Day After + 14 (Brokenness “b”)

The 2012 Red State, Blue State Map

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Prayer and the Elections (Romans 13:1)

BROKENNESS CONTINUES

LEARNING IN AFFLICTION

Learning WHAT in affliction? On the surface, that would seem an oxymoronic statement if I ever heard one! How can that be true?

This morning my Bible reading took me to Ezekiel 12 where the prophet is told by God to be an example to the Israelites, demonstrating to them what was to soon occur, i.e. their being taken into captivity. But here is the part that is applicable to our blog, Ezekiel 12:15. God tells us that it is in fact, THRU the soon coming affliction, that they, the Israelites, will know that He is the Lord. May I be honest with you? That doesn’t make any sense to me! I understand that God is the Lord, when I see Him RESCUE me from afflictions, not because I am plunged INTO afflictions.

Was this just a one-time statement by the Holy Spirit? I’m kind of hoping that this is just a fluke verse, with meaning for another time, and NOT for me today. But, unfortunately (depending on your perspective) this passage is not a fluke. First remember Lamentations 3:33 where we are told that God does NOT send us into affliction lightly. He doesn’t enjoy doing it. Second, look at Hosea 5:15, where God says that when we are in our affliction we will earnestly seek Him. And that is why this fits as we continue to look at brokenness.

Do you see what the Israelites, and by application, us in the USA do, when we are in the midst of affliction? We cry out to God. We seek Him. And you remember 2 Chronicles 15:2 (as well as other passages) where God says, so specifically, that when you seek Him, He will let Himself be found! What happens when God plunges us into affliction? We seek Him. And what happens when we seek Him? He makes sure we find Him. And then, with my whole heart (not just my mind) I realize that He is the Lord. Why? Because He has walked thru the situation with me, because He has given me peace in the midst of difficulties. Just go back into your own recent memory and let the Lord remind you of His “real-ness” in your life when you were facing difficulties.

One more thing needs to be mentioned in this regard, and it ties to both brokenness and “blaming” others. Four verses later, in Ezekiel 12:19 the Lord tells us why He sent circumstances into their life that caused anxiety and horror…it was not, I repeat, NOT, because of their leaders alone. It was because of the sins of ALL who live in the land. Application? The difficulties in our land cannot be laid at the feet of one leader or another, one party or another. The problems that we are facing are because of you and me. We are the cause of the affliction! Period!

Now I hear some of you through my keyboard, and you are voicing LOUD disagreements. May I just gently say to you, as lovingly as I can…”That’s why we don’t have revival, our arrogance regarding sin in our life.”

Aren’t you glad I’m probably not writing again until after Thanksgiving?

Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries

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Day After + 13 (Brokenness “a”)

The 2012 Red State, Blue State Map

Click Map for "The Day After Series"

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

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Day After + 9 (Change)

Prayer and the Elections (Romans 13:1)

change

So you are a week and a couple of days out, and you already want change…
Or, when you were voting, you were voting for change to continue, with the current administration…

Whatever the case, what would you say if I told you that BOTH of you are “partially” right, in this regard, God wants to see change too? Now hold on for a minute, because you need to remember that the idea behind the verse above (Romans 13:1), tells us that God is the one who installs leaders. So when I say God wants to see change too, am I talking about change in leadership?

Let’s look at the change that God is wanting to see. Isaiah 22 is a chapter that I have not been able to get away from, since I first re-read it in February of this year. In verses 9, 10 and 11a we read, (by application, not as a commentary) that these people saw the political things that needed to be done and did them…probably with excellence. But look at verse 11b and read whom they did NOT regard. Now skip verse 12 for a moment and look at verse 13. God is saying here, basically, “Instead, y’all through a celebration!” And let’s face it, whether your political party won, or would have won, you either did, or were planning on, celebrating, right?

Now go back to verse 12. What is God saying here except, “I wanted you broken!” What is the change that God is wanting to see? ANSWER? The change of our heart UNTO brokenness…and unfortunately, all we can think of is “change” in the context of politics. Friends, and this is not party specific, God is not interested in fixing Washington D.C. until He fixes you and I!

Before we go on, begin now to ask God what changes He wants to see in your life. Ask Him if you have been living WITHOUT regard to Him. Ask Him if your political focus has become an idol above God. And if so, repent…don’t just ask for forgiveness.

My prayer for you is that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened, opened and that you would see that you have strayed from His calling on your life (Ephesians 1:18a). And as you draw near to God, and He draws near to you, you will be moved to acknowledge that your hands (that which people heard and saw from you) and heart (where our double-mindedness resides) needs to be cleansed (James 4:8).

Lord, I am further reminded of the great riches we have, from Your Son’s inheritance, among the saints, meaning, in part, here on earth (Ephesians 1:18b) that far exceeds ANY blessings that may come from any leader who sits in Washington D. C. Lord, show us clearly where we have sinned by making politics an idol above You..

Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries

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Day After + 2 (Thanksgiving)

Prayer and the Elections (Romans 13:1)

thanksgiving

No! I’m not talking about the holiday! I know, you were hoping I would not go here so quickly. But I’m sorry. I tried to stay away from it but it is the word I keep being drawn back to. You see, here is the issue…1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks, because this is in fact God’s will in Christ Jesus concerning us.” And for those of you that want to get side-tracked by arguing, give thanks IN everything but not “FOR” everything, you need to look at Ephesians 5:20 where Paul clearly says, “giving thanks, always, FOR everything…”

So then the obvious question is, WHY give thanks? If your candidate won, it would seem a no-brainer why you can give thanks, but if your candidate lost, you might ask, “Why in the world should I give thanks?”  And that is the question I want to pose to both groups of people, “Why should you give thanks?” The passages say to give thanks, but for what?

Can I meddle just a tiny bit more? No matter which side of the aisle you are on, Republican or Democrat (and of course everyone else), start to seek the Lord’s direction for this answer. Let the Holy Spirit lead you into an understanding of what it is The Lord wants you to give thanks for.

You might be surprised by what He lays on your heart.

Coincidentally (haha), my memory verse for today is Colossians 3:2 (from YouVersion’s Verse for the Day) and it says, “Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.”

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries

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Day After the Day After (Sovereignty)

Prayer and the Elections (Romans 13:1)

SOVEREIGNTY

The question asked, multiple times yesterday was, “Well then, how do we pray, going forward?”

I suspect that we will approach this question a number of times during this series, so let’s tackle this today, from the standpoint of Psalm 103:19, where David tells us that the Lord’s throne is above the heavens, and He is sovereign over all. Think about this for a minute, His throne is above the heavens…He is sovereign over all…you mean, the pink slip I just got at work isn’t a surprise to God? Nope!

The bad report from the doctor isn’t a surprise to God? Nope!

Not at all? So then, something that we call, “Election Results” are not a surprise to God either, are they? Nope! In fact, our foundational verse above, Romans 13:1 tells us that God is the one who installs leaders.

So, how do we pray, going forward? Begin with the acknowledgment that God is sovereign over everything. In fact, why don’t you do this, beginning today, when thoughts come into your mind that worry you, about the nation, about your future and your kids’ future, go back to the reality, the truth, the Sword, i.e. “The Nugget” that Psalm 103:19 makes clear to us…The Lord’s throne is above the heavens, and He is sovereign over all.

Join us tomorrow, “D.A. + 2″ (The Day After plus 2 Days), when we will continue this journey that we are calling The Day After Series.

Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries

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The Day After (Motivation)

Prayer and the Elections (Romans 13:1)

MOTIVATION

A Few Observations:

  • My memory verse for today (courtesy of “Today’s Verse” from YouVersion) was Proverbs 15:29, “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayers of the righteous.”
  • It doesn’t take but an occasional reader to realize that there was a LOT of praying, this election season.
  • If you’ve heard me preach on “Praying Scripture Back to God” you know that I believe that 1 John 5:14-15 is true, which says that when God “Hears Your Prayer” you HAVE what you have asked of Him.

Here’s my question, “How do we reconcile ALLLLL of the praying that went on prior to yesterday with these two passages above?”

Before you dig yourself into a hole, can I just tell you where the answer is…in Scripture? Look at James 4:3 and answer this question, between you and God, “What was your motivation for your prayers?”

I’m NOT talking about those that are prejudice, take that out of your mind. I’m talking about your motivation for praying. Was it to receive, to protect, to no longer fear? Or was it an attitude of, “Lord, You are in control, in fact Lord, not my will, I’m too often selfish, Your will be done Father, and I look forward to what You choose to do.”

What do you think?

Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries

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