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 

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

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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Praying Psalm 119:145-152, It’s Emphasis

As Prayed Mar 27, 2012 during the Ranger Joe’s God and Country Show

Click Here to View All Psalm 119 Prayers

Psalm 119:145-152

Emphasis                 You are near, O Lord

Today’s Prayer

Lord, because Your  commands are true and You are near (Psalm 119:151), we come to You when we are anxious, we come to You with petitions and prayers and thanksgivings, and we trust You to give us a peace that transcends every bit of our understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). Forgive us Father, as a nation and as Your church for not giving thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and cause us to remember that You are sovereign over all (Psalm 103:19).

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