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 James & Sermon/Mount (35 of 43)

As prayed during the Ranger Joe’s God and Country Show

Click Here to View All of the James Prayers

James 4:13, 15-16 (NASB)
13  Come now, you who say, “ Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” … 15 Instead, you ought to say, “ If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.

Matthew 6:25 (NASB)
25 “ For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Oh Father, forgive us as a nation and as Your church for the great sin of boasting, and its corollary, worry. Father, we are either boasting or we are worrying, because in both sins, we have placed OUR will above Your will. Cause us Lord, to live a life focused on the spiritual, and not the flesh (Romans 8:6). In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, the One who came that we might have life abundantly (John 10:10b), amen.

Common Thread Ministries

Praising God Amidst Brokenness

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This post is taken from
a prayer of Paul’s that we often miss.
The HCSB entitles this section of the chapter
A HYMN OF PRAISE

Romans 11:33-36 (NASB)
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Paul has just spent the previous 86 verses discussing Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, and what that means, to them and to the Gentiles. In much of these 86 verses, you hear Paul’s heart breaking for his people…and it is in THAT context that he praises God.

APPLICATION…Can you praise God when your heart is broken…whether it be for your loved ones, or for your nation? Can you praise God when you are broken through being laid off, being divorced? Can you praise God when brokenness comes because of sin that you have let get out of hand? Maybe it is something that you “hid” from God, that you lied to a loved one about? Believe me, praising God is so much bigger than we realize. It has a place in every one of these situations.

By looking at Paul’s prayer can you tell where Paul received his comfort from? After 86 verses of lamenting, I think Paul puts down his pen and opens his heart to receiving comfort from God. And how does he receive it, this comfort? I believe that it is in Paul knowing the wisdom and knowledge of who God is, which Paul gained from spending time in His Word (remember verses like 2 Timothy 4:13). I believe that this allows Paul to see the depth of God’s riches. In recognizing afresh, all of this about God, Paul realizes that he doesn’t need to have all the answers, because God’s judgments (or decisions) are unfathomable to our finite brains. He acknowledged that no one can know the mind of God, and certainly, no one can “counsel” God or give Him advice. Verse 35 uses a phrase that in English comes out a bit awkward, Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? I think a better way to say this is, “Do you think you can give God something He would then be beholden to you over?” Paul finishes with basically saying, “Look, this is all about God!”

So, recognizing that due to circumstances, any circumstances, you are broken. I want you to pray Paul’s prayer with me, using your own words where appropriate, and applying it to your brokenness. These verses (Romans 11:33-36), prayed, might sound something like this:

Father, the wisdom and knowledge gained from Your Word confirms for me the depth of Your riches, and Lord, they are too wonderful, too overwhelming to me. So often I want to know and figure out Your mind, but thank You that not only can I not know Your mind, but no one can give You counsel. You know my situation Father, so much better than I do, there is nothing I can offer You that would cause You to owe me anything, and Lord, I do NOT want that responsibility. You are sovereign overall and Your throne is above the heavens (Psalm 103:19). I praise You that Your sovereignty means that all things, all circumstances, including this difficult one in my life, are not a surprise to You, it was seen by You first and authorized in Your personal plans for my life. And so without any hesitation, and with perfect trust I can say that this difficulty is from You, through You and unto Your Glory, forever and ever. Father, I do not understand my plight, but I thank You that You are in control. It is THAT wisdom and knowledge of the riches You have given me, through Your Son, even in the midst of my difficulty, that allows me to approach You in praise, in the midst of my brokenness. Lord, I praise You for I don’t need to know exactly how You plan to work, I don’t need to give You “advice” about my situation for I trust You. In fact it is foolish for me to even think that You owe me any explanation. I trust and know that You work all things out for the better (Romans 8:28), Amen and Amen.

 

May I end with a couple of reminders?

  1. I’m not saying, “Don’t ask God to take away your difficulties.” It is natural to do that, and even Paul did…three times! I’m not saying that there is ANYTHING special about asking three times. Paul could have asked only one time, or ten times, or more. My point is this, at SOME TIME he stopped asking!
  2. Also, Philippians 4:6-7 gives us a “formula” if you will, to receive peace. It says, you come to the Lord with what? It says, “with prayer , petitions and thanksgivings…” The next time you are anxious about ANYTHING, would you seriously consider carrying a piece of paper with you, and start writing the things down that you can give thanks for, on behalf of your difficulty? You will be surprised the things the Lord lays on your heart.

When I was in Kenya a couple of months ago a new friend of mine, stood up on the last day I was in her village. She said, “Last night, I was lying in bed, my leg was hurting and I started talking to God, ‘I said Lord, I don’t like what that Muzungu said, but I know it is in Your Word, so will You show me what I can give thanks for?'” She smiled and then her eyes teared up, and she said, “There were a thousand things I could give thanks for.”

My friend, praise Him! Praise God that you can give thanks and praises for difficulties in your life. And friend, thank the Lord that I didn’t lecture on what the Bible says about the “benefits” that come from difficulties in our life. That is a whole other post!

Mark S Mirza
Common Thread Ministries
Mark@CTMPrayer.org
@CTMPrayer

Common Thread Ministries

How to Use The Armor of God

ArmorGodTitlePic

 

This week a friend of mine and I were talking about the Armor of God and his view was pretty typical of what I hear in churches. While I don’t “take exception” to the view I believe that the use of the Armor is much more effective when we change our understanding of what it is, and how, I believe, Paul expected it to be understood. Namely, I DO NOT believe that the Armor is something that we “do.” I believe that the Armor is what we have in Christ. In fact, I would go so far as to say that each piece of the Armor is a facet of who Jesus is in my life. I cannot claim originality on that statement, as a variation of it comes from RayStedman.org.

Here’s the way most people describe the first three pieces of the Armor:

The Belt of Truth has to do with acknowledging that the Bible is true. Let me make this real clear, okay, I ABSOLUTLEY believe that this is true, that the Bible is completely true, I just disagree that this is Paul’s meaning here.
The Breastplate of Righteousness is our call to be righteous. Again, I completely agree with this statement on its own, I just do not believe that this is what Paul meant.
Our Feet are Fitted with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace is our injunction to go out and share the gospel. Again, I fully believe that. But in the context of this piece of the Armor, I don’t think that Paul is saying this.

So you get the point. Again, I don’t want to be disagreeable, I just want to share with you another way of viewing, and to me, a more effective way of using the Armor.

One point of clarification (perhaps disagreement) that I need to make, has to do with the order of the Armor. I hear teachers explaining the Armor by beginning with the helmet and working their way down to the shoes, “Because it is an easy way to remember it.” But when we do that we take it out of the order that, I believe, is Holy Spirit inspired, and will directly affect its usefulness for you.

So with all of that being said, this morning, as I was in the Word, I recognized a battle in my heart and mind beginning, and it had to do with purity of mind, purity of thoughts. What I will do below is first, give you what I believe each piece of the armor is, for us as Christians, and then my prayer this morning, putting on the Armor.

But let me be clear, restating this point again. I do not believe that the armor is “something that we do” as each piece of the Armor is a facet of who Jesus is in my life, which means that this (these facets, this Armor) is “what I have in Christ.” In fact, this keeps in sync with the book of Ephesians where the first half of Ephesians is what we already have in Christ, and the second half of Ephesians is how we live, because of what we already have in Christ. The Armor is broken down the same way. The first three pieces are what we already have in Christ and the second three are how we live, because of what we already have in Christ. Another time we can look at the verbs, but do note, that the verb describing the first three pieces of the armor is “having” meaning this is something that you ALREADY have. So when Paul was saying “Put on the Armor” he was NOT SAYING put on something that you do not have on. Again, this discussion is for another time as it is outside the scope of this post.

I want to give you short, to the point statement for each of the pieces of the armor. And then afterward I will give you my entire prayer as I put on the Armor, and in the process, dealt with the attack of satan (not capitalized by personal preference).

Belt of Truth
“You are my truth, so it is in You that I trust.”
Breastplate of Righteousness
“You are my righteousness. Victory is based upon what You have already done.”
Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace
“You are my peace, so I stay in prayer and await Your peace, even though I am in the midst of battle.”
Shield of Faith
“You are my shield, and so Lord, by faith, I trust You to deal with each fiery dart.”
Helmet of Salvation
“You are my helmet, the hope of my salvation. You are working all things out for the better (Romans 8:28) so I look forward to what today holds, the good and the bad.”
Sword of the Spirit
“You are the Sword, these are Your Words that I have been able to trust in.”

—————————————————————–

And here is the full text of my prayer this morning (including my journaling tags) as I put on each piece of the Armor:

7/1/2014, in prayer, As I submit myself to You (James 4:7) Lord, what the Armor represents to me is my confidence in You, as I specifically deal with purity of my mind today.

Belt of Truth
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my truth, so it is in You that I trust, and not me.”
Breastplate of Righteousness
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my righteousness. Victory is based upon what You have already done. What Your Son did 2000 years ago.”
Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes from the Gospel of Peace
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my peace, so I stay in prayer and await Your peace, even though I am in the midst of battle.
“And Ohhh Lord, I have received such great peace from You just now. I trust You for the grace today Lord, to make sure that when I do not have peace, I realize that it is because I have strayed from focusing on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:6). Oh Lord, thank You, that even now, You have given me that peace as You always do.
Shield of Faith
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my shield, and so Lord, by faith, I trust You to deal with each fiery dart. I trust You to do something different with my brain, by having those distractions of the evil one, by Your Shield, and in faith, be my motivation for returning to You in prayer. I also trust that I will never know all of the fiery darts that came my way, because You stopped them.
Helmet of Salvation
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are my helmet, the hope of my salvation. You are working all things out for the better (Romans 8:28) so I look forward to what today holds, the good and the bad. Oh I praise You Lord for this peace and confidence, and excitement for this day. Praise You Lord!”
Sword of the Spirit
7/1/2014, in prayer, “You are the Sword, these are Your Words that I have been able to trust in. Paul calls them the Words of Christ (Romans 10:17). Lord because they are Your words I have been able to trust in them. It is Your words that I’ve been able to have confidence in. It is Your words, your Nuggets, that have guided me in this time of prayer. Thank you for the Sword of the Spirit, Your words Lord.

By the way my friend, satan fled around the end of my prayer regarding the shoes of peace, but I recognize, only for a more opportune time (Luke 4:13) which is why I need to be vigilant, knowing that the roaring lion is just waiting to eat me alive (1 Peter 5:8). I wrote the part of this paragraph that precedes this sentence in the middle of my praying on the armor. Now that I’m done, I can report that the evil one returned a few times, but in each case, he fled again each time I submitted to God. And I submitted to God by taking those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), and by not giving them a place (Ephesians 4:27). One could also say, that my mind became renewed (Romans 12:2), from where satan wanted it to go, as I focused on the things of the Spirit, rather than the flesh (Romans 8:6). And what was, and is the result…Peace baby, peace!

And according to Romans 8:6, and the whole record of Scripture, that is EXACTLY as it should be. Focusing on the things of the Spirit, rather than the difficulties that the world the flesh and the devil throw my way give me life and PEACE, praise the Lord! And how is all of it “activated?” By my deeds? No! By faith (1 John 5:4). By faith in what I ALREADY have in Christ.

I hope this has been helpful to you. I do apologize for its length though.

Mark S Mirza
www.CTMPrayer.org
@CTMPrayer

Common Thread Ministries

Praying Psalm 119:81-88, It’s Emphasis

As Prayed on Mar 15, 2012 (Ranger Joe’s God and Country Show)

Click Here to View All Psalm 119 Prayers

Psalm 119:81-88

Emphasis                 Waiting on Your word

Today’s Prayer

Lord, waiting on You in the midst of spiritual battles demonstrates our true hope in You (Psalm 119:81). But the truth is Lord, we are often impatient  to go the route You want us to go (Numbers 21:4). So Father, we ask again, that You forgive us as a nation and as Your church for forgetting that Your word says You have ALREADY rescued us from the evil one’s persecution (Psalm 119:84) for You allow us, because Christ is our peace, to stand in the midst of spiritual warfare, and stand in peace (Ephesians 6:15).

Praying Psalm 119:41-48, It’s Emphasis

As Prayed on Mar 8, 2012 (Ranger Joe’s God and Country Show Radio Program96.1fm KBUE, Columbus GA)

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Psalm 119:41-48

Emphasis                 There is Liberty in Your word

Today’s Prayer

Father, we cry aloud for liberty in our country. We think we have liberty in our churches. We look for liberty in our relationships, but Lord, the only true liberty is in Your precepts (Psalm 119:45). Lord we are like the prophets and teachers of old who would dress needs, wounds, mortal wounds, as if they were not serious, saying “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14). Father, forgive us for thinking that liberty comes from hearing what our itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). We know this only leads to guides, to teachers who mislead us (Isaiah 9:16) and blind guides that lead us into pits, Oh Father, give us liberty by giving us the grace to turn from them, these blind guides (Matthew 15:14).

Praying Psalm 119:161-168, It’s Key Word

As Prayed on Feb 29, 2012 (Ranger Joe’s God and Country Show Radio Program96.1fm KBUE, Columbus GA)

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Psalm 119:161-168

Key Word                Stand

 Today’s Prayer

Lord, thank You that I can stand and rejoice (Psalm 119:162) even though the evil one harasses me (Psalm 119:161). Father thank You for the armor, especially the shoes Lord, that allow us, in the midst of spiritual battle, to stand in peace (Ephesians 6:15). Father forgive us as a nation and as Your church for thinking that we stand, on our own, because of ANYTHING “good or great” inside of us. Father, bring us to our knees, so that we will hate and abhor ALL falsehood in ourselves and then change our heart to love Your instructions (Psalm 119:163).

Praying Psalm 119:161-168, The Stanza

PRAYING PSALM 119

1 Stanza of 8 Verses per day

Ranger Joe’s God and Country Show

Psalm 119:161-168
Key Word                Stand
Emphasis                 Your words give great peace
Application              I obey Your commands, for all that I do is before You

Today’s Prayer

Shin

 161 Though the evil one harasses me,
        my heart stands and trembles only at Your word.
 162 I stand and rejoice in Your word
        like one who discovers a great treasure.
 163 I hate and abhor all falsehood,
        but I love Your instructions.
 164 I will praise You seven times a day
        because all Your regulations are just.
 165 Those who love Your instructions, Your words,
        have great peace and do not stumble.
 166 I love to see You rescue me, Lord,
        for I obey Your commands.
 167 I have obeyed Your laws,
        for I love them very much.
 168 Yes, I obey Your commandments and laws
        all that I do is before You.

 

 

It Is Well With My Soul – Is It? – Really?

Peace, Are You Kidding?

I was reading today, the cover letter from Ken Ham (http://www.answersingenesis.org/) of their 2011 Annual Summary. He was making the point how the Christian church is compromising, blurring the differences between Christianity and the world, relative to accepting millions of years, which is “undermining the Bible.”

Immediately upon reading that I saw an email from a friend who posted this song which includes and a brief history of the song) from YouTube, “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYP–c2LTfg).

The sad truth is, since “truth” really does exist, the church, when compromised, cannot say, with the late Horatio Spafford, “It is well with my soul” because it isn’t!

The God of the universe, the One who spoke the words and the worlds LEAPT into existence is the ONLY One who can give you peace! I wonder if the reason I meet so many people in the Christian church that are scared to death of death, is because they really do not know the creator of the universe, as their Savior.

Did you know that there is a formula for peace in scripture? It begins by recognizing that God is near, even when you are anxious. We’re told to speak to the Lord about it, AND to search for/find reasons to give Him thanks. Yes! That’s right! Give Him thanks for the very thing that you are anxious about. Of course I’m talking about the last 4 words of Philippians 4:5 and then all of verses 6-7. What happens at the end of verse 7? Peace! Not just peace, but PEACE! The kind of peace, I’m sorry, the kind of PEACE that garrisons your heart and your mind…the kind of peace, I mean PEACE, that goes way beyond your understanding.

The God of the universe, the One who spoke the words and the worlds LEAPT into existence, if He really did that, OF COURSE, He can give you peace…in the midst of ANY situation. The compromising of scripture, the undermining of the Bible, has incredible consequences. Realize it! And then let the Lord direct your heart. Believe what the Word of God says…ALL of it!

So here’s how I’d challenge you to pray when you are anxious and need peace:

Lord, as I have a sense of anxiety, I am reminded of The Truth, Your Truth Lord. The Truth that You are the Creator of the universe. Lord, You spoke the words and the worlds leapt into existence. You are the God whose throne room I enter now. Lord, Your word says that I can enter boldly, but on a day like today, when I am anxious, and I need peace, I merely come in wanting to jump up into Your lap and crawl up into Your arms. Thank You Lord that I can do that, Yes, THANK YOU Lord that I can do that! It doesn’t matter what is going on around me, You are the God of the universe! You are the Creator! You are the One who shields me. My problems do not have to flee, in fact they may not! It doesn’t matter! You are the One who is already in the process of giving me peace. Thank You Lord! Thank You Lord.