Politics and Serving

politics, serving

Psalm 119:91e, “. . . all things serve You.”

What an incredible statement, ALL things serve Him, ALL!

The NASB and the HCSB, both say, “. . . all things are Your servants.”

Now the context is the physical creation, but the application is EVERYTHING!.

Remember Romans 8:28, it says there that He uses ALL THINGS for the better, ALL THINGS! Amazing.

So if God says that “all things serve” Him, what does “all things” include? How about sickness? How about bad financial issues? I wonder if “all things” includes . . . Wait, all things means just that doesn’t it? All means all!

Now please note, does the Romans 8:28 say that all things GET BETTER? No, it says that all things “work out for the better.”

But let’s not get off topic, “all things serve” God.

The day I write this is in the middle of to “Great political parties’ conventions.” Literally, one has just ended and the other will begin. Whichever party you prefer, please remember what the Word says, by application, These “important” men and women serve Him, whether they realize it or not. 

God is the one who is served by all things (Psalm 119:91). He is the One who is sovereign (Psalm 103:19). He reigns (Psalm 9:7). He is where we put our trust (Jeremiah 17:7), praise the Lord.

What is His will for the November elections? I don’t know, but I’m excited to see what He has up His sleeve! (cf Romans 13:1-2)

Blessings,

Mark S Mirza

Author/Speaker

Ministry: Common Thread Ministries

Book: The Pray-ers

Email: Mark@CTMPrayer.org

Politics, Motives and Prayers

Politics, Motives and Prayers

POLITICS

During a weekly conference call where we pray for a particular Washington D.C. legislator, my prayer partner and I prayed about the Republican Convention and the November elections. While he prayed 1 Timothy 2:2 it occurred to me that the verse’s reference to “tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity” is expected of Christians, REGARDLESS of who is in office.

MOTIVES

While I would like my country’s leaders to create circumstances where life is convenient for me as a Christian, I have to be honest about my motivation for praying for these leaders. And when I check my motivation for praying I find myself having to say, “Yes, my motivation is selfish (cf James 4:3)! I don’t want to face the turmoil that 1 Peter 4:12 implies, namely that I should expect fiery ordeals.”  And then I am reminded where Jesus, in Matthew 10:16ff says, basically, “They persecuted me. They WILL persecute you.”

PRAYERS

So how do I make sense of these realities and then let them impact my prayers so that my prayers are true to God’s Word?

  1. I submit myself to the Lord, dying to my desires, daily (Luke 9:23). This means that I am willing to wake up every morning and sign a document that says, “God’s Will For My Life” BEFORE its details of the day are filled in.
  2. I thank the Lord, for every circumstance, difficulty, etc. We know that 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to be thankful IN everything but do we own the reality that we are to thankful FOR everything? (See Ephesians 5:20). You may think that there is NOTHING you can give thanks for, relative to certain issues, but test the Lord. Let Him lay on your heart what you can give thanks for. It will completely change your perspective of your difficulty.
  3. Finally, pray God’s Word, “Lord, You have ALREADY given me everything I need to live a life of godliness, (1 Peter 1:3) regardless of who is in official leadership roles. When they threaten my peace, I simply ask You to consider their threats and give me the opportunity to be bold for You (Acts 4:29).

 

Blessings,

 

Mark S Mirza
Author/Speaker
Common Thread Ministries
CTM Publishing, Atlanta
The Pray-ers
E: Mark@CTMPrayer.org

The Gospel of Self

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Why is combating the “gospel of self” so important?

Because focusing on our will, instead of God’s will, causes us to compromise Scripture, meaning we look at it for what we WANT it to say, not letting it speak for itself.

So how do we fall into this deception? What does “compromising Scripture” look like? I suggest that it is as simple as us “bending” Scripture to meet our preconceived notions of what it SHOULD say.

And then when someone disagrees with us we say, “Oh that’s just your interpretation.” But, these ARE NOT interpretation issues! These are context issues. HUGE difference!

I like what the AiG founder, Ken Ham says when he is talking about evolutionists and creationists looking at the same evidence but coming up with completely different conclusions. The difference, he says is, “Where we start impacts where we end-up.”

Let me draw what that looks like:

Proper Context         ++   Passage’s Interpretation      ==   Peace
IM-Proper Context    ++   Passage’s Interpretation      ==   NO-Peace

Here’s the sobering part of why we end up with NO-Peace:
Romans 8:6, For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.

  • Here’s the context of Romans 8:6: The Holy Spirit makes a difference in our life.
  • The interpretation is above.
  • So, when I do NOT have peace, it is for one reason, because I am NOT focusing on the things of the Spirit.

Now let me challenge your prayer life, and I will use just one example:

Giving Thanks

We all know 1 Thessalonians 5:18, that we are to give thanks “IN” everything, but do we realize that we are to give thanks “FOR” everything (Ephesians 5:20)?

  1. Example of when my checking account is low. In light of the above, my prayer becomes, “I thank You that You have another opportunity to strengthen my faith muscle, and I get to watch You do it!”
  2. Example of protection when I drive, or, traveling mercies. In light of the above, my prayer becomes, “I thank You that your angel is alongside me, guarding me along the way so that I arrive at the place that you have prepared for me (Exodus 23:20), WHEREVER that is.”
  3. Example of a child in the military. In light of the above, my prayer becomes, “I thank You that I can trust You with my child to do WHATEVER You want in his life, because You are sovereign and You know what is best (Psalm 103:19).”
  4. Example of poor personal health. In light of the above, my prayer becomes, “I thank You Lord that You have promised to comfort me IN this affliction, so that I can comfort others in the self-same way (2 Corinthians 1:4).”

We need to rethink the way we pray. And hear me, I’m not saying this is the ONLY way to pray about these issues. I’m merely showing how “giving thanks” can be done IN everything and FOR everything, just as Scripture says.

 

Blessings,

 

Mark S Mirza
Author/Speaker
www.ThePray-ers.com

PS: Giving Thanks (for everything) often leads to worry. Here is a 3 minute video I did on worry last year.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QufiGwdMjBc 

Praying About An Ark Encounter

Ark Encounter Model

Ark Encounter Model

As The Ark Encounter gets ready to open in a few days, I want to share with you how I have been praying. No! I have NOT been praying about the weather. I should have, it’s supposed to rain. But then I thought, “Hey, rain on the  day of the ribbon cutting of The Ark Encounter is absolutely appropriate!”

But I want to share with you how I have, for the last few weeks, been praying. I have been reminded of the explorers of old and their reasons for wanting to find the Ark. Many of them, the Christians, wanted to find the Ark for much the same reason Ken Ham and company has built this Ark, namely, to bring the truth of the Word of God to the world. Well, on July 5th, in a very real sense, these men and women explorer’s prayers have been answered, THE ARK HAS BEEN FOUND!!! Here has been my prayer:

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth. Lord, let Your Name be so real, so majestic, so excellent in men and women’s lives, as You rehear and then answer the prayers of these men and women explorers from the past. Cause men and women and boys and girls from all over the earth to experience You in a personal way, accepting Your Son, our Ark, and enter into eternal salvation in You as they visit The Ark Encounter.

Now I want to be real careful here to not set a dogmatic doctrine on a theme that ArkEncounterOpeningmany will say, “Mark, you’re just crazy!” I want to be clear, this kind of praying is a VERY, VERY SMALL percentage of my praying. Let me illustrate how small. My prayer partners and I have a friend who has been in heaven for a number of years, none of us met Bill personally. Our first face to face meeting with him will be in heaven, but I can also tell you that, probably once a month or more, we remember to ask the Lord, “To rehear Bill’s prayers afresh for his family, and for his friends and for his pastor.” And that’s it!

Let me say this a bit differently, in a month or two of praying, praying by men who are on the phone together for many hours per month and then in their own prayers for many more hours in the same month, the ONLY length of time this prayer gets, is maybe, 10 seconds, maybe. So it is a VERY small amount of our praying.

Forgive me for the previous two paragraphs warnings and pleadings, but I want to be careful that we DO NOT let this become a new “Fad” in your praying. God is interested in YOUR effectual and fervent prayers! That’s what He wants to hear.

But you might ask, “Why Mark do you even pray this way at all?”

ArkEncounterTimeSquare

Ark Encounter Advertising on Times Square

Great question. You might want to say that in Revelation 5:8, the prayers of the saints are stored up for God to rehear. I personally wouldn’t push the verse that far because there is too much that isn’t said in the verse, about prayer.

You might also look at an argument that departed saints are in heaven praying, as Revelation 6:9-10 implies. Again, I think that it is pushing the envelope of prayers and where they originated, which is in heaven and not on earth (remembering that this post is because of my reference above of explorer’s prayers). Also, Revelation 6:9-10 is focusing on the pray-ers said in heaven by martyred saints. And the subject of their prayers were very specific, vengeance. So please, do not take the focus off of what God would have us do, namely, here on earth, pray.

There is however, one reason that I would ask the Lord to rehear the prayers of the previous Ark explorers as I did above, and there isn’t single verse in Scripture that associates this reason with prayer. Time. The reason is time, TIME! God is outside of time! I don’t really know what that means, but it is a bit comforting to me to think, that maybe, just maybe, God can rehear afresh, the prayers from the past. Call me crazy if you want, it’s okay. But if  you do not call me crazy, then please, pray with me:

Oh Lord, our Lord, rehear the prayers of those Christian explorers who so wanted men and women and boys and girls to find Your Son thru the finding of the Ark. For truly, THE ARK HAS BEEN FOUND!!! It might be in Kentucky and not in the mountains of Ararat, but Lord, our Lord use it to bring the saving knowledge of Your Son to men and women.

To visit the ark and get the details on tickets click here.

 

Mark S Mirza
Author/Speaker
E: Mark@CTMPrayer.org
C: 404-606-2322

Results of Praying Without Ceasing

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     After returning a rental car today I took a back road walking home and went on to our local bike trail.

     While there a very nice young woman asked me for 30 seconds of my time to talk to me about a subject that I knew I would strongly disagree with her. I won’t share with you any of the details of the subject because I don’t want it to cloud the focus of this post, namely, The Results of Praying Without Ceasing.

     After I dropped off the car and started walking, my mind was bombarded with thoughts taht took me in directions I know my brain should not go. I found myself constantly and, praise the Lord, consistently, taking those thoughts captive, which, above all things meant submitting myself to the Lord in every area of my thought life.

     Here’s the point to this short post. Because I was prayed up. Because I was constantly in prayer. Because I was submitted to the Lord, by the Holy Spirit I had the words to say in that hour (Matthew 10:19). And instead of strong antagonism and deep resentment being the result of our discussion, we parted company in a friendly manner. I walked away reflecting that she not only knew clearly why I believe what I believe. But she heard from a Christian, a love for her that she didn’t expect when I begin by saying, “I’ll give you 30 seconds, but I’m one of these wacko Christians.”

     A little further down the trail I was able to pray for her. And because our conversation went the way it did, from beginning to end, I was able to pray, with confidence that she would be moved by something that the Holy Spirit may have spoken to her heart.

     My words were just my words. They weren’t said to convict or to change her mind. My role was to speak the truth in love (1 Peter 3:15) and let the Holy Spirit touch her and speak to her heart (Matthew 10:20).

     What might I have said had I not been completely prayed up? What attitude might I have given off had I not been constantly in prayer before her introducing herself to me?

     Do you notice a difference in yourself when you are not prayed up? Do you treat people differently than would like to when you have not been taking your thoughts captive?

     Be constant in prayer. Try it you’ll like the results.

Mark S Mirza
Author/Founder/Speaker

Common Thread Ministries

How A Passage Becomes A Prayer

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If you’ve heard me preach you now that I like to encourage prayer, from passages in the Word. But the practical question is, “How do you do that?” And the simple question has a simple answer, “meditate on it!”

Let me give you an example. The example is from a Daily Devotional I recently read. The author is F. Hammarsten. In this day’s Devo he gives his meditations upon a famous “prayer passage,” namely 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22. I will quote it in the KJV because of Hammarsten’s wording of his meditation on the passage further down the post.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (KJV)

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

The exciting part of the devotional occurs below where Hammarsten merely meditates on these passages. What I have done is simply lifted his words and placed them here. Again, these are NOT my words. I wish they were. They are his. All I did, was add a word here and a word there, to make his “meditations” into a very practical prayer. I think I changed all of ten (10) words:

Dear Lord, give me grace to listen when Thou speakest.
Rejoice evermore. Lord, at once I begin to enumerate my reasons for not rejoicing, and I find that weeping would become me better than rejoicing. I feel like the child, when in sorrow or grief, thinks it strange that his mother tells him to be glad. But the mother knows better than the child whether he should weep or rejoice. It is Thy will O God, that I should rejoice. Thou permittest me, nay, Thou bidst me to rejoice. I thank Thee, Lord, for this gracious privilege.
Pray without ceasing. Accordingly, dear Father, Thou permittest me always to be in close communion with Thee. Thou are ever ready to hear my faintest prayer when I am all undone. Continually and without ceasing I may approach the throne of grace; and this means that I may ever there abide, always sending up my prayer to Thee. This I will never forget; help me to remember it, O God.
In everything give thanks. In every thing? This means that the bitter cup which Thou sendest me to drink has been prepared for me as a blessing. It means that all the power of the enemies is in Thy hand and that their attacks upon me shall come to naught. It means that even my own transgressions — if I confess them before Thee and truly repent — will be included in those things which, according to Thy Word, work together for good to them that love Thee (Romans 8:28). Thou art with me in trouble, Thou art present even in the clouds of darkness, and I will use my best endeavor to learn the difficult lesson of giving thanks the Thee for every thing.
– Quench not the Spirit. I realize the need of this warning Lord. At times Your Spirit is about to be quenched by reason of treasonable influences which find lodgment in my heart. The frosts of worldliness, the sultriness of worldly anxieties, and the poisonous winds of error, unbelief, and temptation have often threatened to quench the Spirit. I have, furthermore, forgotten to feed the sacred flame with the oil of God’s Word, and through failure to make a bold confession of my faith before men I have hindered the fire of the Spirit from burning brightly. I fear lest I may quench the Spirit. Thou knowest it, O Lord; help me in accordance with Thy promise.
– Despise not prophesyings. I understand so imperfectly the word of prophesy. It was designed to be my guide. Teach me, Lord,  to understand it aright.
– Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. This means that I should examine all things in the light of Thy Word. Many things have I accepted without thus proving them; often I have cast aside the good and held fast to the evil. But Thou, O Lord, art my lamp; Thou wilt illumine my understanding.
– Abstain from all appearance of evil. Father, I want to abstain from the evil which appears innocent as well as from the evil which is manifest. Lord, I want to abstain from the evil within myself, the evil in others, all evil. I do not want to temporize with it, but rather, flee from it. Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust. I have said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond Thee (Psalm 16:1, 2 R.V.). Amen

He brilliantly shows us how to pray Scripture Back to God.

Mark S Mirza
Author: The Pray-ers
Founder: Common Thread Ministries

Common Thread Ministries

Mark Quoted Jan 11-2016

AwakenAtlanta

In the Christian Index, writer Dr. Gerald Harris wrote:

AWAKEN ATLANTA, AWAKEN GEORGIA TO THE NEED FOR PRAYER

After giving many of the speakers’ comments Gerald quoted Mark Mirza:

Georgia Baptist Mark Mirza, who is the president of Common Thread Ministries, commented, “Preeminent in all of the speaker’s messages was the concept of relationship – relationship with God, with fellow believers in one’s local church and fellowship with believers in other denominations. It was encouraging and hopeful watching everybody put aside their doctrinal differences and worship together as well as pray together.”

Please go to the article to see some great photos and the rest of the quotes.

Blessings,

Mark S Mirza
C: 404-606-2322
W: www.ThePray-ers.com
W: www.CTMPrayer.org

Common Thread Ministries