Victor Font http://www.fontlife.com Personal Reflections Sat, 06 Sep 2014 13:53:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Experience True Happinesshttp://www.fontlife.com/blog/experience-true-happiness/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/experience-true-happiness/#respond Tue, 08 Apr 2014 03:45:04 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2336 Experience True Happiness

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.—Psalm 84:11–12

One of life’s hardest lessons is learning to trust the Lord with the smallest details of our lives. It’s a lesson that can take years to accomplish, if it’s ever fully achieved at all. As human beings, we want to be in control over our own lives and we’ll go to great lengths to protect and preserve that control. But the reality is that there is very little that we can truly control. There are so many external influences that impact the direction our lives take that it’s literally impossible for us to control anything except the free will choices we make on a daily basis. Choices such as what to wear, what to eat or to sin or not to sin. Sin is always a choice.

And while our own personal choices can make for a good or bad life, it’s the external influences that can really send us reeling. Take the recession for example; which I’m not convinced is over. Did anyone of us have any control over the circumstances that caused the recession? Did the recession impact all of us in some way? How many of us lost our jobs? What about mandatory health care insurance? Or gun control? Or some of the other hot political issues of the day? Do we have any control over the way these issues may impact our lives some day? No, we don’t!

Our lack of control over the circumstances that impact our lives isn’t just isolated to the political arena. What about the weather and other natural disasters? I live in a tornado area. I had to spend over $2,000 last year to remove downed tees and repair property damage because of the wind. Insurance wouldn’t cover it because the house wasn’t damaged. Could I control the circumstances that caused the damage? Absolutely not! All I could do was watch and pray as I observed the trees start to topple and cascade across our yard. It was completely out of my control.

I lost my last full time job in information technology because of the recession at the end of 2009. Despite my numerous computer skills and talents and applying for several thousand jobs that I am qualified to do, I have not been able to find another full time job since. Did I have any control over the job loss? No, none whatsoever! Do I have any control over the hiring decisions that have kept me out of work? No, none whatsoever! Did these decisions impact my life and those of my family? Absolutely!

Over the last several years we’ve watched our bank accounts erode to almost nothing. We’ve been reduced to a 1-car family and have to carefully coordinate our activities. We’ve cut our living expenses to the minimum and done everything within our control to do what we can to survive through these tough economic times. We’ve fervently prayed as we asked God to provide for our bills, which He has always done—sometimes miraculously. But we still have questions that eat away at us. Will God provide me with another full time job? He gave my wife a job just as the unemployment got cut off last December. Will we eventually lose our house because we can’t afford to pay the mortgage? Does He still want us to live in the Triangle area? What is God’s will for our future? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but there is One who does. That is God and God alone.
When things are going great in our lives, when we’re making good money, eating good food and enjoying the finer things in life, we often forget that God is the One who is truly in control and the provider of the things that we’re enjoying. Instead, we reflect on our own self-satisfaction and ambition over the great job we’re doing and the material things we’ve accumulated, just like the rich man in Luke 12:16-21.

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.—Luke 12:16–21

What does it mean to be “rich toward God?” From this parable it’s obviously the key to true happiness. Money, power and material things—the things that many of us think can make us rich in this life—are all temporal, meaning that they exist only in this world. But if we’ve trusted Jesus as our Savior, we have a life that extends way beyond this world. It extends throughout eternity. Sure, we can accumulate these things and think that we’re happy and in control of our lives. And when we have enough or more than enough, as the rich man in this parable, then we can retire in style. But then we discover that the final event that we have no control over visits us. We die and all that we had now belongs to someone else. This is what happened to the rich man. His problem is that he didn’t include God in his plans.

To be rich toward God, means that we’ve learned to place our trust in Him and in Him alone to control the circumstances of our lives. It means that we’ve learned to focus on putting God above our material things. It means that we’ve learned to love people above our pleasures. And it means that we look towards eternity as our true retirement home. Sometimes it takes losing everything, or almost everything, before our vision sharpens enough to see the truth of our weakness. Apart from Christ, we are nothing but dust. It is only by placing our trust in Him, that we can begin to experience true happiness.

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/experience-true-happiness/feed/ 0
The Christmas Refrigeratorhttp://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-christmas-refrigerator/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-christmas-refrigerator/#respond Wed, 25 Dec 2013 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2168 refrigerator.jpgMany families all over the world will open their Bibles on Christmas Day and read aloud the story of the birth of a baby boy from Luke Chapter 2 in praise of the Savior who gave us the greatest gift of all—Salvation! This is the season when we typically pause and reflect on the blessings and trials we experienced during the year. My family and I have no doubt received many blessings, but it’s also been one of the most difficult years for us trial-wise that we can long remember.

I have not had a full-time job since I was laid off due to the recession in 2009. I’ve been working some short-term IT contracts to pay the bills, but my last contract ended in July. I’ve not been able to land IT work since. I’ve applied for over 700 jobs. If one more person tells me I’m over-qualified, I think I’ll scream. I even had one person tell me that since I write IT books, I must not have a lot of real hands-on experience, just theoretical knowledge. I didn’t even know how to respond to that one.

We started a publishing business in June 2012, but if you’ve ever started a business yourself, then you know how long it can take to start producing a regular income. Our daughter is in college—an expensive college, and we’re determined to do everything we can to keep her there. As bleak as things may seem at times, God is providing tremendous blessings through it all. You may not see them as blessings, but to us, nothing could ever be greater.

So far with His help, I’ve published 9 print books and 8 eBooks for 17 books total. I’ve authored nine of the seventeen books. The last two eBooks that I wrote are adaptations of sermons that I’ve preached either at the Durham Rescue Mission or assisted living facilities. The series is appropriately called, The Message Series. Each book concludes with a clear, strong Gospel message. If you count the eBook downloads and the preaching opportunities God has given me over the past month and a half, I’ve presented the Gospel to over 600 people!! That is an amazing blessing that can only be orchestrated by God’s hand.

Waiting for God to respond to our prayers can be difficult. We’ve been praying faithfully for employment and sometimes it just seems that God is silent. But at other times, He’ll answer prayers so fast that it’s mind numbing. He did that for us this week when He responded to a supplication in a blazingly fast manner.

On Friday December 20, our 18 year-old refrigerator bought the farm. My wife gets up earlier in the morning than I do to make coffee. I’ll join her later over a cup where we’ll do our devotions together and pray to start the day. That morning, shortly after starting the coffee, the circuit breaker for the refrigerator blew. I came down and reset it. Everything seemed to be working fine and we didn’t think much more about it until late in the afternoon when the kitchen started to stink like an electrical component had been fried. The smell was coming from the refrigerator. It was still running, it was cold and the food was frozen. It was too late to call anyone to check it, so we let it go for the night and prayed the smell would dissipate by morning.

Were we ever wrong! By Saturday morning, the whole house stunk. I ran downstairs to find that the frozen food had defrosted. There was a huge puddle of sugar-free frozen chocolate pops at the bottom of the freezer. The compressor was still running, the fans were still blowing, but it just wasn’t cold anymore. I knew I had to call a repairman to find out what was going on. A couple of hours later, he pronounced the refrigerator dead. The defrost heater had shorted and burned into the evaporator coils melting them and burning the freon. That was the smell! It was burning freon. The estimated cost to repair the damage is $1,100.00! This is money we just do not have sitting around right now. Our best and only alternative is to turn to God in prayer and wait for Him to answer. We didn’t know how long we’d be without a refrigerator. We only knew we had to trust Him for the answer, but we still needed to prepare in case the answer was delayed.

Sue had done a big shopping for the holiday on Friday. We had a lot of food that now had to be cooked and/or given away. Both of us immediately thought of a dear elderly woman who had fallen onto hard times. We’ve been praying for her regularly and called her and asked if we could bring her some of the food before it spoiled. Yes, she needed it. We loaded a bunch of it into the car and drove the 25 miles to her apartment on the North end of Raleigh. We told her the story of the refrigerator and she asked if she could share our need with her church’s “Angel Recycle” program. She attends one of the largest churches in Raleigh, almost 5,000 members. Church members who purchase new appliances donate the ones they’re replacing to the recycle program to be given to families in need. We definitely qualify so we agreed to let her submit our name, not knowing if this is God’s way of providing for us or not.

It didn’t take long for the answer to come. Sunday evening we were visiting a friend’s church to watch a Christmas program that he had written. My cell phone kept vibrating in my pocket. When the play was over, I saw that I had a text message from our sweet friend saying that someone wanted to give us a 36″ refrigerator. She was getting a new one on Monday, heard of our need and offered it to us—for free!! Praise the Lord!! He answered are prayers.

Now the challenge was to get it to our house. I don’t know anyone that I could call on a Sunday night who could help get it to our place on Monday morning. So we prayed again. I knew in my heart that if God wanted to give us this refrigerator, then He had already worked out the details about how He was going to get it to us. When the new refrigerator was delivered to our benefactor, she asked the delivery men if they would bring us her old refrigerator. They agreed to do it for a very low cost. God provided again. So in the course of just a few days, our old refrigerator died, God gave us a new used 24.9 cu.ft. model, and He had it delivered and set up. What a mighty God we serve! The delivery men even carted off the old one. Our new refrigerator is definitely an upgrade from the old one. It may be 10 years-old, but to us it is a Christmas gift sent directly from God when we needed it most. We are grateful to Him!

As you reflect on our Savior this Christmas and the free gift of salvation He so desperately wants you to accept, keep this fact close to your heart, He loves you without measure and cares for the tiniest details of your life. Trust Him in all things and He will never let you down. Here are a few Scripture verses to think about today.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.—Romans 8:28

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:19

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.—1 Peter 5:6–7

Rejoice God's Christmas Refrigerator

Image Courtesy of Billy Alexander.

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-christmas-refrigerator/feed/ 0
Beautiful Feet!!http://www.fontlife.com/blog/beautiful-feet-part1/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/beautiful-feet-part1/#respond Mon, 23 Dec 2013 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2145 Today’s guest post is from my friend, Missionary, Author, Bible Scholar and all around nice guy, Kyle Sutton.

Last week, I discovered something in preparation for my message on “A Full Proof Ministry” from 2 Timothy 4:5, and also today—something related that I saw in a shoe store. Now, stop and go make yourself a cup of coffee… … …Ok, you’re back now, so we can begin.

My findings are based on this prior established fact: In his book, Biblical Mathematics, Edward Vallowe only offers one proof for the number 26 as being representative of the Gospel, but that’s ok because once we know the number we can look for it at various times concerning the gospel of Christ. I have since discovered 2-3 other places in the Bible that confirm his standard. My first follow up on Vallowe’s biblical standard was about a month ago while writing an article for the International Board of Jewish Missions‘ December EN Magazine. It is as follows:

In the fullness of time Mary was found to be with child (Matthew 1:18). I decided to look up “with child” in my recently acquired Pure Bible Search Software and look what came up! The phrase “with child” appears exactly 26 times in the entire Bible. When Mary was found to be with child this became the beginning of the good news (i.e., the gospel) of man’s ultimate salvation! This is why two of the four gospels begin by recounting the miraculous gospel story with the story of a virgin being with child.

Moving on…

Then last week here’s what else I found on the subject. The word gospel appears 101x in the NT. Related tenses and uses of a word can also be included in a search if necessary, so… I looked up the the word gospels (sake) and it appears 3x in the NT. This brings the total number of appearances of the gospel to a total of 104x altogether, and 104 is divisible by 26! This teaches us that there is a definite correlation even though you have to search for the root number by division. It’s all the same in God’s Math book. * This is no accident! * You won’t find this in any other translation of the Bible except the King James Bible.

Now here’s the kicker! Are you smiling yet? Well, get your grin ready. Tell it to be on standby. Today I was in the orthopedic shoe store with John, this 75 year old man that helps me get out most of our church tracts and the Jewish ones, too. As we were standing at the check out counter I noticed a foot-skeleton display thingy—with all the bones-of-the-foot attached by stretchy strings. I picked it up and was playing with it, seeing how it moved. I immediately recounted the verse:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!—Isaiah 52:7

Isaiah is clearly speaking of the gospel of Messiah coming to earth and announcing our salvation. The Bible pairs up the gospel with feet because the message [of the gospel of Christ] must be carried by some messenger. Well I just couldn’t help but ask the man how many bones were in the foot. I was just being hopeful. Well, hopeful paid off for sure! He came back quickly, “Twenty-Six!” I then quietly counted them myself; twice to be sure, because the very tips of the four smaller toes all have two very tiny bones on them, and the big toe was missing the tiny tip bone. That’s why I rang my wife Jamie and asked her to Google and verify the number for me. It’s true, 26 bones in the foot.

Do you think God likes numbers? First-hand discovery of what God has woven into the Bible is half the fun. Anyway I like to share and spread the excitement. If this type of stuff isn’t your cup of tea then I understand. But the Bible is anything but boring. You just have to decide how you want to look at it. God has got something in the Book for everyone. Stay tuned for part 2 as I share the next token of the gospel (#26) in the Bible.

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/beautiful-feet-part1/feed/ 0
God’s Social Media: Prayer—Conclusionhttp://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-conclusion/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-conclusion/#respond Mon, 16 Dec 2013 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2111
God's Social Media: Prayer—Conclusion

Dr. John Wilbur Chapman
Public Domain Image

We live in total dependence on God because, as believers, we sense our insufficiency throughout our lives. As long as we feel that insufficiency and depend upon God, we’ll pray without ceasing. Still, we also know we are the beneficiaries of tremendous blessings from God. That’s the very reason Paul instructed the Thessalonians to rejoice always and give thanks in everything in their unceasing prayers.

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”—1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

These verses reflect a beautiful balance in our communion with God. While we offer specific prayers for our needs and those of others, we can rejoice and give thanks at the same time—not just for His specific answers, but also for the abundant blessing He pours out to us each and every day.

Praying for the Right Things

When you pray, what do you typically pray for? If there were a survey taken in churches today on the topics most often prayed for, we would most likely discover that most prayers are often misdirected, shortsighted and selfish. We typically pray for health, happiness and success. We pray for personal comfort. We pray for solutions to remedy all the physical problems of life, such as healing, a place to live, a job, a car, a husband, a wife, our children, a promotion, more money, and so on. As important as these things are (especially to the people in need), in some respects they are very low on God’s priority list. Jesus said we are not to be anxious about what we eat, drink or wear when we know God supplies them all.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?—Matthew 6:25

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:19

Our priority must be God’s priority—the advancement of God’s kingdom.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.—Matthew 6:33

Paul knew what was important in the Christian life. His prayers for the saints are striking for their exclusive focus on spiritual concerns. One of his prayers in particular stands out for its simplicity and its depth:

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:—2 Thessalonians 1:11

Paul often focused his prayers on the issues that would abound to the spiritual benefit of the saints. Here he has three wishes for the Thessalonians: worthiness, fulfillment, and powerful service.

Paul knew that only prayer could obtain most of what he desired for the saints. He didn’t turn to human ingenuity or some church program; he turned to God. Paul was a faithful shepherd who taught God’s people the importance of obeying His commands whenever and wherever he could. But that in itself that was never enough—he always turned to God, who alone could prompt obedience in His people. God desires to sanctify His people, and that was Paul’s desire as well. That’s why he prayed for what God wanted to accomplish in His people’s lives.

If you want to pray for one another, don’t pray for the physical necessities only—make it your priority to pray for the important spiritual issues of life because they are of the greatest concern to God. His ultimate purpose is to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. The little tests and trials in life are important only as they reveal our greater spiritual need. God is most concerned about our response and attitude toward events that occur in our lives.

For Paul, and for any mature Christian, prayer is a permanent state of mind by which the promises and purposes of God, the spiritual well being of His people, the advancement of His Gospel and the growth of His church are passionately desired. What concerns the Lord must concern us if we truly desire to glorify Him in our lives.

Our Challenge

How important is faithfulness in prayer? Dr. John Wilbur Chapman was a Presbyterian evangelist in the late 19th Century. Dr. Chapman often told of his experience when, as a young man, he went to become pastor of a church in Philadelphia. After his first sermon, an old gentleman said to him, “You’re pretty young to be pastor of this church. But you preach the Gospel, and I’m going to help you all I can.”

Dr. Chapman thought, “Here’s a crank.”

But the man continued: “You are not a very strong preacher, I’m going to pray for you that you may have the Holy Spirit’s power upon you. Two others have covenanted to join with me in prayer for you.”

Dr. Chapman said, “I didn’t feel so bad when I learned he was going to pray for me. The 3 became 10, the 10 became 20, and 20 became 50, the 50 became 200 who met before every service to pray that the Holy Spirit might come upon me. I always went into my pulpit feeling that I would have the anointing in answer to the prayers of those who had faithfully prayed for me. It was a joy to preach! The result was that we received 1,100 into our church by conversion in three years, 600 of whom were men. As many as 300 joined at one given time! It was the fruit of the Holy spirit in answer to prayer!”

Dr. Chapman also wrote many of our most beloved hymns including One Day When Heaven (One Day):

One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin,
Dwelt amongst men, my example is He.

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away,
Rising, He justified freely forever;
One day He’s coming, Oh, glorious day!

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-conclusion/feed/ 0
God’s Social Media: Prayer—Part 5http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part5/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part5/#respond Mon, 09 Dec 2013 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2104
God's Social Media: Prayer—Part 5

Image Courtesy of G Schouten de Jel

What is the best time of day to pray? The Scriptures show people praying:

Three Times a Day

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”—Daniel 6:10

In the Evening

And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.—1 Kings 18:36

Before Meals

And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.—Matthew 14:19

After Meals

When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.—Deuteronomy 8:10

At the Ninth Hour (3 P.M)

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.—Acts 3:1

At Bedtime

Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.—Psalm 4:4

At Midnight

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.—Acts 16:25

Day and Night

And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.—Luke 2:37

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?—Luke 18:7

Often

And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?—Luke 5:33

When They’re Young

Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?—Jeremiah 3:4

When They’re Old

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:—Daniel 9:1–3

When They’re in Trouble

And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.—2 Kings 19:3–4

Every Day

Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.—Psalm 86:3

And Always

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;—Luke 18:1

Pray without ceasing.—1 Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer is fitting at any time, in any posture, in any place, under any circumstance, and in any attire. It is to be a total way of life—an open and continual communion with God. After having embraced all the infinite resources that are yours in Christ, don’t ever think you’re no longer dependent on the moment-by-moment power of God.

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part5/feed/ 0
God’s Social Media: Prayer—Part 4http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part4/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part4/#respond Mon, 02 Dec 2013 13:00:01 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2091
God's Social Media: Prayer—Part 4

Image Courtesy of Cheryl Empey

While some people today think prayer ought to be very formal, the Bible documents that people prayed in many different circumstances. Here are a few of the circumstances in which they prayed:

They prayed wearing sackcloth:

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.—Psalm 35:13

Sitting in Ashes

And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.—Job 2:8

Smiting their Breasts

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.—Luke 18:13

Crying Tears

I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.—Psalm 6:6

Throwing Dust on their Heads

And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.—Joshua 7:6

Tearing Garments

And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.—1 Kings 21:27

Fasting

And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.—Deuteronomy 9:18

Sighing

Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.—Ezra 9:4–15

Groaning

Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake. For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.—Psalm 6:4–6

Crying out Loud

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;—Hebrews 5:7

Sweating Blood

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.—Luke 22:44

Agonizing with Broken Hearts

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.—Psalm 34:18

Making a Vow

And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.—Acts 18:18

Making Sacrifices

The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.—Psalm 20:1–3

And Singing Songs

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.—Acts 16:25

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part4/feed/ 0
God’s Social Media: Prayer—Part 3http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part3/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part3/#respond Mon, 25 Nov 2013 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2087
God's Social Media: Prayer—Part 3

Image Courtesy of Evan Courtney

I used to wonder how anyone could pray without ceasing. I pictured Christians walking around with hands folded, heads bowed, and eyes closed, bumping into everything. While certain postures and specific times set aside for prayer have an important bearing on our communication with God, to “pray at all times” obviously does not mean we are to pray in formal or noticeable ways every waking moment. And it does not mean we are to devote ourselves to reciting ritualistic patterns and forms of prayer.

To “pray without ceasing” basically refers to recurring prayer, not nonstop talking. It is to be our way of life—we’re to be continually in an attitude of prayer.

I think of praying at all times as living in continual God-consciousness, where everything we see and experience becomes a kind of prayer, lived in deep awareness of and surrender to our Heavenly Father. It is something I share with my Best Friend—something I instantly communicate with God. To obey this exhortation means that, when we are tempted, we hold the temptation before God and ask for His help. When we experience something good and beautiful, we immediately thank the Lord for it. When we see evil around us, we ask God to make it right and to allow us to help accomplish that, if it is according to His will. When we meet someone who does not know Christ, we pray for God to draw that person to Himself and to use us to be a faithful witness. When we encounter trouble, we turn to God as our Deliverer.

Fellowship with God

Since the ultimate purpose of our salvation is to glorify God and to bring us into intimate, rich fellowship with Him, failure to seek God in prayer is to deny that purpose. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you,” says the Apostle John, “that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3).

Imagine spending an entire workday with your best friend at your side. You would no doubt acknowledge his presence throughout the day by introducing him to your friends or business associates and talking to him about the various activities of the day. But how would your friend feel if you never talked to him or acknowledged his presence? Yet that’s how we treat the Lord when we fail to pray. If we communicated with our friends as infrequently as some of us communicate with the Lord, those friends might soon disappear.

Our fellowship with God is not meant to wait until we are in heaven. God’s greatest desire, and our greatest need, is to be in constant fellowship with Him now, and there is no greater expression or experience of fellowship than prayer.

The Ways and Means of Prayer

In Ephesians 6:18 Paul says we are to pray with “all prayer and supplication.” The Greek word translated “prayer” (also in 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.”) is the most common New Testament word for prayer and refers to general requests. The word translated “supplication” refers to specific prayers. Paul’s use of both words suggests our necessary involvement in all kinds of prayer, every form that is appropriate.

The Posture

To pray all the time necessitates being in various positions because you will never be in the same position all day. In the Bible, people prayed standing:

And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.—Genesis 24:12–14

Lifting up their hands:

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.—1 Timothy 2:8

Sitting:

Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.—Judges 20:26

Kneeling:

And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.—Mark 1:40

Looking upward:

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:—John 17:1

Bowing down:

And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.—Exodus 34:8

Placing their heads between their knees:

So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees,—1 Kings 18:42

Pounding on their breasts:

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.—Luke 18:13

Facing the temple:

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.—Daniel 6:10

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part3/feed/ 0
New eBook: Connect to God Through His Social Media—Prayerhttp://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-ebook/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-ebook/#respond Thu, 21 Nov 2013 13:12:31 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2125 Connect to God Through His Social Media—Prayer

Connect to God Through His Social Media—PrayerCharles Spurgeon once said, “Pray in your own words. Speak plainly to God; ask at once for what you want. Name persons, name things, and make a straight aim at the object of your supplications, and I am sure you will soon find that the weariness and dullness of which you often complain in your intercessions, will no more fall upon you; or at least not so habitually as it has heretofore done.”

You may embrace prayer with the utmost respect, yet at times you find that your own practice of it lacks purpose and vitality. You don’t spend time with God like you know you should and you don’t pray for things God would have you pray for.

Connect to God Through His Social Media—Prayer is a wonderful message on prayer that teaches what the Bible has to say about the topic. Connect to God as never before using His vehicle for social media: Prayer.

Available Exclusively on Amazon

For a limited time, Connect to God Through His Social Media—Prayer is available exclusively from Amazon’s Kindle Store and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a collection of books that Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle can borrow once a month with no due dates.

Free Promotion

To celebrate the launch of this new eBook, I am giving it away from free for the next 5-days. That’s right, starting tomorrow November 22, 2013 and continuing through November 26, Connect to God Through His Social Media—Prayer is your to download absolutely free. When the free promotion ends, Connect to God Through His Social Media—Prayer will be available at its regular retail price of $2.99.

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-ebook/feed/ 0
The Sound of Unbelief’s Silencehttp://www.fontlife.com/blog/unbeliefs-silence/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/unbeliefs-silence/#respond Tue, 19 Nov 2013 11:42:37 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2120
The Sound of Unbelief's Silence

Image Courtesy of Julia Freeman-Woolpert

My wife and I enjoy our morning quiet time together with the Lord. With a fresh cup of coffee in hand, we sit and read the Bible, share a devotion from Kyle Sutton’s book, Honey Out of the Rock, and then pray for the matters of the day. In today’s Honey devotion, titled Faith, Courage & Loyalty,, Kyle expounds Luke 1:5-7:

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.—Luke 1:5–7

You probably remember the rest of the story. The angel Gabriel visits Zacharias while he is ministering at the altar of incense. Gabriel announces that he and Elisabeth will conceive a child and they are to call the child John [The Baptist]. Because Zacharias questioned Gabriel’s announcement, the angel took his voice away for his unbelief.

As we read today’s devotion, my wife picked up on an interesting point that had previously escaped me. Luke 1:62 says:

And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.

Officially naming the child took place at the circumcision ceremony. With friends and family present, those in attendance made signs, or hand signals, to Zacharias to confirm the child’s name. This begs the question, why would the guests have to make signs to Zacharias instead of just asking him? The reason is because Zacharias was deaf as well as dumb. Was his deafness the result of his old age or did the angel Gabriel take away his hearing at the same time he removed his voice?

I believe that Gabriel took away Zacharias’ hearing and voice. Unbelief led to a profound silence in Zacharias’ life, a silence that caused him to retreat inside of himself and examine his own relationship with God. When he confirmed the child’s name as John, Zacharias’ health was restored. Filled with the Holy Ghost, Zacharias offers up one of the most elegant, prophetic prayers in Scripture:

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,—Luke 1:76–77

As Christians, all of us go through periods where our belief and trust in God waiver. When circumstances get difficult and seem impossible, fear often countermands faith. It is during these times, that we, like Zacharias, are spiritually deaf and dumb. We fail to hear the still, small voice of God as He directs us; and praise for Him is far from our lips. But fear not, we are in good company. David said:

But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.—Psalm 38:13

Thankfully, for Christians unbelief is generally a temporary condition, and again as Zacharias, God restores us to full health in due time. But did you know that there is an unbelief that sends a person to hell? In fact, unbelief in God is the only sin that ever sends a person to hell. Eternal life with God, or salvation as it’s called, can only be obtained by believing in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Salvation is not about religious practices, rites, rituals, or good works. It is about our belief in Christ alone.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.—Romans 10:9–10

Based on this verse, if belief saves a person, then logically unbelief leaves a person unsaved. Saved means an eternity in Heaven. Unsaved means an eternity in hell. It’s your choice to belief or not.

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/unbeliefs-silence/feed/ 0
God’s Social Media: Prayer—Part 2http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part2/ http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part2/#respond Mon, 18 Nov 2013 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.fontlife.com/?p=2079
God's Social Media: Prayer—Part 2

photo credit: pasotraspaso via photopin cc

Jesus’ earthly ministry was remarkably brief, barely three years long. Yet in those three years, as must have been true in His earlier life, He spent a great amount of time in prayer. The Gospels report that Jesus habitually rose early in the morning, often before daybreak, to commune with His Father. In the evening He would frequently go to the Mount of Olives or some other quiet spot to pray, usually alone. Prayer was the spiritual air that Jesus breathed every day of His life. He practiced an unending communion between Himself and the Father.

He urged His disciples to do the same. He said:

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.—Luke 21:36

The early church learned that lesson and carried on Christ’s commitment to continual, unceasing prayer. Even before the Day of Pentecost, the 120 disciples gathered in the Upper Room

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.—Acts 1:14

That didn’t change even when 3,000 were added to their number on the Day of Pentecost:

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.—Acts 2:42

When the apostles were led to structure the church so that ministry could be accomplished effectively, they said:

But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.— Acts 6:4

Throughout his life, the Apostle Paul exemplified this commitment to prayer. Read his epistles and you’ll discover that praying for his fellow believers was his daily practice. To the Roman believers he said:

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;—Rom. 1:9–10

Other examples of Paul’s commitment to prayer include:

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;—1 Corinthians 1:4

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;—Ephesians 5:20

Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,—Philippians 1:4

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,—Colossians 1:3

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;—1 Thessalonians 1:2

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;—2 Thessalonians 1:3

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:—2 Thessalonians 1:11

I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,—Philemon 4, (AV)

His prayers for believers often occupied him both “night and day”

Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?—1 Thessalonians 3:10

I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;—2 Timothy 1:3

Because he prayed for them so continually, Paul was able to exhort his readers to pray that way as well. He urged the Thessalonians to:

Pray without ceasing.—1 Thessalonians 5:17

He commanded the Philippians to stop being anxious and instead:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.— Philippians 4:6

He encouraged the Colossians to:

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;— Colossians 4:2

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;—Romans 12:12

And to help the Ephesians arm themselves to combat the spiritual darkness in the world around them, he said:

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;—Ephesians 6:18

Unceasing, continual prayer is essential to the strength of a believer’s relationship to the Lord and his or her ability to function in the world.

]]>
http://www.fontlife.com/blog/gods-social-media-prayer-part2/feed/ 0