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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

His Feet

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me.'" Matthew 18:1-5

Children are very special to God. I am reading "Too Small To Ignore" by Wes Stafford. It is an excellent book so far. He talks about how God treasures children and sees them as a gift. As believers, we are encouraged to humble ourselves as children. I found this explanation online at gotquestions.org on why Jesus uses children as an illustration for His disciples: "A young child is destitute of ambition, pride, and haughtiness and is therefore a good example for us. Children are characteristically humble and teachable. They aren’t prone to pride or hypocrisy. Humility is a virtue rewarded by God; as James says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10)...How does a child receive a gift? With openness, honesty, and unbridled joy. That type of happy authenticity should be a hallmark of our faith as we receive God’s gift in Christ."

I found it interesting in the first chapter how Wes Stafford talks about the spiritual battle being fought for children. I had never pondered some of the things he mentioned. It made me realize just how important it is to pray for our children, other people's children, and orphan children. Reading this book, and others on adoption and orphans, tugs at my heart. I see all the attention and love that our children get on a daily basis and my heart breaks for the millions of children around the world who don't have that in their lives. 

God has been laying it on my heart to pray and live boldly. I have seen God answer some bold prayer requests this last year. As I have read testimonies of believers in China and the Middle East, I'm convicted. They pray boldly and they take God literally. Some of their stories sound as though they have popped right out of the Bible. I feel like that is what we are missing in the church in America. We read God's Word and see amazing things like believers caring for one another and there not being any need, and then I look around and see us, God's church, living lives that are just like the world and not fulfilling the great commission (making disciples, caring for the orphans and widows, etc). How can we be salt and light if we don't live and act different for the world? I think it's time for us to be bold and not be afraid to take a huge leap of faith. Too many times I know that I've ignored the prompting of the Holy Spirit because I've either talked myself out of it and made excuses, or I've listened to others talk me out of it.

I was listening to Francis Chan's message from Moody Founders week 2012, which was a powerful message, and I loved this conversation between Francis and his family as they were getting ready to move back to the United States after living in Asia for some time. "'What do we do? It's been such an amazing journey. I'm just scared that we will be sucked back into this comfortable, easy life because we can and we're going to leave this life of adventure.' Francis Chan's wife responded, 'Whatever we do you guys, whatever happens, let's not let people talk us out of things this time. We get in the scriptures and we get convicted about things and then the moment someone hears about something we want to do, they try to talk us out of it and sometimes we listen. We gotta stop listening to that. There's a time we have to stop listening to that and listen to what God's Word says. Let's go for it, let's do it!'"

That is the kind of the boldness I'm praying for...the kind that doesn't make sense to the world, the kind that obeys the prompting of the Spirit and ignores the nay-sayers, and the kind that realizes that my time on earth is short and I'm here for one purpose - to bring glory to God. I love this other quote from Francis Chan, "Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy. Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers." 

John 15:18-19 says, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." 

1 John 2:15-17 also says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever."

Charles Spurgeon once said, "Live in such a way that men may recognize that you have been with Jesus." I want others to see Jesus in my life. I'm tired of making excuses and being comfortable. I think God is calling His church to wake up and arise. It's time for us to get on our knees, to pray boldly, and to live out the gospel in the world around us...even if it means being persecuted. We need to pray for each other that we would be bold. In the New Testament, people were amazed at Peter and John's boldness. You know what their secret was? Prayer. The church was praying for them. Even Paul asked for prayer to be bold in Ephesians 6:18-20 "praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak."

In his book, "The Attributes of God", AW Tozer said this, “Contemporaries relate that hearing Martin Luther pray was "an experience in theology". They said the reformer began praying with such humility that he could be pitied, only to proceed with such boldness before God that the human hearer would fear for him.” This is the type of boldness I want to have in approaching God's throne on behalf of others. It is also the boldness I want to live out in my life. Our time on earth is short. We are but a mist. Our lives belong to God and we are to be pointing others to Him and bringing God glory. 

So I'm starting here. I have a few bold requests I'm making before the throne of God and I'm asking you to pray boldly with me. I know God may choose to answer differently then I am praying, but I also know that God hears the prayers of His people. Let's be open and honest before God and make our petitions.

Prayer Requests:

1. Brouwer V. is a three year old boy with a brain tumor. His family attends the church where the girls take homeschool music class. He has a huge MRI coming up on Friday. I'm boldly praying that his tumor will be completely gone and that God will get all the glory. I'm also praying that the testimony of his faith in God, even at such a young age, will impact the doctors and nurses around him and lives will be transformed. I'm also praying for a peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7) for his parents as they head into Friday. I know how hard it is to wait for the test and results.

2. Salvation of family members. I'm praying boldly on their behalf that God will open the eyes of their heart to see their desperate need for Him.

3. I'm praying for a spiritual revival in the church in America. I'm praying that we have a proper, Biblical view of God; that we repent of our waywardness; and that God raises up His church to be a beacon of hope to our lost and dying world.

4. I'm praying that Christians will open their hearts and their homes to orphans (foster kids, safe families, adoption). We are so blessed in America. I hear of families with 10, 11, 12 kids who keep saying "yes" when God calls them to action. I pray that we would all be willing to say "yes" and not be afraid of what the world or even other believers think. Let's stop listening to the excuses and say, "Let's do this! Let's be God's hands and His feet." 




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