Tag Archives: prayer

Praying With Patrick

As you wind down from a weekend of celebrating St. Patrick Day, pause for a moment and read a portion of the real St. Patrick’s prayer, one he prayed every day.

May it be our prayer, also.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Christian Unity, Christianity, Faith, Jesus, worship

Now What? (My Post-Election Thoughts)

It’s Over!

For practically a year and a half our nation has been focused on November 8th. First there was all the primary drama. Could Hillary hold off Bernie? Could 16 Republicans ever produce a candidate? From the very beginning it was clear this was going to be an election like no other.

Then came the general election campaign. Talk about twists and turns! To begin with, who would have thought we’d end up with two candidates so fatally flawed? How did either survive as long as they did with all the scandals each had to endure? Totally amazing.

But it’s over, now, praise the Lord! No more media spin; no more celebrities getting naked or offering sexual favors in return for voting for Hillary; no more talk of swing states and the electoral college; and no more talk of things that divide us.

Sorry, I was kidding about that last part.

What Is NOT Over

Sure, the election cycle is over for now, and Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. However, some of the very things that divided this nation during the election will still be sources of discontent in the future.

  • Immigration. Just this morning on my school bus I literally heard African-American teens talking with each other about their fear of being sent back to Africa. One of them said, “Well, if they don’t send us back, they’ll make us wanna go.” If blacks are talking about being sent back to Africa (which is ludicrous), imagine the what many Hispanics are discussing this morning!
  • Nationalism. Many are afraid of America becoming another Nazi Germany. Personally, I believe their fears have little basis in reality. However, there are certainly some who believe America should no longer be a “shining city on a hill.” They want America to cede her strength and position in the world to international authority. Because of this, tension between proud patriots and liberal leftists will remain high.
  • Gender revolution. The LGBTQetc community has enjoyed nearly 8 years of un-restrained success in pushing through their agenda of social change. Now that they’ve had their way for so long, how will a Republican White House, Senate, and Congress now secure the rights of Christian businesses and such without suffering the rainbow wrath?
  • Entitlements. If our national debt is ever going to be addressed, rampant entitlement spending must be brought under scrutiny. But, just like I heard four years ago on my school bus, I heard it again today, just about a different Republican, “He’s gonna take our food stamps away!” Well, if you don’t really need them, and if you’re just selling them, then they should be taken away. However, nobody wants to starve anyone, people! But continue that lie and there will always be tension.
  • Health Care. President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act has been anything but, yet how do we now completely repeal something that completely destroyed everything, and now has so many low-income unhealthy hooked? One way or another, this is going to be a big struggle in the coming months.

Moving Forward

As I see it, this election has done two things: it has proved one thing, and offered another.

First, it has proven that an overwhelming amount of Americans are tired of corrupt government and want someone to do something about it.

The main reason Trump was elected – in my estimation – is that the majority of our people were tired of government going against the will of the people, never acknowledging it is WE who elected them, and it was time for an outsider to flush the system.

To be clear, our system of government does work, it’s just been clogged up and getting worse for a long while. There should be no “political class,” only elected Americans serving other Americans like our founding fathers intended. Trump was elected to get things “flowing” again.

Second, this election has offered the American church a reprieve, a short breather, a small window of opportunity in which to prepare for what will inevitably come in the future.

What concerned many in this country such as myself was the clear and present danger that Hillary Clinton posed toward our freedom of religion. Others have scoffed at my concerns, but they chose to ignore (or interpret differently) the overwhelming evidence of precedent. Looking at the way things have “progressed” in America over the last 8 years, it was easy to see the policy track a Clinton administration would take. In my estimation it would have taken only 5 short years until thousands of churches would have been forced to close their doors due to gender laws, and many pastors would have been forced to either curb their speech, or face fines or jail time. All I did was look at the natural progression of things.

But because Clinton was not elected, the American churches have been given an opportunity to start making adjustments: one example would be preparing for our tax-exempt status being removed. Let’s be honest, barring another great spiritual awakening in this country, the time will come when another president is elected who will find it politically expedient to punish a segment of society that refuses to accept and affirm the gender-bending, sexually-immoral agenda of many on the left. Like Joseph of old, we should be preparing now for the famine to come.

Keep Praying

Some of you made it very clear you were praying before this election. Well, whether you voted for Trump, or not, now is NOT the time to stop praying!

President Elect Trump is not a perfect man, as we know. So, pray that God will make him humble and dependent upon Him. Pray that he will select wise and godly counsel to surround him as he’s forced to make decisions that will affect us all, even the world.

Pray that civility will be restored to this broken and fractured nation.

But above all, pray Psalm 9:20… “Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.”

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Filed under America, politics, the future, wisdom

Time Machine Radio

Would you like to step into a time machine? You CAN!

All you have to do is click on the link below and listen to a recording of the radio broadcast for this coming Sunday, October 23.

Yes, step into the time machine and listen to me preach on the radio in the future!

Click on my handsome picture below (it includes the link), and listen to what I had/have to say about the upcoming biblical response to the upcoming (in the future) election.

I still wear a suit on Sunday morning - because I want to :-)

I still wear a suit on Sunday morning – most of the time – because I want to 🙂

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An Impromptu Invocaton

Last night (Monday night) I went to a political fundraiser, which was also a campaign kickoff meeting. It was for a local mayoral candidate and current Chattanooga City Councilman, Larry Grohn. I went because I was invited by a Facebook friend whom I wanted to meet in person, and also because I wanted to hear what the candidate had to say.

Here in my city we are fortunate to have some good leadership. No matter what political party, most of the people in leadership are decent people with the good of our city at heart. Are they perfect? No. But none are Clinton or Trump, either (thank God!). Nevertheless, I wanted to hear good reasons why I should vote for Mr. Grohn, not for the incumbent.

Upon entering the meeting hall downtown I was greeted by the candidate’s wife. Once I told her who I was and why I was there, she said to me, “The person you need to be speaking to is my husband…let me introduce you to him.” She did, and that led to a very interesting conversation which must have lasted around 5 minutes. Thankfully, some of my questions were answered.

After speaking with Councilman Grohn, I went to the food bar and filled my little paper plate with chicken nuggets, celery, a few little tomatoes, and a cookie. After that I got my glass of unsweetened iced tea, found a seat at a table, and began a nice theological/political conversation with some very intelligent college students.

Shortly before 7 pm, the time when the speaking part of this meeting was to begin, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Someone whispered in my ear, “Pastor Baker,” so I turned around.

“Pastor,” the candidate himself said, “would you be willing to give the invocation tonight?” I don’t know if I looked surprised, or not, but my eyebrows must have raised as I was asked this question. I mean, seriously, who was I that he should come to me and ask me to open up his campaign’s inaugural event with prayer? Yet, what was I supposed to do, say “no”?

“Sure,” I replied. “I’d be happy to.”

“Thank you, Pastor,” he then said. “We want to start things off right, you know?”

“Absolutely,” I said with a nod.

Next, as I stood up, from behind me came the campaign manager. He thanked me for being willing to give the invocation at such short notice, then proceeded to tell me the order in which I was to do what. Then he said, “Say whatever you want to say…if you want to say anything…then pray…it’s up to you, just say whatever you want. Thank you for doing this.”

Yes, I was asked to pray at a political event and was given complete freedom to say whatever I wanted to say. And they didn’t know me from the man in the moon! Unbelievable!

So, when the time came I walked up to the microphone set up in the meeting hall full of people and cameras and introduced myself. The next thing I did was remind everyone of how and why Benjamin Franklin called the continental congress to stop what they were doing and pray to the Almighty for His help. I then said (to paraphrase myself):

“We are just men and women, and none of us are perfect. And just like those men back then at the founding of our nation, we have our flaws, and we need help – we need outside Help. So, let us now call upon Almighty God.”

I then prayed, beginning with a quote from Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice…” I didn’t pray a prayer of blessing for the candidate, nor did I attempt to give the impression that my prayer was a form of support. Actually, the prayer that came out of me felt like it was not even me speaking, for it was full of authority and “otherness.” I felt like I was in the presence of the One who did not take sides, but was the One before whom all knees must bow. Therefore I said:

“If this man for whom these people have gathered here to honor be a righteous man…may all things done here tonight not be for our aggrandizement, but for Your glory…in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Sunday night some dear folk at another church, Mt. Carmel Baptist, had me come forward, after I spoke, and laid hands on me and prayed. They prayed, among other things, that God’s hand of blessing would be upon me, and that His calling upon my life would be evident – a “man of God.” Then, last night, something about me caused a political candidate to trust a total stranger to give the opening invocation at such an important event.

That, my friends, was a God thing.

 

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Daily Devotions: Definitions and Suggestions

How would you define “doing your devotions?”

What is it, exactly?

Honestly, I am a preacher/pastor who has a difficult time doing my “daily devotions.” Frankly, I am even unsure the term “devotions” is actually appropriate. Something about it often strikes me as magical, prescriptive, or simply religious.

You see, I’m the type of person who sorta recoils from scripted religious stuff; I don’t even like responsive reading in church! Whenever a preacher says “Repeat after me…” in a sermon, I usually don’t. Therefore, when I go into a Christian book store like Lifeway and see shelves of “devotionals” and devotional aids – many written by the most popular authors of the day – I feel like I’m being pandered to, the object of some Nashvillian marketing team.

Whatever happened to the promise from Jesus that the Comforter would come and guide me into all truth (John 16:13)? What about the discernment of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14)? Do I need the products of publishing elites to draw me closer to the Lord? Do I really need to read the polished words of some slick conference speaker to better understand the Word of God? Of course not.

But there does need to be some regularity of personal conversation with my heavenly Father. There needs to be regular communication with Jesus. How else could one develop a personal relationship with Someone if they never spent some one-to-one time together?

But again, how does one do it without it becoming mechanical? How does one keep it from becoming routine? How does one do it without letting someone else do all the work? How does one do it without it becoming just one more thing to check off the list?

I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to regularly spend time with God; yet, you may have some way that works best for you. Would you mind sharing it?

 

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I Saw and Perceived. Will You?

θεωρέω

The word is theōreō (θεωρέω), and it is translated as “saw” and “perceive” in two different verses in the book of Acts.

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw [G2334] the city wholly given to idolatry. … Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I perceive [G2334] that in all things ye are too superstitious. – Acts 17:16, 22 KJV

The Apostle Paul had not only been a spectator, but had discerned and considered the idolatrous condition of the city of Athens, and it broke his heart. That led him to take action.

Pray for Us

When I was in Zimbabwe I was able to see for myself what was going on. I was able to discern the painful conditions under which the people live. But even more, my heart was broken and convicted, for here was people who had a determination to survive, no mater what. Here was a body of Christians who were determined to share the gospel on one hand, and work for better conditions with the other.

Today more protesters concerned with unemployment (over 80%) and government corruption went to the streets, court approval in hand, yet were arrested by police. The people live in poverty because of leader who will not listen to the people of his country, and they are growing weary.

But what did I hear from the people I met? “Pray for us,” they would beg. “Pray for peace, for a peaceful election, and a change for good.” They want better relations with Western countries, not North Korea or Russia. They don’t want a coup, but fair and honest elections. But things are getting very tense, so they beg for us to pray.

Real People

It’s one thing to read about it in the news, but something totally different when you know the people involved. I went there…I met them…I lived and ate with them… The people of Zimbabwe are real people, a people of whom many love God and want Zimbabwe to be a Christian light on the continent of Africa.

I saw. I perceived. Now, will you take just a moment and look a little closer? Would you please intercede for this nation and our fellow believers caught in the middle of such turmoil?

All they want us to do is see them, and pray.

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Moving Into November

This guest post was written by Susan Irene Fox. Her blog is appropriately called Susan Irene Fox. If nothing else, go to the about page on her blog and read her story of coming to faith in Jesus…good stuff! You’ll be impressed with Susan’s openness and sincere desire for Christ.


Okay, I watched both conventions: the RNC and DNC streaming live into my living room.

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I heard the speeches, saw the videos, watched the family members, the protests, the name-calling, and the calls to action. And while I’m concerned for our country, I’m mainly concerned for those of us who call ourselves, “Christians.” If we’re Christians, then we must follow Jesus who is the Christ, the Messiah, right?

Jesus said “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” He said these were the two most important commandments. Ah, but he also commanded us to love one another, to love our enemies and to obey all these commands.

Often we are at odds with each other over these commands, preferring to moralize at each other over who belongs in God’s kingdom.

“We believe in grace but not enough to do any serious damage to the walls that separate us from others.” Jud Wilhite

In his book, Generous Justice, Tim Keller explains this division:

“In Western society, these sets of concerns have often been split off from one another. Each of America’s two main political parties has built its platform on one of these sets of ethical prescriptions to the near exclusion of the other. Conservatism stresses the importance of personal morality, of traditional sexual mores and hard work, and feels that liberal charges of racism and social injustice are overblown. On the other hand, liberalism stresses social justice, and considers conservative emphasis on moral virtue to be prudish and psychologically harmful. Each side, of course, thinks the other side is smug and self-righteous.

And consider what Jud Wilhite said in his book, Uncensored Truth

“We believe in grace but not enough to do any serious damage to the walls that separate us from others. But when your eyes have been opened to see [the] thousands of people the religious world has considered too far gone [to] actually experience transformation through faith in Jesus, you can’t help but be forever marked. God’s grace is beyond my small-minded boundaries and categories. His love … consistently amazes me. His mercy – astounding.”

How do we do unify? How do we stop the infighting? How do we rise above the constant swirl of hate, lying and division that suck us down the drain accusation and blame?

  1. Resist from watching or listening to talking head rants.
  2. Refrain from responding to or repeating social media rants, sarcastic comments and cartoons.
  3. Abstain from posting your own rants, sarcastic comments and cartoons that violate Matthew 5:21-22.
  4. Pray for our leaders whether we voted for them, intend to vote for them or not.
  5. Wear the label, “Follower of Jesus” above any other label.

 The glory you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one; I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one so the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:22-24)

Generous Justice, © 2010 Timothy Keller, Riverhead Books, Penguin Group, NY, NY

Uncensored Truth, © 2010 Jud Wilhite

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