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

Godiva-Amsterdam

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 

Prayer Shaming

Nairoi Background

My conservative friends won’t like this but I completely agree with my Liberal friends when they argue “Prayer Shaming.” I think they’re right … not for the same reasons of course, but I think they’re right. We should be ashamed of our prayers.

Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal Op Ed this weekend entitled “The First Amendment Needs Your Prayers” was an interesting read. But what caught my eye was the phrase “Prayer Shaming.”

Since I’m careful not to write about political issues, not because I don’t have strong political beliefs, I do, but because I believe that most Christians take politics in the wrong direction. So if you don’t mind, let me take from this political article the phrase, “Prayer Shaming” and apply it to Christians’ prayer lives. Forgive me, but in a “backdoor” sense I may actually MAKE the point for those that denigrate praying.

Let me first state why I want to stay away from the politics of this article. None of the Christians I know would say that, “Their Salvation is in politics, but,” I would add, “Many of them certainly act like it!” Now don’t get me wrong I believe that every Christian, as good stewards, should vote and should vote their conscience. And I think that ALL of them should be allowed to vote, including “young earthers” like me, regardless of what Neil Boortz says.

But here is the “Prayer Shaming” issue from my perspective. In the church we SHOULD BE ASHAMED of our prayers. And here is why, “Our focus on praying is, on WHAT WE WANT, me, me and I, I.” And I’m sorry but I do not see that in scripture. What I see in scripture Henry Blackaby wrote so well of when he said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Find out where God is moving, what He is doing, and get on His side.”

Our unbiblical praying is constantly focused on giving God advice. I’d rather you just get down on your knees to pray and close your mouth to let Him talk to you. I love Leonard Ravenhill’s famous quote, “Some of the best times I have in prayer is when I say absolutely nothing!” Remember, God doesn’t need your advice. He is the One who spoke the words and the worlds leapt into existence.

One of the talk show hosts has coined the phrase, “Shut up and sing” referring to these great musicians who spend too much of their time talking about politics. I completely agree with her but I would also include us Christians into the mix and I would say “Shut up and listen” when it comes to our praying. We might find, much to our disappointment, that God is more interested in you thanking Him for, and really loving somebody that you vigorously disagree with (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Now don’t be grumpy at me I didn’t write those verses.

Maybe if you listened to God instead of working yourself up into a frenzy because of what you see going on in our world, which I agree has numerous problems, but maybe if we listened to God more we would find that He wants us to engage those we disagree with, not for the purpose of changing their mind, but developing a relationship with them and eventually introducing them to Christ if they don’t know Him.

Here’s the bottom line that I see in the churches I speak in:

WE’RE FIGHTING THE WRONG BATTLE! And because of that fact alone we should be ashamed of ourselves.

The battle we waste our time fighting is the battle of trying to get what WE WANT! We are too busy giving God advice, telling Him how He should run the cosmos. We need to spend more time with our lips zipped shut listening to God, He doesn’t need our advice! What He wants are men and women and boys and girls who follow His Son … and I would add, following Him down a path we cannot go without listening clearly to Him.

My first novel called The Pray-ers (www.ThePray-ers.com) addresses the issue of “Troubles” in our lives through the prayer lives of three prayer heroes. They are from three continents and from three historic eras. In the book we find Thales, the nephew of Epaphras (Colossians 4:12) and Alexander Rich, the childhood friend of D. L. Moody and Dr. Dale Riley the current era pray-er hero handling problems the way scripture directs. In the book you will see them praying about troubles by listening to God and the scriptures.

But you don’t need my book to learn how to pray, just zip up your lips and listen to what God is saying to you.

 

Mark S Mirza
Founder, Common Thread Ministries
Author of “The Pray-ers”
www.CTMPrayer.org
www.ThePray-ers.com

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

Common Thread Logo

American First, Christian Second

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.”

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ALWAYS Pray A.C.T.S.?

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

 

Here is my new book Mark's New Book, Praying Psalm 119

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Laid Off?!?!?!

Friday Morning In AtlantaA friend of mine would begin this day with, “Happy Friday Brother Mark!” And it is, a happy Friday…but will it be for everyone? This photo is what the day is beginning like here in Atlanta…it’s a beautiful happy Friday. But what if you’ve just been laid off? I started to write this story from the perspective of the person who isn’t hurting financially, and then revised it to those who are, and then I realized that the same principles of scripture apply to both!

You see, yesterday a friend of mine texted me that his wife was laid off. This post is an email to him, I’ll call them John and Jane.

John, thanks for texting me about Jane. I appreciated your words that you, “…have total faith God will provide. We want Him to lead us as He wills…” I know you and Jane, so I know that is what’s in your brain. My concern for you is what’s in your heart? In other words, what are you living? And what will you two live tomorrow? Here’s why I ask this John, there are principles in the Word that tell us how to “live-out” what we say we believe, and that is where the rubber meets the road. So let me just, gently, lay out three principles that you can help Jane with, okay?

The First is WORRY — Psalm 103:19 says, “His throne is above the heavens and He is sovereign over all.” Dr. Stanley has told us at our men’s prayer meetings that when he learned the meaning of this verse, he stopped worrying. He says, that once in awhile something will tweak his brain, but he doesn’t worry. When I speak I like to give an example of a scene in heaven that does NOT occur. God is standing on a cloud looking down onto earth at us, and then He looks closer…and closer…and closer. Then He calls over Michael and Gabriel and He asks, “How did that happen?” John, the principle is that because that scene in heaven NEVER occurs, her getting laid off isn’t an accident, it didn’t catch God by surprise. John, your wife doesn’t need to worry.

The Second is ANXIETY — Did you know that scripture tells us that we do not need to be anxious? In fact, the same passage that tells us this tells us how to receive peace…it gives us a “formula” for receiving peace! Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to “not be anxious about anything,” and of course, to “come to the Lord with prayers and petitions” BUT it adds another attitude that we are to come to the Lord with, when we are leaning towards being anxious. It not only says come to Him with “prayers and petitions,” but with thanksgivings also. That’s right! We are to come to the Lord, being thankful about our situation! In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to the thankful for everything. Why? Because this is God’s will in Christ Jesus for you! Now hear me…God is saying that (see above) because Psalm 103:19 is still true, because that scene in heaven does NOT occur, this is NOT an accident to God…the evil one DIDN’T slip one past the God of the universe. What’s the principle? It’s similar to the first. Remember the definition of faith? “Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 in the NIV/1984)? The second principle is to give thanks. You really can give thanks to God for this situation, not because you like it, but because you know (by faith, even though you do not see the future) that He really is in control…you KNOW it!

The Third is the UNKNOWN — When satan “loses” the battle of making Jane anxious, because she will not worry, but will in fact, give thanks to God, he (satan) will come back to her with something like, “that’s all well and good, and Mark may be right that you do not have to worry, but let’s just think about the future, okay? How are you going to pay the mortgage next month, or when your severance runs out? How are you going to buy groceries? You probably want to start thinking about which bills you won’t be able to pay.” Sound familiar? That’s what the evil one does. When he fails in one area he moves into a different area. Let me “up-the-ante” here John. Today is the first day after Jane has been laid off, please, Please, PLEASE, do not let her focus on, “Oh My God! I need to get my resume out in as many places as possible…today!” This is what we tend to do and it is wrong! It is wrong because it is us, our brains, trying to figure out God’s will for our lives, BEFORE we’ve even sought Him. So then the question comes up, “But how will I know if He’s talking to me?” Great question and there are a number of answers in scripture. Let me just focus on one of them…1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace…” (NASB). Here’s the principle…Until you have PERFECT peace, you do not move forward! Here’s why, in Proverbs 21:1 we read that God directs the hearts of kings. If He can direct the hearts of kings, He can direct my heart in spite of any anxiety that may be trying to force itself upon me. Really, this is the essence of trusting God…as opposed to yourself. There is another argument, which usually my, and I say this lovingly, my “control-freak” friends postulate, namely, “I have to get a job so I’ll throw my resume out and let God open the doors He wants.” John, this is just “worry” and “anxiety” in a different form. Let me say this properly. This is NOT trusting God, rather, it is us saying, “I don’t trust God enough so I’m going to help Him.” Here’s why I make this point. Too many times God opens doors, NOT for us to go through but TO TEST US. To see if we will go through a door because WE WANT TO rather than the door He wants us too. Remember the principle, “No peace, no move!”

Interesting isn’t it, all three of the principles above lead us to peace…or focus on peace. Is that an accident? I don’t think so, you see, the third peace of the armor, “your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (NIV/1984) tells us that Jane can go through this time in her life with peace. Because she has accepted the Gospel of Christ, she can go through this time in peace…believe it or not! And that, my friend, is your role…helping her, by lovingly showing her these principles, to go through this time in peace. As you and her do this, it will actually be an exciting time! Where you two see God move, showing Himself faithful to you. That’s what He wants to do. That’s what He always wants to do, but we mess it up by worrying, getting anxious, focusing on the unknown, and God is sitting there saying, “Trust me…” (Psalm 143:8)

I love you my friend. I hope this is helpful.

For those of you that are interested, we have the following tools:

Praying Psalm 119 CoverPrayers from Psalm 119 and prayers from the Book of James

 

 

 

 

GBC 2012 Annual Meeting LogoGBC Prayer Initiative and our weekly prayers

 

 

 

Ranger Joes God and Country Show LogoDaily Radio Spots

 

 

 

And of course my new bookMark's New Book, Praying Psalm 119

 

 

 

In His Name, with great thanksgivings,

Mark S Mirza

By: TwitterButtons.com

 

Laid Off!!!

Friday Morning In AtlantaA friend of mine would begin this day with, “Happy Friday Brother Mark!” And it is, a happy Friday…but will it be for everyone? This photo is what the day is beginning like here in Atlanta…it’s a beautiful happy Friday. But what if you’ve just been laid off? I started to write this story from the perspective of the person who isn’t hurting financially, and then revised it to those who are, and then I realized that the same principles of scripture apply to both!

You see, yesterday a friend of mine texted me that his wife was laid off. This post is an email to him, I’ll call them John and Jane.

John, thanks for texting me about Jane. I appreciated your words that you, “…have total faith God will provide. We want Him to lead us as He wills…” I know you and Jane, so I know that is what’s in your brain. My concern for you is what’s in your heart? In other words, what are you living? And what will you two live tomorrow? Here’s why I ask this John, there are principles in the Word that tell us how to “live-out” what we say we believe, and that is where the rubber meets the road. So let me just, gently, lay out three principles that you can help Jane with, okay?

The First is WORRY — Psalm 103:19 says, “His throne is above the heavens and He is sovereign over all.” Dr. Stanley has told us at our men’s prayer meetings that when he learned the meaning of this verse, he stopped worrying. He says, that once in awhile something will tweak his brain, but he doesn’t worry. When I speak I like to give an example of a scene in heaven that does NOT occur. God is standing on a cloud looking down onto earth at us, and then He looks closer…and closer…and closer. Then He calls over Michael and Gabriel and He asks, “How did that happen?” John, the principle is that because that scene in heaven NEVER occurs, her getting laid off isn’t an accident, it didn’t catch God by surprise. John, your wife doesn’t need to worry.

The Second is ANXIETY — Did you know that scripture tells us that we do not need to be anxious? In fact, the same passage that tells us this tells us how to receive peace…it gives us a “formula” for receiving peace! Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to “not be anxious about anything,” and of course, to “come to the Lord with prayers and petitions” BUT it adds another attitude that we are to come to the Lord with, when we are leaning towards being anxious. It not only says come to Him with “prayers and petitions,” but with thanksgivings also. That’s right! We are to come to the Lord, being thankful about our situation! In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to the thankful for everything. Why? Because this is God’s will in Christ Jesus for you! Now hear me…God is saying that (see above) because Psalm 103:19 is still true, because that scene in heaven does NOT occur, this is NOT an accident to God…the evil one DIDN’T slip one past the God of the universe. What’s the principle? It’s similar to the first. Remember the definition of faith? “Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 in the NIV/1984)? The second principle is to give thanks. You really can give thanks to God for this situation, not because you like it, but because you know (by faith, even though you do not see the future) that He really is in control…you KNOW it!

The Third is the UNKNOWN — When satan “loses” the battle of making Jane anxious, because she will not worry, but will in fact, give thanks to God, he (satan) will come back to her with something like, “that’s all well and good, and Mark may be right that you do not have to worry, but let’s just think about the future, okay? How are you going to pay the mortgage next month, or when your severance runs out? How are you going to buy groceries? You probably want to start thinking about which bills you won’t be able to pay.” Sound familiar? That’s what the evil one does. When he fails in one area he moves into a different area. Let me “up-the-ante” here John. Today is the first day after Jane has been laid off, please, Please, PLEASE, do not let her focus on, “Oh My God! I need to get my resume out in as many places as possible…today!” This is what we tend to do and it is wrong! It is wrong because it is us, our brains, trying to figure out God’s will for our lives, BEFORE we’ve even sought Him. So then the question comes up, “But how will I know if He’s talking to me?” Great question and there are a number of answers in scripture. Let me just focus on one of them…1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace…” (NASB). Here’s the principle…Until you have PERFECT peace, you do not move forward! Here’s why, in Proverbs 21:1 we read that God directs the hearts of kings. If He can direct the hearts of kings, He can direct my heart in spite of any anxiety that may be trying to force itself upon me. Really, this is the essence of trusting God…as opposed to yourself. There is another argument, which usually my, and I say this lovingly, my “control-freak” friends postulate, namely, “I have to get a job so I’ll throw my resume out and let God open the doors He wants.” John, this is just “worry” and “anxiety” in a different form. Let me say this properly. This is NOT trusting God, rather, it is us saying, “I don’t trust God enough so I’m going to help Him.” Here’s why I make this point. Too many times God opens doors, NOT for us to go through but TO TEST US. To see if we will go through a door because WE WANT TO rather than the door He wants us too. Remember the principle, “No peace, no move!”

Interesting isn’t it, all three of the principles above lead us to peace…or focus on peace. Is that an accident? I don’t think so, you see, the third peace of the armor, “your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (NIV/1984) tells us that Jane can go through this time in her life with peace. Because she has accepted the Gospel of Christ, she can go through this time in peace…believe it or not! And that, my friend, is your role…helping her, by lovingly showing her these principles, to go through this time in peace. As you and her do this, it will actually be an exciting time! Where you two see God move, showing Himself faithful to you. That’s what He wants to do. That’s what He always wants to do, but we mess it up by worrying, getting anxious, focusing on the unknown, and God is sitting there saying, “Trust me…” (Psalm 143:8)

I love you my friend. I hope this is helpful.

For those of you that are interested, we have the following tools:

Praying Psalm 119 CoverPrayers from Psalm 119 and prayers from the Book of James

 

 

 

 

GBC 2012 Annual Meeting LogoGBC Prayer Initiative and our weekly prayers

 

 

 

Ranger Joes God and Country Show LogoDaily Radio Spots

 

 

 

And of course my new bookMark's New Book, Praying Psalm 119

 

 

 

In His Name, with great thanksgivings,

Mark S Mirza

By: TwitterButtons.com

 

Praying James 5:10-11

As Prayed May 28, 2012 during the Ranger Joe’s God and Country Show

Click Here to View All of the James Prayers

James 5:10-11

Lord, thank You for the examples of saints who have suffered with patience. Thank You for the example of Job, and the outcome in his life that came from You. Forgive us Father, as a nation and as Your church, especially in the West, for thinking that when difficulties come our way we should NOT be experiencing them. Lord, cause us to thank You for them, for they are Your will for our life (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and cause us Lord to be very compassionate and merciful, just as You are with us. And cause us Lord to accept what You bring our way. In the Name of Your Son, who suffered with great patience, amen.

By: TwitterButtons.com

Praying Psalm 119:49-56, It’s Application

As Prayed April 10, 2012 during the Ranger Joe’s God and Country Show

Click Here to View All Psalm 119 Prayers

Psalm 119:49-56

Application              Even in affliction Your Word comforts me

Today’s Prayer

Lord, it is especially in affliction that I need you. In fact, it is the promises in Your word that comfort me (Psalm 119:50). But thank You for the other examples in scripture, like Paul rejoicing and praying and giving thanks always, for everything (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and all from a prison, Lord forgive us as a nation, and as Your church, for thinking that difficulties and afflictions, are something to stay away from. Lord change our hearts to embrace difficulties, by finding things to be thankful for, in the midst of them, in the midst of those difficulties (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

 

By: TwitterButtons.com