Thursday, October 06, 2011

House of Prayer or Den of Thieves?

Luca Giordano, Christ Cleansing the Temple
Matthew 21:12-17:Jesus intends for His House to be a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7). But there are defilers in the Temple, “but you are making it a den of robbers” (Jeremiah 7:11). As God watches your life, watches us, what does He see (Jer. 7:11)?

What is hindering you from completely pursuing an intimate relationship with Christ? Are your attentions distracted? Is it busyness? Is it religious activities? Do you have a divided heart? What are you doing that is crowding the Lord out of your life (Jer. 7:13)? Why are you doing it? What would you do differently if you knew Jesus was in the house? Do you run around like Martha in a hectic blur and find yourself farther and farther behind? What did you choose yesterday that cannot be taken away? (Luke 10:38-41. Notice Jesus’ teaching on prayer immediately follows in Luke 11).

What is hindering our congregation from completely pursuing an intimate relationship with Christ? Are our attentions distracted? Are we too busy? Have we made religious activities our idols? Do we have a divided heart? What is our church doing to crowd the Lord out of our congregational life (Jer. 7:13)? Why are we doing it? What would we do differently if we knew Jesus was in the house?

Busyness and sin robs us of intimacy with God.  While we think we are doing what is worthwhile, we are really only piling higher and deeper the wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12-15) of activities that God never ordained for us, which were never God’s idea.
Could you make a commitment to give Him a little more time in prayer? Praise Him, read over a passage, and pray it back to Him. Charles Spurgeon prayed, “Thou has made me; be pleased to new-make me. I am thy work; complete me. I am thy harp; tune me. I am thy child; teach me.”

Miss Martha Franks

Southern Baptist missionary to China, Miss Martha Franks, witnessed the mighty Shantung (Shandong) Revival which began in the late 1920s. When she retired to the US in 1970, God used her for 25 years to call the church to walk in the Spirit-filled life. This is how she greeted each day:

"I find it necessary for an unclouded, joyous walk with God each day and for victories in my own life and in the lives of others, and for much ‘fruit bearing’ (John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22), to make an oral declaration each day, in the secret of His presence. By doing so, I recognize that each day again there is a battle between God and Satan. I must decide and declare on whose side I am, just as a soldier daily salutes the flag, declaring his allegiance and submission to its laws.

The declaration is this:

“The blood of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, cleanses me now from all sin – by Thy grace!
Today I am wholly Thine, O Lord – wholly on Thy side – All I have and am is Thine and I do not want the devil to have a particle of part in me. This is my decision, so do Thou keep me from all evil.

All my love is Thine – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – all others I love in Thee – Thou loving through me.

Christ lives in me. In all things today, Lord, have Thine own way! Hold o’er my being absolute sway! Fill with Thy spirit till all shall see – Christ only, always living in me.

And now may the government of all my circumstances today, the work and all lives entrusted to me far and near, be again upon Thy Shoulders, O Christ (Isaiah 9:6-7) and wilt Thou do wonderful things for us all today – because Thy name is Wonderful! Now again I cast every care upon Thee, because Thou (not me) wilt care for me. I thank Thee.

Now wilt Thou speak to me!

After this declaration I yield myself to the Spirit for worship to God and His intercession through me for others, and for any instructions or guidance He may desire to give me. Then I read my Bible and get from Him a ‘living Word’ for that day, which is Life and Strength for me and for others. All during the day I wait on Him – in my spirit – for His guidance as to what to do next, or as to how to proceed in difficulties and problems that come up unexpectedly. Following this guidance – given by His still small voice – always brings His victories and wonder-workings – to our joy and His.