- Day After + 13 (Brokenness "a") November 20, 2012
Prayer and the Elections (Romans 13:1)
BROKENNESS, A FIRST LOOK
THE EXPERIENCE OF BROKENNESS
My wife has, quite correctly, warned me about being legalistic, as this blog subject, “Brokenness,” moves forward. And she’s right. I see the real need to be careful about not stating things legalistically, not letting you look at this legalistically, and yet, not hiding from what scripture really says. As you read this, try to keep that balance, okay? Unfortunately, it will be very easy to become legalistic if we are not careful.
Here’s the problem. I need to describe something, in scripture, that many of us have never experienced, rarely experience, and/or don’t understand when we DO experience it. And because of our experience, or lack there of, there can be a tendency to believe that, until you experience it FULLY, “you are not doing it well enough!” If we go there, that is legalism.
Recognize that not everyone has the same emotional make-up. Our emotions are all different. For example, I rarely cry when I pray. When someone, who cries EVERY time they pray, hears me pray, without crying, should they wonder if I don’t pray as well as them? Let me say it differently, in the same scenario, does it mean that I should look at my prayers as inferior, because I don’t cry? That, my friends, is legalism.
So with all of this said, in the few paragraphs below, be sensitive to where your brain may go and make sure that you do not judgmentally decide that your prayers, or someone else’s prayers, are substandard because you, or they, do not experience brokenness “well enough.”
Okay, “The Experience of Brokenness.” Let me state the bottom line, in two questions, before we even read the passage that is our guide. First, do you have a sense of brokenness and sorrow for your sin, even AFTER you have asked for forgiveness? And two, how does God want us to react to sin?
Begin with Isaiah 59:2, where we read that sin causes a barrier, between us and God. Consider also Lamentations 3:44 where we see that our sins are like a cloud that our prayers cannot pass through. And then there’s my favorite (NOT!!!), Proverbs 28:9 which makes plain that God isn’t interested in my prayers when I’m not obedient. But you may say, “Mark, that’s the Old Testament.”
Before I go on, let me just ask a simple question, “Do you believe that when you sin, you need to deal with it?” If so, then I would ask you, “How are we to deal with sin in our life?”
Alright…Are you ready for this? In James 4:8-10, the God of the universe is telling us how to respond to sin, in our life. The New Testament God of the universe, speaking to already saved individuals, through James, is talking about AFTER we have drawn back to Him, cleansing our hands and purifying our hearts (James 4:8). It is at THAT point, that God is saying the response from us is to be, misery, mourning and weeping (James 4:9). Now there is hope (James 4:10) but we will talk about that in a future blog.
There it is, misery, mourning and weeping (James 4:9). That’s the crux of the blog today. I’d sure be interested in your thoughts. Interesting, this admonition has NOTHING to do with political party, does it?
May I just close with one suggestion, start asking God to cause you to be broken before Him…regarding sin in your life.
If you are not to sure you have any sin to deal with, go the questions on this link, (these are the questions I use when I do A Solemn Assembly in your church). You might be a bit surprised what the Lord lays on your heart…to deal with.
Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries
- A Solemn Assembly-Questions August 15, 2012
If you have heard me do A Solemn Assembly, you’ve heard these questions below. Many of you have asked for them and I now have the permission of the author.
These print best on a legal size 8 1/2 x 14 sheet of paper.
Click the icon below (or here) to get a clean .PDF version.
- Church Survival July 18, 2012
Psalm 85:6 is often quoted about revival, with the result being a rejoicing people…but another application is for a church’s survival, to which I would say, requires revival.
Michael Guido has written about this, in fact, it is in his Treasury of Illustrations that I first saw this article, this “seed” of his. Lately my messages are all about calling the church to holiness. His article tells us, more eloquently than I can, WHY we need holiness. The church’s survival, requires revival.
Please read his “eSeed” it is very short.
Mark S Mirza
- American First, Christian Second July 11, 2012
This morning I was praying for a friend of mine who is in another country on a two week missions trip, that he wasn’t looking forward to going on. I prayed that the Lord would show him clearly, His desire for my friend, each day…SO THAT, my friend would be filled with the blessings that come from doing God’s will…versus his own will. Said another way, my prayer is that my friend would focus on his situation the way that God wants him to focus on it..
When you see the difficulties in the USA, what’s your focus? How do you look at it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we shouldn’t actively pursue those things that God lays on your heart to do, but is your starting point God? Or is it you and your desire?
The Apostle Paul’s words should challenge our starting point. Paul tells us that:
- What you’re experiencing is God’s will for you, and by the way give thanks regarding it (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Paul also wants us to…
- Recognize that our light affliction (when compared to the eternal weight of glory) is for but a moment (2 Corinthians 4:17). He then helps us see something else, that…
- We can rejoice in our sufferings because they (our sufferings) produce perseverance (Romans 5:3)
Also James challenges us:
- That we are to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials (James 1:2)
- And James promises something to those who love God, when he promises a crown of life to the one who perseveres in these trials (James 1:12)
- And then in James 5:11, he references Job and his endurance
But did you notice? What did James NOT promise? He did not promise a life of ease! Let’s look at Job 2:10, talking to his wife about her focus Job says, “You are talking like a foolish woman.” What did he mean by that? Job went on, “Should we accept only good from God and not bad, or not trouble?” Friends, are we acting like Job’s foolish wife?”
Where’s your starting point? Is your Christianity first? If it is, you can agree with Peter:
- In 1 Peter 1:6, he told us to rejoice, GREATLY, even though we are distressed by various trials!
Why could Peter say that? What was Peter’s focus? His focus was the hope of our salvation, that which is our FUTURE inheritance (Vs 5). Friends, THAT should be our focus too, NOT ALL OF THIS STUFF here on earth!
Peter takes us back to Job, when at the end of that same verse, he says that you are “put to grief,” or “compelled to grief.” In other words, this grief was brought to you and upon you, for a reason! Application to us in the USA? God brought this grief, and there is a purpose for it. If you allow Him, He has designed good to come from your grief, your trials (cf. Romans 8:28).
Consider again Job, what did God say about him? Three times in Job 1 & 2, God calls him the most blameless man on the planet, but in the last 5 chapters of Job, what do we see? We see that God needed to work in the area of self righteousness in Job’s life. For whatever reason, Job was not able to see the sin in his life, WITHOUT going thru some very difficult things in his life. What am I saying? That what God did in Job’s life, was good for Job. Now, hear me, I personally can’t reconcile that in my brain, but I trust that God’s thoughts are higher than my thoughts, that God is sovereign and that He is in control, His word is trustworthy, and therefore He is trustworthy. So my choice is to trust Him, BECAUSE He is who He is. What God is doing in the life of our nation, is good for us. The question is, will we submit to God, like Job, or NOT even seek God for fear of what He’ll ask us to give up?
Let me ask it this way, where’s your focus? Is it on what you want to see God do in our nation? Or is it on what God might be doing in you, using the situation in our nation to get your attention?
Isaiah 22:8-13, talking about when the Israelites depended upon their political direction, their weapons, is easily applicable to the USA. Here Isaiah shows that the people who saw the “political-things” that needed to get fixed, did them! And probably did them with excellence! But the second half of verse 11 tells us, they did not depend on the Creator, and they did not “consider” the One who planned it.” Planned what? Planned the problems! In verse 13 we’re told, basically, “Instead, y’all went out and celebrated!” But verse 12 tells us what God wanted. He wanted brokenness. What do you think will happen all over the USA on November 6th? All over the nation, one group will celebrate, the other will worry and God is pleading with us, “I want dependence upon Me, I want brokenness,” and I would add, that comes from personal repentance, NOT politics!
You see, God wants brokenness in our lives and it will not happen if our focus is on our problems “out-yonder.” God is disciplining us, out of love, like a good father disciplines his child, because He sees the problems IN US, in you and me!. Do you know how much God loves you? He loves you so much that He is willing to allow things to get worse (in the USA), until you and I come to Him with brokenness. Until we are willing to do that, we are battling against the clear directive, the clear purpose, of God. We are, as is said in Acts 26:14 (regarding Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus) “kicking against the goads.”
Do you still wonder if all that is happening in the USA is from God? Go back to Job 1 & 2, it reads as if God prodded satan, prompted satan, pushed satan. Look at what satan said to God, in Job 1:10-11, (applying it to the USA). “Have You not made a hedge about the USA, and all that they have? You have blessed the work of their hands, and their possessions have increased in their land. But put forth Your hand God, touch all that they have, and the Christians in the USA will curse You to Your face!”
I believe we have had many examples of, God putting forth His hand, His hand of judgment. 9/11 is only one example. And so what happened after 9/11? We went back to our sinful ways just a few weeks and months later. Look again at Job, this time Job 2:4-5, satan says, (applying it to the USA). “Sure, they worshiped you for awhile, but skin for skin God, You take away those things that are most important to those Americans, including their health, and they will curse you to Your face.”
Tuesday I was driving to Metter GA, and on my way down there I was listening to Ray Boltz’ song, “Watch the Lamb.” When he sang about the men in the crowd yelling “Crucify Him!” I wept because it occurred to me, that when I sin, I too, like the men in the crowd am yelling, “Crucify Him…AGAIN!” I’m embarrassed to tell you that there are a couple of “pet” sins that I am just tired of holding on to. Pray for me, would you, that Tuesday was a new day for me in this area? What about you? Are there areas in your life that God has spoken, and you are ignoring?
There is another passage that brilliantly expounds upon our focus.
Romans 8:6 tells us that if we focus on the things of the flesh, we end up with death (destruction) but if we focus on the things of the Spirit we end up with NOT JUST life, but BOTH life and peace. You will not have peace in your life, focusing on all of this garbage around you! Again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t actively pursue those things that God lays on your heart to do. But is your starting point God? Or is it you and your desire to relieve your anxiety?
Remember Philippians 4:6-7? You want your anxiety gone? You want peace? Come to the Lord with prayers, petitions and thanksgivings! Thank Him for what? Thank Him for these problems! Thank Him that these problems have moved YOU, unto righteousness. And then you know what happens? He brings you a peace that completely transcends every single bit of your understanding! He brings you peace in the midst of your trials.
I don’t believe that God is interested in fixing anything in Washington DC, until He fixes you and I.
This is my prayer for you. Do you recognize the verse that it comes from?
If you are a child of the King, I pray that you humble yourself, by getting on your face before God! And pray to the God of Job, of Paul, of James, of Peter. Start seeking His face, not just His hand. Quit praying that he takes away your temporary problems and start asking for the forgiveness of your sins. He will hear your prayer, forgive you of your sins, immediately (cf. 1 John 1:9) I might add, and He will heal where you walk, and where the person next to you walks, and where the person next to him walks, and eventually He will heal our land.
Do you want one more challenge? Take a blank piece of paper and at the top write, “God’s Will For My Life.” Leave it blank! Then at the bottom, sign it. ONLY THEN, should you starting seeking God’s face and let Him fill in the blank page.
Mark S Mirza
- PS. — The title of this post came from a pastor friend, Greg S., who was describing a loving, generous, sincere Christian friend of his. Greg said, “I love him, but he is an American first and a Christian second.”
- ALWAYS Pray A.C.T.S.? July 6, 2012
I want to use a teaching tool that R. A. Torrey utilized, that of asking questions…
- Why do we pray in the form of A.C.T.S.?
- Did Christ expect us to follow His “model-prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) every time we prayed?
- What did Paul mean when he said we should pray with all kinds of prayers (Ephesians 6:18)?
- Have you ever looked at the way David prayed, when he was in the midst of difficulties (cf Psalm 3-7, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 22, 25, 27, 28, 31, 35), just to name a few?
- How did David start all of these prayers?
- Why didn’t he begin with adoration?
- When you are in distress, do many of your prayers start off like David’s too?
- Did you notice that many of his OTHER Psalms do, in fact, start off with praise (cf Psalm 8, 18, 19, 23, 29, 30, 32, 34), just to name a few?
- How did he end all of his prayers that STARTED in great distress?
- Why did David praise God at the end of all of these prayers?
- When you pray, in the midst of troubles, do your prayers end like David’s?
- Do your prayers end with hope?
- Do you get off your knees with the problems gone?
- Do you get off your knees with the problems still there, but the anxiety gone? Why or why not?
- Look again, in every one of these prayers, how did David end them?
- Look again at your prayers, do you end them the same way as David? Why or why not?
- Do you think it is possible to get off your knees with the problems STILL in your face, but the anxiety gone?
- Looking at Psalm 5:1-2, how has David been praying?
- Have you ever prayed with groaning (or meditating), and with crying out to the Lord?
- Assuming David has been praying, groaning, meditating and/or crying out to the Lord all night, how is he praying in verse 3?
- If your version says, “eagerly watch,” “looking up” or “keeping watch” or a derivative of any of those, how would you say David was praying, if “wait in expectation” was the way your version ended?
- When you pray, and are in the midst of distress, what is your expectation?
- What do you think 1 John 5:14-15 says your expectation should be?
- What is David doing in Psalm 5:4?
- When you are praying because of great distress in your life, do you remember God’s character?
- How do you think, remembering God’s character, would help you in your praying?
- Look at James 1:6, do you doubt (or waiver) when you pray, in the midst of distress?
- What does James 1:7 say about doubting when you pray?
- Going back to Psalm 5:4, what do you think will keep you from doubting?
- In Psalm 5:8, what is the “twist” that David takes in his prayer?
- How does Psalm 5:8 agree with and support 1 Thessalonians 5:18?
- How does Psalm 5:8 agree with and support Philippians 4:6-7?
- When was the last time you thanked God for your distress?
- In verse 8 was David looking to God for relief from the distress he was in?
- What was he looking for from God?
- The last time you were in distress, calling out to God, did you seek direction from the Lord, BECAUSE OF the distress you were in?
- Do you see how you can thank God, FOR the distress, and still not LIKE the distress?
- Jumping to Psalm 5:11-12, can you figure out what David is doing?
- His problems aren’t gone, why is he rejoicing?
- Maybe a bigger question is, why aren’t you rejoicing when you get to the end of your prayers?
- What do you think would happen if you stayed on your knees until God told you to get up?
- Have you ever stayed on your knees AFTER you said, “Amen?”
- Can you think of a reason this might be good to do?
- Can you think of other ways you can hear from God?
- Have you ever prayed with God’s word open, and next to you?
- If verses 11 and 12 show us what David knew of God’s character, what does that say of your knowledge of God’s character, regarding how you end your prayers?
- When was the last time you prayed with God’s word open, next to you, and you in it, reading it…yes, while you were praying?
This was fun to write, let me know if it was helpful, okay?
In His Name, with great thanksgivings,
Mark S Mirza
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