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Homeschooling

I have read many books about planning and organizing home education. I have read article and searched through online blogs and websites for ideas on how to make things run smoothly and what I should and shouldn’t do (especially since this is our first official year of homeschooling).  I have made lists and printed articles and have begun to purchase school supplies and research curriculums and teaching techniques. I have done SO much…and I still feel like there is so much left to do.

It can be so easy to get caught up in all of the planning, research and organizing that we forget the most important part of homeschool planning – seeking God. We are called in Scripture to seek Him first in everything, every area, every aspect of our lives, homeschooling included.

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually” 1 Chronicles 16:11

“How blessed are those who observe His testimonies. Who seek Him with all their heart” Psalm 119:2

 

I have found that lately as I have begun to seek His face more, I have become more at peace in my decisions and it is as if he has directed me towards the things that He wants me to teach. The plans that I had before truly seeking Him on homeschooling have changed a LOT since praying and reading His Word as I seek guidance on what to do, teach and plan. Just because we have an idea on how something should play out or how things should look, doesn’t mean that God, who can see the complete picture, is in full agreement.

It is so absolutely important that we make seeking God the top priority in our homeschool planning. We are bound to fail if we are not putting Him first and seeking to please and to glorify Him in everything that we do. It can be so easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning or the stress of it (as it is for some of you mammas!) It can be easy to be lead astray by the voices of others, and when that happens, we tend to listen to those other people more than we listen to God, and in some instances we do not even go to God for advice at all anymore and become consumed with what friends are doing, what other people are saying and what the internet has to offer.

We must remember that God and His Word should be the first place that we go each time we sit down to plan out homeschooling. Here are a few things that I like to do before I begin organizing, researching or planning anything relating to homeschool.

 

1.) PRAY!!

The most important part of starting anything is to pray.  Ask God for guidance. Open your heart up to Him and ask Him to show you what it is that He wants you to see as you are planning. We need to truly seek Him, and I don’t mean just murmuring a quick few words and then moving on, I mean truly seeking Him and opening your heart and mind up to what He wants to teach you, and what He wants to show you.

When I homeschool I know that I want it to be for much more than simply academics. I am not sending my son to public school for more reasons than simply because they have poor academic quality. I want to raise my son to be a warrior for Christ, to be a man after Gods own heart and to desire and yearn to please and glorify Him as much as I do and even much more beyond that! This should be our first and main focus as parents. Academics comes second to raising young men and women for the Kingdom of God, and how can we possibly do that if we are not spending time with the very person we are trying to teach our children about?

Children follow by example not words, so if you want to raise them to be Soldiers for Christ, then you have to begin on your knees seeking Him each and every step of the way!

 

2.) Be In His Word

We need to daily be in the Word of God, reading, praying, studying and seeking out what it is He wants to say to us through Scripture. It is only through His Word that we can be directed on which path to take and what He wants us to do.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 

In all we do, we need to be completely focused on Him and we cannot do that if we are not constantly in His Word. How can we know how to live for Him if we are not reading the Scriptures to find out what we should and should not do? Knowing God is more important than anything else. More important than which curriculum you are going to use, more important than academics and more important than getting everything “just so.” Without Him we have nothing, and we need to show that through how we live our everyday lives. This begins with reading His Word and knowing what is says, memorizing it and hiding it in our hearts!

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” 

Hebrews 11:6

 

Compare yourself to the Word of God. In a day and age where social media, internet and television dominate, it can be so easy to compare ourselves to other parents who homeschool and think that we are doing a horrible job or that we are missing out on something. The thing is, God has different plans and designs for each family, and just because one family is homeschooling one way, does NOT mean that you have to homeschool the exact same way. God may be leading you down a completely different path. Do not get so focused and caught up in what others are doing that you lose focus on what truly matters – What GOD wants you to do and where He is leading you!

I am praying that each one of you who read this will be blessed and will be encouraged to seek more of what He wants and less of what you want. We need to constantly be crying out “Less of ME, Oh God, and MUCH MUCH more of YOU!”

 

Public School Option

I was reading through the email that I received from The Homeschool Minute, and wanted to share with you, my readers, this short excellent article. I want you to really consider whether or not sending your children off to public school really is an option and I want you to consider what it is that the public school teaches and why it is much more beneficial (not to mention biblical) to keep your children at home with you. Ask yourself what it is that public education REALLY had to offer your children that you cannot offer them at home?

Mercy Every Minute
By : Deborah Wuehler

Sometimes it seems the easiest thing to do would be to put the kids in public school. After all, it’s free, it’s easy, everyone’s doing it, and it would free up your time big time. Maybe your life would be more “comfortable.” And all of that might be true for a short while, but there will be a price to pay eventually, and that could make you extremely uncomfortable for the rest of your life.

What goes on in the governing of, and instruction in, that nice little school down the street is something we can make some comparisons with that will hopefully make you glad you chose to keep your kids home.

Public School
Required to teach humanism, based on atheism: the doctrine that man is supreme in all things; a rejection of God. Textbooks have been revised to take “religion” out at the expense of altering real truth. Revised history and evolution are taught as fact.

Homeschool
Privileged to teach that God upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3) and that He alone is Supreme, and His Word is Truth.

Public School
Teaches hedonism: pleasing self becomes the highest ethical principle. Self-pleasure and self-exaltation is upheld in public school classrooms and curriculum.

Homeschool
We teach children to make it their aim to please God and to be Christ-like in their service to God, their families, their churches and their communities. We teach them to be others-centered.

Public School
Provides unwanted sexual education, expression and a pro-homosexual agenda, partnering with the National Education Association and Planned Parenthood (with curriculum for even the very youngest.)

Homeschool
Allowed to teach the truth that God created the family unit starting with one man for one woman for life, and that children are a reward and blessing and were created by God with His Image stamped on them. Family is strengthened and promoted and even cherished. Sexual education is guided sensitively by the parents as they deem fit.

Public School
Teaches children to tolerate all things except Christianity; prayer is banned; the Ten Commandments are banned; God is banned.

Homeschool
We can teach the Ten Commandments; the Golden Rule; loving your neighbor; prayer, missions, community involvement, and Bible Study. God is alive and well in our homes.

Public School
Peer pressure is causing children to conform to this world and leave the faith of their fathers (even those children raised in evangelical homes).

Homeschool
A loving and safe environment, free from worldly pressures and vain philosophies, providing opportunities for lifelong learning and the retention of their faith.

If you want to know the best place to teach your children, ask yourself which environment teaches Truth, and then keep those children Home Where They Belong.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8

War Against Boys

 

I was reading a really great blog post over at the Ladies Against Feminism blog. In the post they talk about the cultural war on boys in the classroom and what we can do to stop it. The video that they share is great, but as they stated, the one thing the video leaves out is homeschooling. We can do everything in our power to fight against the system that is trying to destroy our boys – destroy our families – but as long as you are handing your children over to the system that is set up to brainwash and indoctrinate them, it is almost futile to continue to fight against it while still participating in it.

That is exactly what the *Cultural Marxists want! They want us to feel as if we are fighting against something, and yet at the same time they are brainwashing us into handing our children over to them willingly!!! We have got to wake up! We are running out of time and the longer we remain in our state of slumber, the worse things are going to get. We need to consider the future for our children and our grandchildren.

The first step in protecting our boys from the anti-masculine culture that we live in, is to homeschool them. As many of you know from reading my previous posts, I am a huge proponent of homeschooling. I believe that homeschooling is not only our biblical mandate and the calling of God for every single Christian parent, but I also believe that it is a necessity in the culture that we live in today. We are not only dealing with the moral and biblical issues of having someone else raise our children but we are dealing with something much more devious and evil.

We live in a culture that hates men, a culture and a people who will do anything in their power to keep our boys from growing up into the biblical men that they are called to be.War Against Boys A culture that says that our boys should be encouraged, if not forced in some places, to play with dolls and other “girly” toys rather than be allowed to play with trucks, guns and action figures like they already have predisposition to love.

 

A culture that not only is okay with, but encourages our young boys to play around with their gender, dressing up like a woman is okay if you want to and if you are made to feel bad about it, well just tell dad and maybe he will put on a skirt to support you.
A culture where if a man acts like a gentleman he is labeled a chauvinist who thinks women are incompetent and lower than himself.

An article was shared in USA TODAY where they have released a new Survey that shows that 60% of American’s view gender lines as blurred! WHAT?!?! What has happened to our Country? I ask that as a rhetorical question, because we already know WHAT happened, we just need to figure out HOW to change it. How can we expect our sons (and daughters) to be safe under the leadership and guidance of the very people who are set out to destroy them? The very people putting in place the curriculum for the public school system and the rules and regulations that our sons are to be guided under there?

Dad wears skirt No, the first step in fighting against the War on Boys is not making changes to the system that is already rigged to fail, the first step is taking our boys back! To make the beginning steps to smashing Cultural Marxism, we need to start by pushing the government and every entity associated with the destruction of our families, as far out of our lives as possible. We need to begin to train, teach and disciple our OWN children and not send them off to the very people we are seeking to take down.

Adolph Hitler once said a very profound thing, “He alone who controls the youth, gains the future.” If we allow them to continue to brainwash and indoctrinate our children, we are destining our Country for failure. They have set out with a plan for destruction and one of the main goals for that destruction is to tear down the family unit and whatever holds it together. If they can take hold of our children, then we are giving them one of the largest tools that they need to tear our families apart. STOP willingly giving in. Stand up and take responsibility for your children! Don’t allow them to do what it is they desire to do.

So yes, I do agree that there is a war on boys, especially in the classroom setting where so much time is spent. I do believe that we need to specialize our schooling to meet the needs and desires that God has placed within our sons and I do believe that has a very important place. But before we can do any of that, we need to take our sons back. They need to be at home, safely with us so that we can train them in what they need to know to go out and battle the evils of this world.

Man Up How can we expect them to live any differently, to be equipped any differently when we are shipping them off for 8-9 hours per day to be trained by those who are fundamentally against all that we stand for? The Cultural Marxists WANT you to believe that you can train your children in the few hours a week that you see them, but that is far from true. Those few hours per week are hardly going to trump the hours upon hours that they are spoon fed lies, propaganda and garbage.

Lets think about our boys and lets be concerned enough about them, their future and their lives in service to God that we stand up and make the decision to keep them at home to teach, train and disciple.

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” ~ Deuteronomy 11:18-19

 

*See this link for more information about cultural marxism.

Jim Elliot

THE SOUL SATISFIED IN CHRIST
by Charles Spurgeon

He who delights in the possession of the Lord Jesus has all that
heart can wish. As for ‘created things’, they are like shallow and
deceitful brooks– they fail to supply our needs, much less our
wishes. “The bed of earthly enjoyment is shorter than that a man
can stretch himself on it, and the covering narrower than that he
can wrap himself in it.”

But in Jesus there is room for imagination’s utmost stretch
and widest range. When Jesus is enjoyed, He puts a fullness
into all other mercies.

The creature without Christ is an empty thing,
a lamp without oil, a bone without marrow.
But when Christ is present our cup runs over,
and we eat bread to the full.

A dinner of herbs, when we have communion with Him,
is as rich a feast as a stalled ox; and our narrow cot
is as noble a mansion as the great house of the wealthy.

Go not abroad, you hungry wishes of my soul– stay at home,
and feast on Jesus; for abroad you must starve, since all other
beloveds are empty and undesirable. Stay with Christ, and eat
that which is good, and delight yourself in fatness.

John Calvin - Idol Factory

God is most Glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him 

John Piper 

Lately these are the questions that have been resonating over and over again in my head; Am I truly satified in Christ ? Is He enough ? If I were to lose everything and everyone around me, would I still have joy and peace, knowing that Christ is All that I really need ? 

I must admit that it is hard to examine myself this way, to look at my deepest motives, fears, desires; and see if God really is all that lies there, or if I am  substituting an idol in His place. God has been showing me in a LOT of different ways over the past year that I have huge idols that have taken His place, and all while showing me this, He has begun to rip those idols from my clenched fingers. These are idols that are so imbedded in my heart that it is almost as if I bleed as He tears them away. It has been agonizing and the more that He puts me in a place where all I am left at is with Him, the more I try and cling to those things that I have put in His place.

What I have learned, in a slow and painful process, is that if you are truly a child of God, He WILL NOT allow you to remain as you are and He WILL NOT allow you to cling to idols in place of Him. As John Calvin says, our mortal hearts are idol factories, and if left to ourselves, we will create one idol after another for ourselves to cling to. The crazy thing about this, is that those of us who are Christians do this knowing that God is the only one who can truly satisfy us and meet all of our wants and needs. God, as an all loving Father, knows that if left to myself, I would destroy myself entirely. So He has begun the process of leading me to a place in my life where He is all that I have, He and nothing else.

I want to learn to lean on Him apart from anything else, I hate these idols that have taken hold in my life, the ones that have risen up without my even knowing that they were present…and yet at the same time I love these idols and it brings me fear to think about parting with them. I don’t rejoice in that truth…but I have to be honest with myself. I hate the sin that I see there, but my flesh at the same time screams out to have it left alone, to be able to hold onto these idols that I have kept so close, so hidden, for so long. I truly feel like Paul in these moments as I battle within myself to kill these idols and to give everything I am completely over to God. I find myself screaming out as Paul did in Romans 7, on my knees and in tears so many times reading over this scripture and praying that God would change my heart and take away this wickedness that is still left behind.

“For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

I want to be truly satisfied in Christ. I do not want there to be anything between myself and Him, I want these idols torn to the ground, demolished, gone forever. I want to be filled with Him and only with Him, so that I can grow to be more like Christ, to live in a manner pleasing to Him, in a manner that would glorify Him in all that I think, say and do.

I know that there are those of you reading this who feel the same way, who are in the middle of spiritual warfare with your flesh and with the principalities of darkness. I understand what you are going through, and I want to encourage you to stay faithful to your first love. Fight the good fight and keep your eyes on Him. I know what it is like to struggle and that there will be days when you just want to give into your sin and your idols, but these things are only temporal and He will give us strength to fight against our idols. Beloved, we can see “…that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness…” (2 Peter 1:3) so if He has already enabled us with everything that we need to fight against our sin and idols, we need not fear or despair.

I have written this post to First of all, encourage those of you who are currently where I am, so that you can know that you are not alone and that there are brethren out there whom God is growing, molding and testing the same way that He is you. Secondly, I am writing this post in hopes that those of you who have been where we are now can offer hope and encouragement to those who are struggling deeply right now and who need the support and love from the brethren. Last of all, I am writing this for myself. I need to stay focused on Christ in the middle of these daily spiritual, mental and emotional battles that I am going through. I want to make sure that my heart and mind stays focused on Him because I know that just as the Hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” talks about, I am so prone to wander from my Lord and to stray far from Him, that I need to do everything within my power to remain with my eyes fixed upon Him and ONLY upon Him.

My precious beloved brethren, let us make it our top priority to work on tearing down the idols of our hearts this week so that Christ can fill it completely. If you haven’t taken time to examine your hearts, please PLEASE do that. Idols = Sin and Sin = Death and Destruction!! Sit down this week with a pen, a notebook and your Bible and begin to write out what those idols are. Pray, seek His face, dig into Scripture and ask Him to reveal these things to you that are causing separation from Him and that are causing you to be less satisfied in Him and more satisfied in the world. It may not be instantaneously revealed to you, but keep your eyes open this week, look for areas where you are prone to sin. Maybe in your marriage you are clinging to your husband more than God, making your husband your idol and what he thinks of you or wants you to do more important than what God wants. Maybe your idol is your children, you put them before God, making them more of a priority than anything else in your life. Maybe it is your home or your finances or your job. Whatever it may be, keep your eyes open and your heart teachable this week, ask God to reveal these areas that need to be changed and be open to change as He directs you in these areas, because He will.

God desires to bring you closer to Himself and the more teachable you are, the less he has to beat and pound you, the more moldable you are to Him, the easier it will be for Him to mold you into the image of His Son. God will NOT leave you as you are if you are His child, so whether He has to pound you or mold you gently, He will do whatever is necessary because as Philippians 1:6 says;

“I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” 

I am going to work on really keeping in the forefront of my mind this week, these verses in Hebrews 12:1-4 and I hope that those of you reading this will work on doing the same;

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin” 

I encourage you to write these verses down, tape them to places in your home where you are going to constantly see them throughout the day; your bathroom mirror, the cabinets in your kitchen, your fridge, the corner of your computer. For those of you who are out most of the day, tape them to the dash of your car, make them a screensaver on your cell phone, set your computer or cell phone to send you reminders every few hours throughout the day to read through these verses. Just these small steps can make a huge difference in your attitude throughout the day and your battle with the idols and sin in your heart. Each time you read these verses, pray that God would equip you with strength to stand up for Him and that He would put Christ in front of your eyes so that all you see is Him. We need to bury His Word deep in our hearts and make seeking Him constantly something that becomes like second nature to us.

I encourage you to share with me some of the things that you are struggling with and how I can lift you up in prayer. James 5:16 reminds us that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Let me know how this post has helped you and what God is currently doing in your life and how He has or is currently helping you to tear down the idols of your heart.

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I just wanted to announce to my followers (though you may be few! haha! :P) that I am now linking my blog to bloglovin’ :) SO….when you get a chance – go link up with me there!!! Thank you!!!

 

 

Biblical Womanhood

 

The Bible is, and has always been, a revolutionary book. It stands like a coastal rock cliff to resist the surging, crashing waves of cultural change. And there may be no clearer demonstration of the Bible’s immutable word than what it teaches about genuine femininity.

The Bible rightly exalts women against cultures that distort, degrade, and debase them. Many in our society tout the sexual and reproductive liberation of women against the supposed oppressive, outmoded strictures of the Bible. I have to ask, “In what way are women truly free? In what way does our culture honor them?” Sure they can vote; sure they have opportunities to compete in the marketplace. But are they really free? Is their dignity and honor intact?

The Bible is, and has always been, a revolutionary book.It stands like a coastal rock cliff to resist the surging, crashing waves of cultural change.

I contend that women are used and abused more today than at any time in history. Pornography turns women into objects and victims of dirty, cowardly Peeping Toms who leer at them with greedy eyes. Throughout the world, women are traded like animals for sexual slavery. In more “civilized” places, men routinely use women for no-consequence, no-commitment sex only to leave them pregnant, without care and support. Abortion rights groups aid and abet male selfishness and irresponsibility, and they “free” women to murder their unborn children. Women are left alone, emotionally scarred, financially destitute, and experientially guilty, ashamed, and abandoned. Where’s the freedom, dignity, and honor in that?

Modern technological advances have enabled the culture to mainstream the degradation of women like never before; but ancient cultures were no better. Women in pagan societies during biblical times were often treated with little more dignity than animals. Some of the best-known Greek philosophers–considered the brightest minds of their era–taught that women are inferior creatures by nature. Even in the Roman Empire (perhaps the very pinnacle of pre-Christian civilization) women were usually regarded as mere chattel–personal possessions of their husbands or fathers, with hardly any better standing than household slaves. That was vastly different from the Hebrew (and biblical) concepts of marriage as a joint inheritance, and parenthood as a partnership where both father and mother are to be revered and obeyed by the children (Leviticus 19:3).

Pagan religion tended to fuel and encourage the devaluation of women even more. Of course, Greek and Roman mythology had its goddesses (such as Diana and Aphrodite). But don’t imagine for a moment that goddess-worship in any way raised the status of women in society. The opposite was true. Most temples devoted to goddesses were served by sacred prostitutes–priestesses who sold themselves for money, supposing they were performing a religious sacrament. Both the mythology and the practice of pagan religion have usually been overtly demeaning to women. Male pagan deities were capricious and sometimes wantonly misogynistic. Religious ceremonies were often blatantly obscene–including such things as erotic fertility rites, drunken temple orgies, perverted homosexual practices, and in the very worst cases, even human sacrifices.

Contrast all of that, ancient and contemporary, with the Bible. From cover to cover, the Bible exalts women. In fact, it often seems to go out of the way to pay homage to them, to ennoble their roles in society and family, to acknowledge the importance of their influence, and to exalt the virtues of women who were particularly godly examples.

From the very first chapter of the Bible, we are taught that women, like men, bear the stamp of God’s own image (Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2)–men and women were created equal. Women play prominent roles in many key biblical narratives. Wives are seen as venerated partners and cherished companions to their husbands, not merely slaves or pieces of household furniture (Genesis 2:20-24; Proverbs 19:14; Ecclesiastes 9:9). At Sinai, God commanded children to honor both father and mother (Exodus 20:12).

Of course, the Bible teaches divinely ordained role distinctions between men and women–many of which are perfectly evident from the circumstances of creation alone. For example, women have a unique and vital role in childbearing and the nurture of little ones. Women themselves also have a particular need for support and protection, because physically, they are “weaker vessels” (1 Peter 3:7 NKJV). Scripture establishes the proper order in the family and in the church accordingly, assigning the duties of headship and protection in the home to husbands (Ephesians 5:23) and appointing men in the church to the teaching and leadership roles (1 Timothy 2:11-15).

Yet women are by no means marginalized or relegated to any second-class status. The Bible teaches women are not only equals with men (Galatians 3:28), but are also set apart for special honor (1 Peter 3:7). Husbands are commanded to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loves the church–even, if necessary, at the cost of their own lives (Ephesians 5:25-31). The Bible acknowledges and celebrates the priceless value of a virtuous woman (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10; 1 Corinthians 11:7).

Christianity, born at the intersection of East and West, elevated the status of women to an unprecedented height. Jesus’ disciples included several women (Luke 8:1-3), a practice almost unheard of among the rabbis of His day. Not only that, He encouraged their discipleship by portraying it as something more needful than domestic service (Luke 10:38-42). In fact, Christ’s first recorded, explicit disclosure of His own identity as the true Messiah was made to a Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26). He always treated women with the utmost dignity–even women who might otherwise be regarded as outcasts (Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 7:37-50; John 4:7-27). He blessed their children (Luke 18:15-16), raised their dead (Luke 7:12-15), forgave their sin (Luke 7:44-48), and restored their virtue and honor (John 8:4-11). Thus He exalted the position of womanhood itself.

It is no surprise therefore that women became prominent in the ministry of the early church (Acts 12:12-15; 1 Corinthians 11:11-15). On the day of Pentecost, when the New Testament church was born, women were there with the chief disciples, praying (Acts 1:12-14). Some were renowned for their good deeds (Acts 9:36); others for their hospitality (Acts 12:12; 16:14-15); still others for their understanding of sound doctrine and their spiritual giftedness (Acts 18:26; 21:8-9). John’s second epistle was addressed to a prominent woman in one of the churches under his oversight. Even the apostle Paul, sometimes falsely caricatured by critics of Scripture as a male chauvinist, regularly ministered alongside women (Philippians 4:3). He recognized and applauded their faithfulness and their giftedness (Romans 16:1-6; 2 Timothy 1:5).

Naturally, as Christianity began to influence Western society, the status of women was dramatically improved. One of the early church fathers, Tertullian, wrote a work titled On the Apparel of Women, sometime near the end of the second century. He said pagan women who wore elaborate hair ornaments, immodest clothing, and body decorations had actually been forced by society and fashion to abandon the superior splendor of true femininity. He noted by way of contrast that as the church had grown and the gospel had borne fruit, one of the visible results was the rise of a trend toward modesty in women’s dress and a corresponding elevation of the status of women. He acknowledged that pagan men commonly complained, “Ever since she became a Christian, she walks in poorer garb!” Christian women even became known as “modesty’s priestesses.” But, Tertullian said, as believers who lived under the lordship of Christ, women were spiritually wealthier, more pure, and thus more glorious than the most extravagant women in pagan society. Clothed “with the silk of uprightness, the fine linen of holiness, the purple of modesty,” they elevated feminine virtue to an unprecedented height.

Even the pagans recognized that. Chrysostom, perhaps the most eloquent preacher of the fourth century, recorded that one of his teachers, a pagan philosopher named Libanius, once said: “Heavens! What women you Christians have!” What prompted Libanius’s outburst was hearing how Chrysostom’s mother had remained chaste for more than two decades since becoming a widow at age twenty. As the influence of Christianity was felt more and more, women were less and less vilified or mistreated as objects for the amusement of men. Instead, women began to be honored for their virtue and faith. In fact, Christian women converted out of pagan society were automatically freed from a host of demeaning practices. Emancipated from the public debauchery of temples and theaters (where women were systematically dishonored and devalued), they rose to prominence in home and church, where they were honored and admired for feminine virtues like hospitality, ministry to the sick, the care and nurture of their own families, and the loving labor of their hands (Acts 9:39).

That’s always been the trend. Wherever the gospel has spread, the social, legal, and spiritual status of women has, as a rule, been elevated. When the gospel has been eclipsed (whether by repression, false religion, secularism, humanistic philosophy, or spiritual decay within the church), the status of women has declined accordingly.

Even when secular movements have arisen claiming to be concerned with women’s rights, their efforts have generally been detrimental to the status of women. The feminist movement of our generation, for example, is a case in point. Feminism has devalued and defamed femininity. Natural gender distinctions are usually downplayed, dismissed, despised, or denied. As a result, women are now being sent into combat situations, subjected to grueling physical labor once reserved for men, exposed to all kinds of indignities in the workplace, and otherwise encouraged to act and talk like men. Meanwhile, modern feminists heap scorn on women who want family and household to be their first priorities; in so doing they disparage the role of motherhood, the one calling that is most uniquely and exclusively feminine. The whole message of feminist egalitarianism is that there is really nothing extraordinary about women. That is certainly not the message of Scripture. Scripture honors women as women, and it encourages them to seek honor in a uniquely feminine way (Proverbs 31:10-30).
Scripture never discounts the female intellect, downplays the talents and abilities of women, or discourages the right use of women’s spiritual gifts. But whenever the Bible expressly talks about the marks of an excellent woman, the stress is always on feminine virtue.

The most significant women in Scripture were influential not because of their careers, but because of their character. The message these women collectively give is not about “gender equality”; it’s about true feminine excellence. And that is always exemplified in moral and spiritual qualities rather than by social standing, wealth, or physical appearance.

And that’s setting the record straight. Far from denigrating women, the Bible promotes feminine freedom, dignity, and honor. Scripture paints for every culture the portrait of a truly beautiful woman. True feminine beauty is not about external adornment, “arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel”; real beauty is manifest instead in “the hidden person of the heart … the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV).

Adapted from Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur 

The_Christian_Martyrs_Last_Prayer_by_leon_gerome

 

The following is a short story that I wrote back in 2006. It is fictional and based off of facts and real life events that occurred for many individuals in other countries who stood up to proclaim Christ and live out their faith. As you read through this, my prayer is that you would lift up your hearts to God, praying for those missionaries and peoples in other countries who are persecuted for their faith, and even at times killed for standing up in Christ.

 


                                                                      “Private Svetonius!” the male voice bellowed, awakening from from a fitful slumber. He say up and looked around, disoriented, covered in a cold sweat. His dishwater blonde hair stuck to his forehead in clumps and his tongue drug across the roof of his mouth like sandpaper. Eventually he realized that he had dreamt the voice, but sleep was too hard to find again, it had hidden itself, like a thief in the night. He stood to stretch his legs, wondering what time it was. He reached into the pocket of his trousers for his pocket watch, but realized that they must have taken that too, for it was gone.

He sat back down on the musty smelling mattress and looked around, he had already committed the room layout to memory. It was a long narrow room, having cold steel walls and a cement floor. The door was made of thick metal, with a small window at the top, one he guessed to be no more than a foot wide and six inches in height. The window was just big enough to illuminate the dirt covered floors and the thick cobwebs in his cell. He buried his head in his hand, and did the only two things that there were to do…pray and think.

Ivan Svetonius joined the soviet army when he turned eighteen, longing for adventure, excited to leave behind the boring lifestyle of a farm boy. What he found was more than freedom, more than adventure, he found a Savior who loved him more than life, who offered freedom from sin and this world, adventure as he sought to know Him more and deeper, and a sense of belonging that he had never known before. This Savior had given His life for Ivan and in return, Ivan promised Christ that if given the opportunity he would give his life for Christ as well. He didn’t realize just how much this would change his career in the Soviet Army. The communist were endlessly calling him to headquarters for talks, attempting to “re-educate” him, to talk him out of his faith in Christ.

The last talk that he had was with Major Moisyeu, though Ivan had been interrogated again and again and again by many others, he had never backed down from his faith in Christ. still Moisyeu was certain that he could solve Ivan’s “problem.”

“Svetonius, have you forgotten to whom you work for ?” questioned Moisyeu.

“No, sir. I work for the Soviet Army.” replied Ivan, “but I serve my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that takes priority over all else.”

“Oh, is that right ? Is this Jesus the one paying you ? Does He outrank even me ?”

“Yes, sir. My Lord does outrank you, for He is the One who dies to pay for my sins. Not to be disrespectful, but I’ve yet to see you do that for me, or anyone else for that matter. And though He is not paying me currently, my riches are being laid up in heaven even as we speak.”

“I am familiar with the Christian teachings, Svetonius, but what does that have to do with being a soldier ? Do you disagree with the teachings of the glorious red army ?”

“No, Sir.”

“But yet you’ll not accept the principles of scientific atheism upon which our entire Soviet State and Army are based ?”

“I cannot accept what I know to be untrue. I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say that there is no God. I cannot agree with this principle. “

“Svetonius, no one can prove the existence of God. Not even priests and pastors agree on this.”

“Sir, they speak of not being able to prove God, but there is no question about knowing Him. I speak with His daily. He is with me in this very room, even as we now speak.”

“So God talks to you ? Hump! I am sorry Svetonius, but your persistence will do nothing for you. However, I have found that men like you often come to your senses with a little discipline.” Major Moisyeu said this while shaking his head in frustration. “You will be placed into a solitary cell for the evening, after taps are played. You will remain in there until you are willing to reconsider all of this talk of gods and heaven.

I hope that you will quickly reconsider and agree to be sensible in this matter. Tomorrow we will plan together for your political “re-education.” You are dismissed”  Moisyeu finished by raising his hand and waving Ivan away.

Moisyeu had expected Ivan to hesitate, to reconsider, to see some sense of doubt or fear in his eyes. Instead, Ivan only nodded his head, squared his shoulders, and walked quietly to the door without a single word.

“Private Svetonius!”

When the soldier turned around, Moisyeu did not see one line of worry, anger or fear on his face. This both surprised and shocked the older man.

“Do not attend dinner with the rest of the men. You are not to eat until further commanded. That is all.”

That night, after the bugle sounded, Ivan was transported to his cell, where he now remained. Ivan began to pray.

“Lord, I place my life in your hands. My heart I give You, Lord, eagerly and entirely. Please take it and make what You will out of it. If it be Your will, help me to make the most of my time here…..” For hours he prayed. Finally, he heard the click of the thick door opening. Light flooded into the room, cutting through the heavy darkness like a knife. Ivan rose, squinting, trying to make out the figure who was standing in the doorway.

“Private Svetonius!” A deep male voice bellowed, a voice that Ivan recognized as Colonel Rouchefoucaulds.

The Colonel walked a little closer, and as Ivan’s eyes adjusted to the light, he could make out the stern features that made up the man’s face. He was middle aged with close cut dark hair, and thick dark eyebrows that made his eyes seem even smaller and more daunting. Ivan was much taller than the man, but the Colonel was built stockier and held himself with pride.

“Have you changed your mind Svetonius ? Are you ready to reconsider this “god” of yours ?”  the Colonel clenched his lips tightly together and furrowed his brows even lower over his eyes as he glared up at Ivan.

“As much as I would love minor comforts, I cannot and will not disown my Savior. No man putting his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God. I will never agree to remain silent about my Lord God. “

“Svetonius, I didn’t want to do this,” growled Rouchefoucaulds turning away from Ivan, “but Moisyeu warned me that you might be this stubborn. Tonight you will be transported to a refrigerated cell, where you will remain for twenty-four hours. If by the end of that time you still are not cooperative, the temperature will slowly be dropped until you do decide to cooperate.”

Rouchefoucaulds began to walk out of the room, then paused and turned back to Ivan.

“Oh, and Svetonius, you are to obey that order in summer uniform. That is all.”

After he left, Ivan sat back down on the edge of the worn out mattress, and began to pray again. This time more fervently than ever before. A bright light suddenly filled the room and as he looked up, he saw and Angel of the Lord in front of him, bright and powerful. Ivan’s heart filled with joy and fear.

“Do not be afraid Ivan, for you have found favor with God. The Lord of Hosts sent me to tell you, ‘I am with you, so do not fear them. As they persecuted me, they also persecute you. But be of great courage for I am with you, even to the grace. Take heart, I will keep you strong to the end.’ “

Then, just as quickly as he appeared, the Angel was gone again, leaving Ivan again in the dark, but his joy was like a fire within him, so unspeakable that he could hardly move. The only thing that Ivan could do was to fall on his face on the cold cement floor and praise God. That was where he was found that evening when the guards came to transport him to his new cell.

This new cell was much different than his previous one. As Ivan stood in the dark and cold cell, he could feel the wind from the vent above the door. Exploring the cell, he found only cold steel walls and a freezing cement floor. He wondered how long he could stay alive in this room. He felt weak and dizzy from lack of food. He was so tired, but it was too cold to sleep. It was too cold in this room to do anything at all except pace back and forth to try and stay warm. He tried sitting on the floor, but it was unbearably cold, and he began to realize that pacing back and forth only brought him closer to the vent above the door. Finally, he found that the only position that would work was to stand leaning his forehead against the wall.

Yet through this all, Ivan’s heart stayed light. He was full of joy and peace and he was completely on fire for the Lord.

For the next two years this was Ivan’s life. He was transported from one cell to another and the torture only worsened. At times he was beaten so badly that he was hardly recognizable, and there was once that he was hung upside down on a ceiling fan by his feet and left there for days until he passed out. There were other times when he would be clothed in a special rubber suit and air would be pumped in until he could hardly breathe. Still another attempt to break his faith, he was sat in a room with a few men who pulled out both his fingernails and toenails one by one.

But through all of this torture a miracle occurred, when the torture was at it’s worst, Ivan began to love his torturers. He pictured each torturer as a future Apostle Paul and in his jailers he saw the potential to be like the jailer in Philippi who became a convert. He dreamt of the day when he would be asked, “What must I do to be saved ?”

Finally, when he was about twenty-one, Ivan realized that his time on earth was coming to an end. He knew that communist Russia was not going to put up with him much longer. He was too much of a nuisance and already hundreds of soldiers had come to Christ while witnessing the strong faith that Ivan had in Christ.

Ivan was transported to a solitary cell, where he awaited yet another interrogation. He spent his time in prayer to God, praying that he would be equipped with the right words to speak. He also prayed for every soldier he knew or knew of, he prayed for his family, friends, and most of all, for his tortures. It was finally announced to him that Major Moisyeu was waiting for him in the interrogation room. When Ivan was seated, Moisyeu began to talk.

“Svetonius, we have given you chance after chance to become ‘re-educated’ to our political background, but instead you have become stubborn and have decided that you will not follow our ways. No amount of discipline we have shown you has proven otherwise. But to show you my mercy, I will allow you one last chance to see my mercy, I will ask you again, will you renounce this so called ‘god’ of yours and these simple ideas, or will you pay the ultimate price ?”

Ivan raised his eyes to meet those of Moisyeu, and did the last thing that Moisyeu expected, he smiled, joy shining across his rugged and bruised face.

“Sir, God is my hope and my refuge, my strength, what He wills, I will. I do not care about my own life. The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the word that the Lord Jesus Christ gave me to do – to serve Him with my whole heart, soul and mind, to bring glory to Him in every possible circumstance and to tell as many as possible about Him. I have done all of those things. “

Moisyeu stared at Ivan for a moment, confused. His brow creased in frustration, not understanding how such a young man could give his life for something that he didn’t even see.

“Very well, Svetonius. The choice was yours. Tomorrow you are sentenced to execution by fire. I want you to be an example to everyone in this Army that this is the result of someone who dares disobey the Glorious Red Army.”

Moisyeu stood to leave, then turned back to Ivan and said, “You have strong perseverance, Svetonius. Too bad you let it go to waste on such foolish notions as these. You would have made one heck of a Soldier, son.”  And with that, he turned and left.

That night, Ivan spent his time in prayer, praying for strength for the next day, but also praising God for His gift of words and the strength to stand firm in Christ, even when presented with the knowledge that he was going to die.

The room suddenly filled with a bright light that almost blinded Ivan. He recognized the Angel of the Lord from years before, standing in front of him. For what seemed like hours he and Ivan just stared at each other, and then Ivan fell to the floor on his face. Finally, the Angel spoke;

“I come bringing a message from the Lord of Hosts. ‘You are pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. I am with you, I will keep you strong to the end. I will you my perfect peace, and joy will fill your soul. My praises will be on your lips to the end. I am with you, do not fear.”

After a long while, Ivan finally lifted his face from the floor and looked around. The Angel was now gone, but Ivan’s heart was full of joy and peace. He began to worship God and praise His Name. The next morning the executioners found Ivan on his face on the floor, hands in the air, praising singing and praising God.

As the guards led Ivan out, everyone there, including fellow Soldier, followed to witness the execution. some were there to cheer, others there to offer support and encouragement. When he reached the place of his execution, he knelt down and began to pray Psalm 31 and Psalm 51, ending with, “Into Thy hand, O Lord, I commit my Spirit. Thou has redeemed me, O most good and merciful God!”

He was jerked up onto his feet from his prayers and tied to a stake with wet ropes. Bundles of sticks piled chin high were placed all around him. Given one last chance to renounce Christ, Ivan replied;

“What error should I renounce ? He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet in the grave. Of this I am certain, that no one has ever died who was not destined by God to do so. Why should I hesitate to go this way when this is the way that God came to me ? For the Gospel I am here with a cheerful disposition and courage, ready to suffer death. What I told with my lips, I am ready to seal with my blood.”

As the fire was lit, Ivan Svetonius began to sing a hymn with such a loud voice that he could be heard over the crackling of the fire. “He shall present my soul unblemished and complete before the glory of His face, with joys divinely great”

Prayer - Is HE Your Desire ?

****NOTE**** These notes and points are taken from the Sermon by David Platt – Desire – Do We Want Him – See sermon included at the end of this posting. 

In the last post we went over the first two points that Pastor David Platt covered in his sermon about desiring God in Prayer. We saw that the ultimate goal of prayer is to mold out desires into those of God’s and to make our will and desires one with His. Before we continue I would like to again review the passage in Luke 11:2-4 so that the verses are fresh in your memory as we continue the following two points.

If for some reason you missed the first post, here is the link so that you can go back and read what was covered, because it is deep and extremely important :

Desiring God in Prayer – Do You Want HIm ? – Part 1

“And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
 ‘Give us each day our daily bread.
 ‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

Luke 11:2-4

                                      3.    Ask God For His Grace – “Forgive Us Our Sins” 

                                                                             There is amazing truth in this point. We often read over this and think, “Yeah, yeah. God forgives my sins” and no one really considers the magnitude of that fact. We have a hearing with God – the Almighty God of the Universe, the One who holds the World in His hands and breathed life into man, we are able, as His Children, to go before Him and seek His grace and mercy. What an awesome thought!

                                                                             The more we walk with God in prayer the more connected with God we become and the more real and literal this fact becomes to us as believers, as children of the Most High. The deeper we come into God, the more we realize our need for His grace as He exposes things in our lives that we never saw before. The awesome thing in all of this is, that as we become closer to Him and He reveals these sins and the wickedness in our lives the more we desire and long to get rid of it because we want to walk the Christ like life and want to be molded to be more like Him.

                                                                              There are two points within this one that I would like to make as it regards the specific way we are to approach God as we seek His forgiveness for sin in our lives.

                                                       1.) We are to experience His grace continually 

                                                                        We are in constant need of forgiveness. There is not a day that goes by that we are not in need of  the continual forgiveness of our Father. It is in this that we are shown that even our best works need to be washed in the blood of Christ because before a righteous King they are but mere filthy rags.

For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Isaiah 64:6 

                                                       This is why we are to go before God over and over again, consistently and constantly, asking Him for His forgiveness. We are driven to go before Him because we realize that we are in such deep need to be washed clean by the blood of the lamb. There is no way we can exhaust the mercy of God by going to Him with our sins and failures, that is exactly what He desires in each of us, a humble and contrite spirit that looks to please Him.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 51:17

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

1 Chronicles 7:14 

                                                  We can boldly approach the throne of grace, knowing that we have an audience with the King and that He offers a well of mercy and forgiveness that will never run dry.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

          2.) We are to experience His grace and mercy specifically 

                                                                                                   It can be so easy to go before God in prayer, seeking His mercy, and rather than praying for specific sins we have in our lives, we want to generalize our sins and sum them all up without laying them out one by one before Him. We need to go before God and ask specific forgiveness for the sins that we are aware of as He brings them to our attention. We go before Him and we say the things that we would be horribly ashamed of anyone else to hear or to know, and yet He already does know, and desires that we come to Him and be specific about the sins we seek to have cast away.

                                                                                                  When we first become regenerated in Christ, we experience the knowledge and freedom of knowing that we are completely forgiven and that all of our sins are cast as far as the east from the west and that God remembers them no more. In a sense, it is a general forgiveness. As we grow in grace though, God will begin to point out areas in our hearts and lives that are sinful and need to be changed, it is those thing that we need to be specific in seeking God about and asking Him to remove from our lives. We desire that God would wash the entire cup of it’s filth and not just the outside of the cup.

                                                                                                 We need to go before God seeking Him and His forgiveness as a child before his father because God is there extending his forgiveness and mercy and compassion to us (thought that does not mean that there will not be discipline that may accompany sinful and wicked behaviors).

                                                                                                We also need to realize that unforgiveness is a sin in our hearts and if we cannot forgive those who have wronged us then we cannot truly be forgiven before God because even if we were to go and ask for forgiveness before God and yet still harbor bitterness in our hearts, it is as if we haven’t asked for forgiveness at all because there is still the root of sin in our lives that we are not willing to give up to God. Letting go of unforgiveness means letting go of all grudges, roots of bitterness and desires for revenge and instead seek to make peace and live a life that shines the light of Christ. If we remember how unworthy of forgiveness we were and yet Christ still died for us, then it may help keep our perspective on straight as we seek to kill all sin in our hearts, including that of unforgiveness because we were a million times less worthy of the forgiveness and blood of Christ than some other sinful human being is of our forgiveness.

                                                                                             So let me ask you, in what areas are you harboring bitterness ? Are there areas in your life where you may be keeping a grudge or anger towards another person who has wronged you ? What about retaliation and revenge ? Do you seek to cause another person harm and pain because you have been hurt by them ?

                                                                                             We are called to not only receive His forgiveness, but to radiate and show His forgiveness so much through ourselves that it makes no sense to the lost world around us. The only way to do this is to spend much time in prayer seeking Him, and much more time in confession before God, on our faces, seeking to have all sin destroyed in our hearts, minds and lives. This is a place that many of us need to spend more time camped out in, because this is an area that is so often neglected.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

(Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

    4.   Ask God For His Guidance – “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” 

                                                                                    We are to come to God as a people who are prone to sin and prone to wander into temptation (as the hymn above states). We are those who are prone to get lost far from God and leave behind His love as we foolishly chase down false idols and temporal pleasures of this lost world.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,  being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James 1:5-8

                                                                                     We see here in this last point that we are to pray because we need Him, we desperately need Him. We need Him to redirect us and to lead us in a way that honors and glorifies Him. We need to be shown the path of righteousness and Holiness and only God is able to do that, apart from Him we are powerless against temptation and we need the power of Christ to protect and guide us.

                                                                                      It is a hard reality in modern day America, yet one we need to come to admit, WE CANNOT OVERCOME TEMPTATION ON OUR OWN. It is as simple as that. The belief that we are able to overcome temptation on our own goes back to the self sustaining attitude that says “I won’t sin like that!” Whether because of the thinking that we are better or beyond that, or because of the belief that we are strong enough on our own to ward off temptation.

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

1 Corinthians 10:12 

                                                                                          There are many who think that there is no harm in flirting around with sin. They play around with this sin and that sin, thinking that it will never go beyond where it is….not realizing the deadly danger that they are in and the urgent need that they have for the guidance of Christ.

                                                                                        It does not simply end though with our need for guidance throughout temptation, but our need for perseverance in the middle of trials. He is the sustenance needed to continue to seek Him in the midst of trials. It is the same power that gave Christ the strength in the garden of Gethsemane to say; “Not MY will but Yours be done” that will come to our aid and give us the strength to say the exact same thing.

                                                                                       It is easy to say that though, we have all been in the middle of those struggles and trials where we want to throw our hands up to God and ask Him “Why ?” There will be many times in the life of a believer where we will struggle with praying that prayer that says “Your will and not my own, Father.” The beautiful thing is that Christ understands and sympathizes with that. If we remember correctly, Christ too agonized in prayer.

                                                                                       The precious thing is that through prayer and seeking His face, God can lead us there, even when we feel like it is impossible. We can ask Him to take us to that place where we are able to say that and He will bring us to that point where we can truly and earnestly say (and mean) “Your Will Be done and NOT my own.” It is not in the triumph but in the trial where the beauty of God in prayer is so much more real and necessary in our lives. It is in those moments when we lean so deeply upon Him and rest in His grace that He begins to draw us closer and into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Himself, as we realize He is all we need truly, and that He is enough.

                                                                                     It is interesting if we take a look back at the Puritans during the 16th and 17th centuries how they had such a deep and profound trust in God. It was they that coined what is now known as the “Valley of Vision” prayers. They saw that it was in the middle of the valley that God gives the clearest picture of who He is and how He guides. Puritans are known in history for leavings some of the greatest legacies of prayer and devotion. I am convinced that it is because they were born in a time period in England where they were trying to bring the church back to what Scripture truly taught and the purity of the Word. Due to this, they were persecuted beyond measure, their homes burned down and their leaders tortured, even having their ears literally cut off. Yet in the middle of it all, they realized and knew what it was for God to lead and guide them, even in the middle of the valleys.

                                                So what then, after reading through all 4 points, is our challenge ? What are we supposed to do with all of this information we have learned ? We as true believers in the body of Christ need to be done away with futile, empty senseless and affection less prayer. This means even at the dinner table! If you really take what you have learned in these two messages seriously, then you will know that this type of senselessness misses the very heart of prayer and what God intended it to be to us. Lets let the desire for what He desires be the secret for discovering what it truly means to pray and then – lets see what He does and how He works in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Do you Desire God ?

****NOTE**** These notes and points are taken from the Sermon by David Platt – Desire – Do We Want Him – See sermon included at the end of this posting. 

“And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
 ‘Give us each day our daily bread.
 ‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

Luke 11:2-4

How many times have we read through this passage in Luke and not even given it a second thought ? We may think; “Oh, yes. That is the Lord’s Prayer” – but often times it does not go far beyond that. Today I would like you to dig deeper into this passage and truly understand the meaning behind what is being said here by Christ and what He is saying about the true format of Prayer.

Let me begin by saying that this passage in Luke is showing us how we should pray and where our desires should be placed. Prayer in the closeness of intimacy with Christ is to ask or request something knowing that only God can fulfill those desires and requests.

  1. Desire For God is the Heart of Prayer 

The point of prayer is to drive us closer into God, deeper into His arms. The point of praying should be because we want God, because we desire Him. We should as true believers have a deep longing and yearning for God because our souls crave Him and there is nothing else on this earth that can satisfy the deepest needs and desires of our heart like He can.

Without this desire, our prayer lives cannot survive. We need this deep intimate desire to draw us closer to Him and to spur us onto wanting a more profound and vulnerable relationship with this God who so sustains and fulfills us like no other can.

2.  Desire For God is the Secret to Prayer 

* Prayer and Desire go hand in hand. There are (in generality) two points that we can use to show how desiring God and prayer go hand in hand.

      1.)   Make Your Wants God’s Wants   

Your main goal, what you seek towards in prayer needs to be the wants and desires of God. You need to have a passion for the things that God has a passion for and a desire for the thing that God has a desire for. Make His wants your wants. In any relationship we can see that intimacy is created by unity of affection – when you each desire the same things and you each have the same yearnings and wants. The same goes of for your relationship and prayer life with God. You need to seek to have your will joined together with His will.

  Then once the above truly becomes what your heart desires it will lead you onto the 2nd point :

        2.)   Ask Whatever You Want    

All too often Christians want to skip the first part of this and jump right into the second part, and then they become frustrated and bitter because God does not seem to be answering their prayers. The problem is that they are forgetting that God is not some magic genie that they can just rub and all of their dreams and wishes would be granted. If that were the case wouldn’t you think that Christianity would be much more widely accepted ? No, the point here is that once you make God’s desires YOUR desires you can ask what you want because what you want will be exactly what He wants and He will answer your requests. Sadly, not many care to know what the desires and wants of God really are because they are radically opposed to the things that many modern day American Christians want and desire.

As I stated above, when coming to God in intimacy, we often come to Him with requests. Luke 11:2-4 shows us 4 primary requests; things that we should be asking God while we are in prayer and conversation with Him. Take note that these things are in line with the above points. When praying the heart and desires of God need to be first and foremost that the front of our minds so that we are setting our eyes on Him and not on ourselves or our circumstances.

    1.     Ask God For His Glory     – (vs. 2 – “Father, Hallowed be Your name”) 

Many times when we read this, we view this as a declaration. Something that we are stating, simply like; “Father Your Name is Hallowed.” But in reality, the point of Jesus saying this here was to point out that this was actually a request. We need to ask that God would make His Name Hallow, not only to you as an individual, but the World around you.

The word Hallow literally means to “sanctify something.”  We as believers are all pretty familiar with the term, Sanctification, but do you really understand what it means to sanctify something ? To sanctify something is the way in which it is made Holy. When we pray, “Lord, Father, Hallowed be Your name” what we ultimately are asking God is that He would cause for His righteous Name to be treated as Holy – to be regarded among every person as Holy.

God is our Sovereign Father. This God who is Sovereign over the ENTIRE Universe calls you child.  This God who calls the stars by name, who has created the mountains and the valleys and seas and the skies – THIS God calls you His own, His son or His daughter. Let that sink in. When you pray to Him, this mighty and awesome Creator, you pray to Him as your dad. How much more intimately should you (would you) pray to Him when you take this into consideration and keeping this at the front of your mind while you pray ?

God is The Holy One. He is completely Unique. He is completely unlike any other. Our prayer should be that God would make Himself know as the One that know one else is like, the one who is Holy – completely set apart from everyone and everything else.

“I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.”

                                                                                                                                       Ezekiel 36:23

                                                                                                             “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
                                                                                                                 The whole earth is full of His glory.”

                                                                                                                                                 Isaiah 6:3

 “For this reason You are great, O Lord God; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” 

                                                                                                                                             2 Samuel 7:22 

God is the Coming King. (Vs 2. “Your Kingdom Come”). Our prayer here should also be that God would bring His Kingdom back to earth. We should have an eagerness and a desire to His coming Kingdom. We should have our eyes set upon Him and should be looking forward to the consummation of that Kingdom. It will be a day when God will finally eradicate all evil from the earth and things will once again be as He intended.

So in this verse we see that the deep point here is that we need to desire that God make Himself known to us. Make Himself known to the World. We must desire that God be known in our lives and to the World as Holy and Great. We need to ask Him to give us that fear of Him that we may treat His name as Holy and Great as it deserves. Our desire needs to be that everyone, everywhere would know the Holiness and the Greatness of the name of God.

We as believers bear this light to the World, we are His way of showing the World His glory and holiness and greatness. We need to remember this as we interact with those around us, especially in the unsaved community. We as believers bear the name of our Father and what we do is a reflection on His name. This should cause us to tremble and seriously think things through before we act in a manner that might trodden upon His Holy and Righteous Name.

So how does this line up with the first two points about desiring that which God desires ? Well it is very evident in scripture that God desires that His name be Hallowed among the Nations, among the World. The whole person of God is inclined towards making His glory known, and because of that, our whole being should be inclined to do the same.

                                                                                                        The Lord is high above all nations;
                                                                                                         His glory is above the heavens.

                                                                                                                                Psalm 113:4 

                                                                                                         

Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

                                 Psalm 96:3

2.    Ask God For His Gifts – (Vs. 3 “Give us this day our daily bread”) 

Nope, this is not meaning what you might think. Often times (as I stated above) we like to think of God providing gifts for us in the sense that He is providing us with things that our selfish hearts desire. Rather, let us think about God providing gifts in the context of   Exodus chapter 16 where we see that God provided for the Israelites. They had needs (real and true physical needs, not the empty “needs” like Television and Internet and brand new name brand clothing or big houses and new cards like we think are essential needs in today’s society) and He provided what they needed to remain sustained. So what are the two points that we see here that are key when asking God to supply us with His gifts ?

     1.)   God Satisfies Our Hunger 

Let us ask a simple (almost ignorant) question. Why were the Israelites hungry ? The common response to that would be, because they have a need and essential desire to be fed to live. But instead of simply stopping there, why don’t we dig a little deeper, looking at this in the context that God is truly the creator of everything. WHY were they hungry ? Because that was the way that God had created and designed them (along with all of humanity). God has created within us a hunger that only He can fulfill, for not only in the physical needs but also in the spiritual.

 2.)   God Sustains Our Faith

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:3 

The reason that God has placed that hunger within each of us is so that we would look to Him to be the one to fulfill and supply all of those needs. He has done this so as to teach us to trust Him to give us what we need and to supply the things that will fulfill us. His purpose in this is so that we would look to Him as our provider and seek for Him to bring those provisions to us. That is why so many feel that aching emptiness within them apart from Christ. There is a black hole that God has placed there that only He can fill. You can seek out earthly pleasures as much as you like, but nothing will fulfill that place where God is intended to be.  We have all sorts of longings and desires; for things like, peace, purpose, intimacy – we need to go to God to fulfill and provide for these things because nothing in the world can fill these longings that were divinely placed inside of each one of us.

” All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.” 

                                                                                                              Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

What we need to see in this verse is that Jesus is saying that we have a need to pray and to ask God to fulfill these things that He has placed within us all. We need to be ever so careful to guard our hearts and minds against the thinking that we ourselves can be the providers for our own hungers by going to the things of this world to fulfill us. The reason that we become so flippant and casual with prayer is because we believe that we can actually do this on our own. The world has tricked us into thinking that we can provide for our own selves because look at all of the things we seemingly already have provided for ourselves.

It is prayer that brings us back to the realization that God is the only provider and that apart from Him we have absolutely nothing and that nothing we have was gotten because of us but because He has provided it all. We need to seek God in prayer, asking Him to deliver us from the the trap of a “self-sustaining” Christian life. It is through prayer that God will begin to change our hearts to help us realize that we don’t need things, WE NEED GOD!

Lose your job ?  GOD IS GREATER

Unsaved Spouse ?  GOD IS GREATER 

Financial Struggles ? GOD IS GREATER

Poor Health ? GOD IS GREATER

Loneliness ? GOD IS GREATER 

Prodigal Children ? GOD IS GREAT

 Fear ? GOD IS GREATER 

GOD IS ENOUGH! He is the one who satisfies our greatest needs. He is our sustainer and our provider, and if you are regenerated in Christ then you are one of His Children and you can bet that He will provide and care  for you. You simply need to come to the realization that He is enough. Period. God is ALL you NEED!’

GOD IS ALL YOU NEED! 

I am going to leave off here for the day and tomorrow will pick back up on the last two primary requests that are evident in this passage. I pray that you have been as blessed and challenged reading this post as I have been writing it.

Please read the 2nd Part of this post here :

Desiring God in Prayer – Do You Want Him ? – Part 2

In the meantime if you would like to actually listen for yourself to the David Platt sermon that I collected my notes from, I will include it under this post. God bless you dear brethren and I pray that you will spend some serious time with God tonight seeking His face and asking Him to make the desires of His heart, the desires of yours. I would love to hear in the comments below some of the awesome ways that God has shown you that He is enough and that He is all you need, and the ways that He has provided for you and your families. :)

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