of evil are so deeply entrenched that any cultural shifts will only be cosmetic unless they are accompanied by a spiritual awakening that affects large segments of our population.”

He then asks us to dream for a while:  “Catch the vision of crowded churches from coast to coast, shops closed during the noon hours for special prayer, and our legislators turning to God for wisdom in making decisions.  Think of the news programs telling the story of tens of thousands of believers making restitution for past wrongs, and reports of thousands of conversions to Christ!

“Imagine a country where abortion would become rare, not just through legislation but because mothers valued their children and immorality was on the decline.  Imagine a country in which homosexuals repented and sought God for help in overcoming their lifestyles rather than imposing their values on society.  Imagine a country where the courts would reflect America’s Christian roots.

“We must believe God for something more than our generation has seen.  May our sights be raised and our faith increased, to fervently seek God for a national revival (starting with us).  What God has done in the past, He can do again!”

Wes Smith
Web pastor
Bible Prayer Fellowship

Excerpts from the article, “America’s Spiritual Crisis”, by Erwin W. Lutzer. Used by permission of the author.

You may copy for free distribution this issue of Revival Insights without making any changes.  To receive Revival Insights free on a regular basis write:

Bible Prayer Fellowship
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Where Does Evangelism Begin?

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Pastors and church leaders often struggle with silent believers. How do we get our church to witness? Where do we start with our evangelistic outreach? These are common questions that are all to often are answered in the flesh and acted upon in the flesh.

In this week’s Prayer Circle, we will discover that evangelism begins in prayer with the Lord of the Harvest. Watch our latest video to learn more.

How Does a Christian Experience God’s Fullness?

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We were created to worship and glorify our awesome God. When we fulfill that purpose, we get to experience fullness of joy. Prayer is our initiator, our moment to let God know that we are ready and willing to fulfill this purpose. Learn more in this week’s Prayer Circle.

Pastor Mike provides more information and clarity regarding God’s fullness and how we use prayer to experience God’s fullness on the Paradigm One blog!

The Secret Of Success As Fathers And Mothers

pexels-photo-532508Every Christian parent wants to be successful in bringing up children who remain faithful to the Lord.  In times like these when our society is openly hostile to Christian values, it seems almost impossible to bring up children who are strong in their faith in Christ Jesus.  But remember that with God nothing is impossible.

Andrew Murray offers hope and help.

“To all parents who long to have their homes truly consecrated by God’s presence and service, His Word has a message of comfort and strength:
God is willing to be the God of our homes, if we are willing to let Him.”
“With His divine power He will do for us more than we can ask or think.  The one thing needful is that parents should know and believe what He has undertaken to do as the God of their children.”

We parents need to take our place as helpless little children and trust our Father to first take charge of us.  He will hear your cry.  He will train you to lead your children to Him.

I will never forget the day when I woke up as a father and saw myself as a child who needed my Father’s correction and guidance.  Correction came first.  He led me to see that losing control of my temper was ruining my relationship with my children.

I repented and apologized to my son.  I then went to my room, got down on my knees and told God, “I will trust you to be completely in charge of me.”  After that  I got in the habit of seeking His guidance in every decision I made regarding my children.  A great burden was lifted and sweet peace came over me.  I faced many tests after that, but I faced them with quietness and confidence.  I was sure that my Father was actively in charge.

The children sensed the change that had come over me, and in due time they changed.  The Lord had begun to be the God of my home.  My children are grown now.  There are new tests and challenges.  My family and I are still learning fresh lessons.  When we stumble we know to return to our Father.  He restores our soul and leads us once more in the path of faith, love and obedience.  The journey toward successful fatherhood and motherhood continues until we reach heaven.  We hope that when we stand before Him, the Lord will say, “Well done, good and faithful parent.”

By Oliver W. Price, © Bible Prayer Fellowship 2018

Excerpt by Andrew Murray, The Children For Christ, (Moody Press, Chicago, 1952), 11-25.