Prayer for President Trump

1 Timothy 2:1-3 “Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior

Heavenly Father, I pray for Your grace upon the United States. May Your name be hallowed in those who love You and keep Your word in the days and years to come! May Your unfailing love burn brightly in those who know You and keep the faith! Grant your long-suffering mercy upon this nation, that peace might be prolonged and the gospel further spread.

Gracious Father I ask that Your gospel would penetrate the heart of Donald Trump, that in humility and repentance he would come to know You according to the truth. I thank You for the men You have surrounded Donald Trump with and I pray that You would give his administration the common grace of ruling wisdom to preside over the U.S. faithfully.

Lord, I ask you to stay the hands that run to shed innocent blood. I ask you to hold back them who delight in war, that widespread violence might not break forth over the face of the earth again.

Most eagerly I pray, “Come Lord Jesus, come!” – let Your will be done on earth, as it is also done in heaven! In Jesus name I pray, amen!

Romans 13:1-4 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil works. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from him, for he is the servant of God for your good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain, for he is the servant of God, an avenger to execute wrath upon him who practices evil. “

Suffering and Sickness

There are some modern theologies that say suffering and sickness should not exist in the Church; they view sickness and suffering as indicators of a lack of God’s grace in one’s personal life.  But does God’s word agree?

In this study, we are going to examine this topic to see what God’s word says.

A THORN IN THE FLESH

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me, lest I be exalted above measure. I asked the Lord three times that this thing might depart from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will boast in my weaknesses (KJV- infirmities), that the power of Christ may rest upon me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, in reproaches, in hardships, in persecutions, and in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

There was a purpose behind Paul’s suffering; God used this “thorn in the flesh” to keep him humble so that he would not fall to the temptation of pride because of the greatness of God’s work accomplished through him.

Although some teach that Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was not physical illness, Paul interprets this thorn in the flesh in verse 9 to be “infirmities” and in verse 10 expands the possibility to “reproaches, hardships, persecutions, and distresses”. The Greek used here is ἀσθένεια (astheneia), which means “want of strength, weakness, illness, suffering, calamity, or frailty.”; it’s translated as “ailments(1), diseases(1), ill(1), illness(1), infirmities(1), sickness(3), sicknesses(2), weak(1), weakness(9), weaknesses(4)” – and the Greek HELPS Word-Study comments that ἀσθένεια “refers to an ailment that deprives someone of enjoying or accomplishing what they would like to do. ἀσθένεια focuses on the handicaps that go with the weakness. It expresses the weakening influences of the illness or a particular problem.” The word ἀσθένεια is a word that describes physical
weakness that comes from illness.

Paul then demonstrates how God was glorified through this “thorn in the flesh” in verse 10, by the conclusion “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

A MESSENGER OF SATAN

Some will argue that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was not illness, but was a “messenger of Satan”, some kind of demonic experience, but saying that Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was a “messenger of Satan” in no way eliminates illness.

Job 2:7 “Therefore, the Adversary went out from the presence of the Lord, and he afflicted Job with severe sores from the sole of his foot to the top of his head.”

Illness is one of the vehicles through which the Adversary can strike us. In Job’s life, his terrible suffering was divinely permitted by God for the demonstration of God’s glory and future joy of Job and the kingdom of God to whom Job’s testimony has served as an example of perseverance down through the ages.

Numbers 12:10 “When the cloud went away from over the tabernacle, Miriam became leprous as snow, and Aaron turned toward Miriam and saw that she was leprous.”

God struck Miriam with leprosy for her rebelliousness, demonstrating that God uses illness to discipline His people!

Amos 3:6 “If there is disaster against a city, is it not the Lord who has done it?”

God brings calamity, both upon His own people for their correction and refining, and upon the unbelieving world to get their attention and punish them for sin. God uses suffering – which is a result of sin – to punish, correct, refine, purify, and
glorify!

ILLNESS IN THE CHURCH

Illness is not a foreign concept to the Church.

In addition to Paul, consider the following passages: Acts 9:36-41; Philippians 2:25-27; 1st Timothy 5:20; 2nd Timothy 4:20. So long as we abide in these earthly tents we will experience the decay of this sin-ridden world. The modern theologies that say Christians should not suffer illness are not supported in Scripture, and they have been used to bring terrible dismay upon the children of God who are enduring the very illnesses that we are commanded to serve them with tender care and encouragement through (Matthew 25:36-40). Much the same way that Job’s friends heaped accusation upon accusation against him in his suffering, these modern theologies have been Satan’s instrument of accusation against faithful brethren, and the Church must learn its lesson from Job’s testimony.

The plain testimony of Scripture is that God works within suffering and sickness in the world for His glory (John 9:1-7); sometimes He heals, and is glorified accordingly, and other times He walks alongside the suffering saint and is highly glorified in the eyes of the world by the suffering saint’s faithfulness. To categorically say that God never afflicts, allows, or permits suffering and sickness is a dangerous heresy that has done significant damage in the Church to those who are, indeed, suffering and sick.

Discipline is purposed by God to make us “partakers of His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10); God uses an array of trials in our life to refine us as gold refined in the fire.

For an in-depth study on the Cross and Suffering , please follow the link to my lesson on the subject, which deals with the topics of suffering, the cross, and God’s wrath.

The Cross & Suffering

God does not diminish the reality of human suffering; He gives no easy answers. God deals with our suffering from the depths of His heart. Human suffering is central to the gospel because suffering is the result of sin, and the gospel is Christ’s good news of atonement and redemption and deliverance from sin! Human suffering both calls the unbelieving world to God and disciplines God’s beloved  children so that they can partake of His holiness. Therefore the Church must understand human suffering and exercise Christ’s supernatural love to this suffering world!

Click this link for our study on the-cross-suffering.

Slain for the Word

Revelation 6:9 “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony they had held.”

This prophecy in Revelation 6 is about the end times generation and predicts terrible tribulations to come.  And in the midst of these trials we see a vision of the souls who were slain because of the word of God and for their testimony that they had maintained.

Though every word of God is pure (Proverbs 30:5), the world hates the word because it exposes  their evil deeds; and those who maintain the testimony of Christ by the word of God live as candles by which the light of God’s word shines brightly in the world.  As tribulation begins to unfold upon the world, they will come to a point where they can no longer tolerate the convicting testimony of God’s saints upon this earth and they will kill those who hold the word of God and keep His commandments with the testimony of their life.

We need to hear this verse clearly: “slain for the word of God and for the testimony (μαρτυρία) they had held (εἶχον)

ἔχω / εἶχον (echō / eichon) – maintained or held; “to hold fast” or “uphold”

μαρτυρία (marturia)- Testimony; “the evidence given”

There will be a remnant of believers who will uphold the evidence of godliness and life that they have received by the Holy Spirit and they will be a testimony that the world cannot ignore, so the world will seek to extinguish the light of their testimony from upon the face of the earth.

This is going to be a trial unlike any seen upon the face of the earth before.  It will test the love every believer has for God to see whether or not we love our lives more than Him from whom we have received life!

John 16:2 “They will put you out of the [churches]. Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he is offering a service to God.”

I believe a time may be coming swiftly upon us when persecution will arise from within the brotherhood!  Yes, the Muslim’s are putting Christians to death thinking that they offer their god a service, but I believe this is speaking about those from within who will put us out!

Matthew 24:9-14Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you.  And you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  Then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another.  And many false prophets will rise and will deceive many.  Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

We are seeing a shift within Christianity away from the word of God towards personal revelation, signs and wonders, and hostility towards God’s word.

“They will hand you over” – Muslim’s do not hand Christians over because they are not from within; their persecution is invasive.  They come from without and intrude into the holy services of God to put to death His children.  Neither do oppressive regimes “hand Christians over to be persecuted” – they also bring invasive persecution to the doorstep of the Church.  I believe it will be of our own brotherhoods who have not received a love of the truth implanted in their heart that will hand us over to be persecuted.

“Many will fall away and betray one another” – in this terrible and treacherous falling away there will be much heartache, much more than just the pains of death.

But who could possibly bring such tragedy into the Church?

I cannot answer this question.  It is beyond my powers of comprehension to imagine what darkness one must enter to believe that handing one’s own brothers and sisters over to be persecuted could be a service to God; but I know that this terrible deception will come in “accordance with the working of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of unrighteousness among those who perish because they have not received the love of the truth” (2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10).

2 Timothy 3:1-5 “Know this; in the last days perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, slanderers, unrestrained, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power.  Turn away from such people!”

Sermon Series: Love and Holiness

1 Corinthians 13:1-4

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. If I give all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.

If I do not have love, I am nothing.

This lesson series on Love and Holiness is the most critical series I have ever preached. It is because love has fallen from the center of the Church’s preaching that Satan has claimed the word and we have fallen into disunity, chaos, and sin.

View and Download my PDF copy here:

love-holiness

Be Viscerally Compassionate

Luke 6:35-36 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be the sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and the evil. Be therefore merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

Before I can get into the meat of this text I have to look at some definitions real quick:

MERCIFUL: Greek Cognate: #3629 οἰκτίρμων (oiktírmōn – an adjective, “express visceral-compassions”) – compassionate, experiencing deep pity and lamentation as God has for people who look to Him for help in their difficult situations.

VISCERAL: (adjective) coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason

Therefore, we are told to be viscerally compassionate from the heart, just as God is viscerally compassionate from the heart!

Nothing except the call to the cross demands greater faith and necessitates greater love for God than Jesus’ call to this unfailing, unmerited, and merciful love. Certainly no other commandment confronts us with our own human inability more than Jesus’ commandment to supernatural-love.

HOW CAN I express visceral compassions towards even my enemies when I find in my heart only apathy, distrust, ill-will, or even hate? God’s word tells you that you can’t; only the Holy Spirit working in you can take your cold heart and make it burn with compassion for even your enemies (Galatians 5:22)! Whoever tries to produce this kind of love in their heart by the strength and will of their own flesh will meet failure time and time again (Romans 8:4-9; cf. 13:8, 10).

Am I then acquitted from any and all responsibility to be merciful as God is merciful? Let me quote Paul by saying “By no means!”

Because of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you – if you are born of the Spirit – you are doubly responsible!

Let me encourage you not to embrace the lie that says “love is only action and does not include emotions at all”. Love is to be unhypocritical (Romans 12:9) – which means “unfeigned and sincere”. Love must not be only an intellectual exercise that leaves the heart behind, wallowing in bitterness against those you are trying to love!

A believer may ask “what do I do if my heart does not feel love like this towards my enemies?” Do not be content to continue in heartless love! Cry out to God; weep and mourn for your heartless condition! But “love in action” all the while. Yes – if your heart does not “feel” love, then you must lead your heart by the truth of God’s word and repent before God that your heart remains so unregenerate. God will renew your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit and create in you the fruit of love.

CLOSING EXHORTATION

I cannot make my heart express visceral compassions for others when all my heart possesses is selfishness, apathy, and enmity! If you despair of your inability to love due to the coldness of your heart, then you need the renewal of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit! Turn away from the temptation to accomplish this by your own strength and look to Christ to create in you a pure heart!

You must fight the desire to become content with your lovelessness; love your enemies and your brethren in action, and cry out to God to renew your heart so that you can also love in truth!

Once you begin seeking God to renew your heart in love He will begin to send opportunities to love your enemies, neighbors, and brethren to you; I call these “opportunities” because God has shown me that they are truly opportunities, but they may look like trials and tribulations at first. Arm yourself with the mind of Christ (please read Philippians 2:5-10), and prepare to walk by faith through these trials and exercise love in action while you cry out to God to renew your heart so that you can likewise love in truth.

“Speak Smooth Words”

Isaiah 30:9-10 “This is a rebellious people, lying children, children who refuse to listen to the law of the LORD; they say to the seers, ‘you must not see visions’, and to the prophets, ‘you must not prophesy to us right things; speak pleasant things, prophesy illusions.'”

The deceptive and rebellious heart demands that God’s servants speak “smooth words” (KJV); I lament that in our day we see such a heart as this!

2 Timothy 4:2-4 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.”

Preaching righteousness incurs wrath from those who cannot tolerate reproof, rebukes, and exhortations; the call to preach God’s word is not a call to popularity, nor is it a call to brutality, it is a call to preach the truth with resolute steadfastness of heart.

Never loose sight of this one compelling reason that makes the cost of preaching righteousness worth it:

John 8:32 “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

Never forget that the truth has power to set sin’s captives free through Jesus Christ!

In an age where darkness rules through deceit and rebellion, the Church must not lose the voice of truth!

Declare to Jacob his Transgression

Micah 3:8 “I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”

The last thing I want to do is inspire someone who is not called of God to start rebuking the Church. God calls the humble, not the prideful, and empowers them by His grace and the Holy Spirit to preach His living word to the stubborn, obstinate, and self-righteous. But rather, I want to expose a deception that claims God does not send His servants to expose transgression.

Ezekiel 3:18-19 “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’, and you do not warn him, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you warn the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul.'”

God does raise up servants, whom He charges with His word to preach against the wicked. He gives them an anointing and a responsibility to carry the message that He gives them. These preachers are not to speak where God has not spoken, nor are they to be silent when God has spoken!

I believe cowardice on the one hand, and presumption on the other, are the primary reasons the Western Church is in such decline – cowardice on the part of those who were entrusted with God’s message to rebuke and warn but didn’t, and presumption on the part of those who were not call to preach but did!

Isaiah 66:2 “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

God does not look upon the proud, the contentious, the arrogant and boastful; He will not call them to be His preachers. God looks upon the humble and contrite of spirit, and upon the one who trembles at His word! He does not call those who are ready to “call fire down from heaven” (Luke 9:55) to preach for Him without first reforming them, rather, He calls those who say “we are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10); neither does God call those who use His word for their own purposes, but He calls those who quake within at the sound of His Word!

The Church is not purifying herself through the blood of Christ and the washing of the water of the Word like she is called to; so many continue practicing sin and are not mournful for it, but instead, many even boast in this! The Church must open her ears and begin listening to the truth being preached by God’s true servants.

Ephesians 4:17-18 “From now on you must not walk as the Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their minds, having their understanding darkened, excluded from the life of God through the ignorance that is within them due to the hardness of their hearts.”

In closing I wish to encourage those who are called by God to preach His word: if you preach God’s word, you will be surrounded by enemies and those closest to you will turn on you, but do not fear!  For “the LORD is your light and your salvation; whom shall you fear?  The LORD is the strength of your life; of whom should you be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)  You will not be without trials and tribulation, but Christ is your portion and the hope of your soul; delight yourself in Him and you will not be disappointed!

Finding Mercy

Proverbs 28:13 “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy”

One of the demarcations of the children of God that separates them from the children of the Devil is that God’s children confess and forsake their sins, whereas the children of the devil cover their sins and flee from the light.

Nahum 1:3 “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.”

God gives abundant mercy to whomever confesses and forsakes their sins – but He will not justify the wicked who refuse to acknowledge their ways.

I believe the Lord will walk the extra mile with anyone who is confessing their sins and seeking to turn away from them; the Lord’s mercy is shown in abundance and with great patience to such as this. But there is no mercy to those who cover their sin and try to justify themselves. Though they plot deep into the night, they will not prosper!

QUESTIONS FOR SELF-EXAMINATION:

  • If I am struggling with sin, am I confessing my sin and openly turning from it in the Light?
  • If I am struggling with sin, am I covering my sin and protecting my self-interests?
  • Do I use God’s word to justify myself or to seek God Himself?

 

Stealing

 

Exodus 20:15 “Do not steal”

My eyes have recently been opened to how concealed and widespread this sin is within the Church. So I must exhort with the authority of God because God is going to judge with His authority all who practice theft.

Leviticus 19:11 “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.”

Stealing is not difficult to figure out.

Simply put, the essence of stealing is taking something that does not belong to you. This applies to both material objects, like money, taxes, property and possessions, as well as to immaterial property, like digital music, movies, video games and intellectual works.

I’m sorry for being so elementary, but, it is evidently much needed: taking intellectual work and presenting it as your own; downloading music, movies, or video games without paying for them; cheating on taxes – these are all the works of thieves.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters… nor thieves… will inherit the kingdom of God.”

The warning against deception here is because God knows the human tendency to hide from the Light in dark layers of deception; He knows our tendency to cover ourselves with excuses and cast blame on others for our evil doings. But these excuses do not stand with God: “No unrighteous person will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Romans 13:8-10 “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘do not commit adultery’, ‘do not murder’, ‘do not steal’, ‘do not bear false witness’, ‘do not covet’… are all summed up in saying ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’. Love doe no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

One of the greatest lies Satan has ever sold to the Church is that love justifies sin. What a preposterous notion! Love is the antithesis of sin. Nothing is more contrary to sin than love. Therefore, love is the holiest expression of holiness, and the fulfillment of all righteousness.

TEST YOURSELF:

  • Do you cheat on your taxes?
  • Do you withhold fair wages from your employees?
  • Do you own pirated media like music, movies, or video games?
  • Do you steal intellectual works from other authors without acknowledging the author(s)?
  • Do you steal?

Please consider this last verse carefully and examine your life to make sure that you are not stealing anything:

Revelation 9:21 “And they did not repent of their murders or their sorcerers or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

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