What a delight to see those precious children waving palm branches and saying “Hosanna!” as they walked down the middle aisle in yesterday’s morning gathering!
Another blessing is seeing dedicated believers teaching the children in Sunday School, and adults in church speaking to the children and interacting with them.
Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. (Matthew 19:13-15)
The example of Jesus is a guide for our prayer time today in reference to one of the ministries at Boones Creek Bible Church, the children’s ministry.
Let us pray that parents will intentionally and faithfully bring their children to Jesus. In particular, bringing them to where the body of Christ gathers. The children need to hear about the life of Christ. They need to be taught the doctrines of Christ and salvation, such as regeneration, redemption, adoption, justification, etc.
Let us pray that our children will be touched by Christ early on in life receiving the greatest blessing of life, salvation, and then live the Christlife all their days on earth.
Let us surrender to pray by name for the children at BCBC.
Let us pray that we will see the kingdom of heaven expanded through our children’s ministry.
Let us pray that our example as adults does not “forbid” the children from coming to Jesus. May we make Christ attractive to them.
Let us pray for the teachers and nursery workers as they minister Jesus to these precious ones.
Thank the Lord for our faithful children’s workers who have a passion to present Christ to our children in a loving, welcoming way! Thank you for serving!!
If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God. -D.L. Moody
Prayer that is Oriented to Others (Hunter Addison)
Acts 20:28 tells us that the church of God is those “which he obtained with his own blood.” The church is the blood-bought people of God. A people who you and I are a part of. We see the love of God demonstrated toward us on the cross (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10). But we also see Christ’s love for us demonstrated through his prayers for us and for those who will embrace him as Savior. Consider the words of Jesus in John 17:9, 20-21.
John 17:9 “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.”
John 17:20-21 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. . .”
Furthermore, as a believer we understand that the hope of our salvation is directly connected to the ongoing intercession of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:25). Consider what Paul says in Romans 8:34
Romans 8:34 “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
It is easy to see the way in which Jesus’s life is oriented toward us on the cross, but have you considered the way our Savior is oriented toward us in his prayers? Jesus was committed to accomplishing our redemption on the cross in perfect obedience to His Father. We could say Jesus prioritized not Himself but you and me (Philippians 2:5-11). And His prayer life is a direct reflection of that priority. Jesus prays for our unity, our faith, and is currently interceding for us at this moment as our high priestly advocate, and He does all of this on the basis of his perfect sacrifice for us. We can conclude from this that whatever you prioritize will shape and drive your prayer life. As you consider this amazing truth consider how your priorities are shaping your prayers. Jesus loves you with such a love that he died for you and continually lives to make intercession for you as your advocate. What brother of sister in Christ do you love with this same Christ-like love? Furthermore, who are living to make intercession for in your prayers? Our priorities shape our prayers and Jesus transforms our priorities.
Below is a list of Paul’s prayers. Read through these in one sitting, if possible, and ask yourself what Paul prioritized and how did those priorities shape his prayers. You will not regret praying with Paul.
• Rom. 1:8-10 • Rom 10:1 • Rom 12:12 • Rom 15:5-6 • Rom 15:13 • Rom 15:30-33 • 1 Cor 1:4-9 • 1 Cor 16:23 • 2 Cor. 1:3-7 • 2 Cor 2:14-16 • 2 Cor 9:12-15 • 2 Cor 12:7-9a • 2 Cor 13:7-9 • Gal 6:18 • Eph 1:3 • Eph 1:15-23 • Eph 3:14-21 • Eph 6:19-20 • Phil 1:3-6 • Phil 1:9-11 • Phil 4:6-7 • Phil 4:23 • Col 1:3-14 • 1 Thess 1:2-3 • Col 4:2-4 • 1 Thess 2:13-16 • 1 Thess 3:9-13 • 1 Thess 5:23-24 • 1 Thess 5:28 • 2 Thess 1:3 • 2 Thess 1:11-12 • 2 Thess 2:16-17 • 2 Thess 3:2-5 • 2 Thess 3:16 • 1 Tim 1:12 • 1 Tim 2:1 • 2 Tim 1:3-7 • 2 Tim 1:16-18 • 2 Tim 4:22 • Titus 3:15 • Philem 4-7 • Philem 25
When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10)
What? How is it possible to be brought up in the shadow of the mighty works of God, to have lived around men like godly men such as Joshua and Caleb, and then for it to be said, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel? How is that possible?
How is it possible that we have a young generation (Gen Z: Born 1999-2015) right now in our churches, including BCBC, that have grown up under the teaching of the Word of God on Sundays, perhaps educated in a Christian school or home-schooled, attended weekly children’s ministries and they do not have a heart for God nor for the things of God? How is that possible?
How is it possible that this generation has never seen a lost sinner genuinely transformed by the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit in salvation (Titus 3:4-7; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10)? Perhaps all they have heard are the old stories of salvation and transformation but nothing recent, fresh and grace-born!
Today, I want to call us to pray for GOD’S INCREASE in the hearts of our Gen Z young people!! In this time of prayer, let’s go boldly to the Throne of Grace on behalf of our young folks from ages 4-21.
Pray that our young people will truly be transformed, regenerated believers.
Pray that our young people will come to know the heart of God (Psalm 42:1) and have a passion for Christ over happiness in worldly, temporal things/goals.
Pray that our young people’s eyes will be “opened to the fact that sin isn’t a Christianese catch phrase; it’s a reality that shows up in our daily lives” and that they will know through the Word how to conqueror sin (Psalm 119:9-11; Ephesians 6:10-18).
Pray that our young people will have first person accounts in their lives of the work of God.
Pray that our young people will be like the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times but desired also to know what Israel ought to do (1 Chronicles 12:32). Point being, that our young folks would desire more to know what God would have them do than what is happening on social media or the culture is offering.
Pray that the parents of our young people will be more about knowing, loving, and obeying God (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 1:18) than chasing and fulfilling worldly desires.
Pray that the Word of God will have the most preeminent and prominent place in the discussion and discipleship of our homes; even as parents confront the difficult subjects of our culture and world (Psalm 119)
Pray that our young people will see and experience a real walk with Christ on a daily basis as opposed to seeing Christianity as “Sunday only.” Pray that they will see radical transformed, obedient adults!
May For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21) be said by our young people rather than the words of Judges 2:10.
How does she need you? She is crying out for you to be her loving, servant leader! And, if you have sons, they really need dad to lead in the home!
How many times I have seen the wife leading the home or the husband wanting to lead the home but the wife won’t let him or the husband refusing to “step up to the plate” and lead.
Could it be that you are making decisions all day at work, and you are weary of fulfilling that role when you get home? Perhaps you came from a home where loving, servant leadership was not on display. Maybe, you would admit that you really don’t know how to lead.
May I offer some suggestions, some help?
The best way for a man to lead his wife is through a discipling model. What does that look like?
Lead your wife in prayer. More than being the leader in prayer for your meals, Pray with her in the morning before you leave for work. Pray with her at the moment she shares a burden with you. Pray with her over the phone when she is away visiting family, attending a ladies’ event or just from the office. Share your prayer burdens as well as your answers to prayer with her. Hold hands and pray with her every night before drifting off to sleep. The greatest place you could ever go with your wife is to the Throne of Grace together in prayer (Psalm 16:8; Hebrews 4:16).
Lead your wife in the Word of God. As you read and study the Word, be sure to share with your wife what God has been teaching you. You could read a devotional book together in the morning before you head off for work. If your departure time is before she gets up, then call her on your first break and read the devo on the phone or read a portion of God’s Word on the phone and discuss it. Take your wife to church every Sunday so she can hear the Word preached. Read a good book together. Make sure she attends a ladies’ conference periodically to be refreshed, revived, and encouraged in her walk with God. Participate in a small group Bible study. Even if you wife has been a believer longer than you have, she needs you to lead her spiritually. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body (Ephesians 5:25-30).
Wives, may I say, let your husband lead. Encourage him. Build him up. Even if he doesn’t do it the way you think he should, be thankful for any advancement. Sometimes this is just rough territory for a man. Pray earnestly for him and love him! Trust a sovereign, omnipotent God to do His work in your husband’s heart. Remember, try as you may, you cannot change him. (If your husband does lead in your home, rejoice, encourage him, keep praying for him, follow him and be his biggest cheerleader!)
More on this discipling leadership in another post to come. In the meantime, may you both surrender to Christ working through you to accomplish His plan and purpose in your marriage. Because the tomb is empty, you have hope!
Without a doubt, the very best gathering place is anywhere the Word of God is opened, read, taught, explained, discussed, applied, and revered!
Last evening, our small group gathered around 1 Timothy 3:1-7. We prayed, read the passage, and then went through a verse-by-verse, almost word-for-word study of God’s precious Book. Never did we ask, “What do you think it means?” We looked at the passage in its context through observation (What does it say?), interpretation (What does it mean?) and application (How do I respond?).
After one hour, we could say that we had met with the Lord; He had spoken to our hearts; the Holy Spirit had guided us into truth! Our hearts were knitted closer to God and to one another. That then made our prayer time to close out the evening a true gathering around the Throne of Grace!
The dynamic of a Sunday morning service is the gathering around the reading and preaching of the Word of God whether it is inside or outside the building. This gathering is of utmost importance (Hebrews 10:25).
The most edifying conversation and instruction in the home is when husband and wife gather around the Word to read and pray. (The same for the family.)
The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. (Psalm 119:160)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. 12 Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. 13 With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. 16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. (Psalm 119:9-16)
The gathering around the Word should cause us to anticipate the great gathering in the sky at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and then the gatherings around the Throne in Glory (Revelation 4, 7)!!
The best gathering place is around the Word of God!!
On this July 4th weekend, there are so many things that cause my heart to rejoice and express a sincere note of gratitude and patriotism as an American!
That God allowed me to be born to godly, Christian parents and to be born again (John 3) in the United States of America!
For parents, church, family and public education that taught and demonstrated what it was to be a respectful, God-honoring citizen of the USA!
For a dad who proudly served his country in the Army during the Korean War.
For my mom who loved to play patriotic music in our home either on the piano or through the stereo.
That I could learn the history of this great land through a correct worldview and not one rewritten to suit the desires of a socialist agenda.
For trips to Washington, DC, Appomattox and Chancellorsville, VA, President Lincoln’s birthplace, West Point, the USS Wilmington, Fort Sumter and many other places of historical value while still living at home with my folks.
After marriage, the Korean War Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Lincoln Memorial, President Ronald Reagan Library, the Twin Towers Memorial, and many more.
To stand at Bristol Motor Speedway with over 140,000 fans and watch the American flag descend to the track via a parachutist while Lee Greenwood sang, “God Bless the USA!”
To pledge my allegiance to the flag and the values it represents!!
The joy of watching the precision and glory of the Air Force Thunderbirds at Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, SC.
To attend patriotic concerts such as the ones in Kingsport, TN and Murfreesboro, TN.
Singing our National Anthem many, many times in many different locations with my hand across my heart!
To be parked on the hill in Johnson City, TN, for the fireworks and to hear all the car radios around us tuned to the freedom music from a local station. Will miss that this year!
For family picnics with us all wearing Old Navy patriotic t-shirts!
Sparklers, fireworks, hot dogs, homemade ice cream, strawberry pie, etc.
To share a word of thanks to everyone who has served in our military.
To have preached the funerals of men and women who served in our military.
Recently, watching a WWII veteran slowly rise to salute the flag as it was folded and presented to a grieving wife. Tears flowed down my cheek and my heart swelled with gratitude!
To join with other believers on a Sunday morning to acknowledge God’s goodness to us in this land, not as an act of idolatry, but one of sincere thanksgiving!!
Today, I will say that it is hard for me to ask God to bless our nation when we have certainly not blessed Him in so many ways by turning our back on Him, disregarding prayer and the Word, killing millions of babies, displaying a hatred for Christ, and living for the American Dream rather than surrendering to righteousness. Nevertheless, I do ask that God would bless our land with His mercy and grace that we may continue the cause of freedom and the Gospel around the world for His glory!
I heard someone say years ago when asked how long he had been married, “38 years, . . . and 36 of ‘um have been good ones.”
So, has COVID-19 stretched your marriage like a rubber band? Has it created additional conflict due to being together too much? Has the stress of the quarantine created some tough times?
Well, let me encourage you about something. The issue is not the quarantine or the coronavirus. The issue is that two sinners are living under the same roof.
Recently I heard about a book that intrigues me in regards to pre-marital and marital counseling. (I have not read it yet.) Authored by Dave Harvey, the title is When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage. Harvey says, “Marriage is the union of two people who arrive toting the luggage of life. And that luggage always contains sin.”
The coronavirus cannot cause strife in your marriage. The cause was there before COVID-19. The cause is your old sin nature which is full of pride, selfishness, criticism, harsh words, envy, jealousy, anger, fear, and much more. It stands in constant opposition to God and has a downward gravitational pull.
Let me give you a challenge. I could offer suggestions, but only the Word of God has the power to transform you, your situation, and your marriage in tough times. Therefore, here’s the encouragement, and men, take the lead. As a couple read Romans 5:1 – 6:23; 8:1-39; and Ephesians 4:17 – 5:33. Pray before you read the Word, then read it together. Read it slow. Read it out loud. Ask the Spirit to reveal Christ to you through the Word. Ask each other after reading a verse or two or more, “What does this passage say to us about our marriage? What do we need surrender? How do I need to change?” Take off the face masks and be transparent before the Lord and each other. Soak your soul in the Word of God and lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).
There are still many unknowns about the coronavirus, but that is not the case with marriage. God created marriage and has given us the manual for marriage if we will just read it, obey it and trust God for His way in it.
Be as willing and proactive to protect the gift of marriage from the sin virus as you are the coronavirus.
A dear friend recently said to me, “Every time I pray for you, I pray for your wife. You two are a team!”
He’s right! We are!
We became a team on June 20, 1981. We have worked through marriage, parenting, ministry, and the stuff of life as a team. That teamwork has had a strong presence in our lives in the past week or so.
Last Monday, while on our way for a supper date, I ran my car through the car wash. As I pulled up to clean out the inside of my auto, I noticed a dear pregnant lady struggling to vacuum her built-low-to-the-ground four-door. Denise and I looked at each having the same thought. Gently I approached the lady and asked if I could vacuum her car. I quickly pointed to Denise to help ease the situation. She was a bit reluctant but then gratefully received my invitation. While I worked through the debris in this lady’s automobile, Denise introduced herself and began a gospel conversation. Every once-in-awhile, I would look from my task and say to myself, “I’m so glad we are teammates!”
Thursday through Saturday, Denise had the rich privilege of ministering God’s Word at Wolf Mountain Camp, Grass Valley, CA. The three days were peppered with texts, photos, and phone calls between us. We prayed, wept, laughed and rejoiced together as we saw God’s grace in action from a front row seat! During her speaking sessions, I prayed. While sharing Christ on the plane with a 39 year-old, I prayed. While Denise listened and counseled with these ladies of many nationalities, I prayed. While leading a dear lady through the plan of salvation and witnessing her transformation by the power of God from darkness to light, I prayed. I’m so glad we are teammates!
The past two and a half years have been a steady trial, and it continues. Some things occurred on Sunday that I permitted to create a spirit of despondency in my heart on Monday. Denise is my cheer-leading teammate. Throughout Monday and Tuesday, she prayed, cared, encouraged, and ministered to my heart. Her cry to the Lord Tuesday morning was, “Lord, would you fulfill Jeremiah 33:3 for Dale today?” By noontime, that prayer had been answered in an Ephesians 3:20 way. Furthermore, when I came home for supper, she had prepared an appetizer to enjoy while she completed her final meal prep. That was her way of saying, “I love you. I’m for you.” I’m so very glad we are teammates!
May I strongly encourage you husbands and wives by the grace of God—be teammates. Work through your conflicts together. Pray together. Serve together. Worship together. Parent together. Play together. Walk through this life hand-in-hand. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33). This is teamwork as God planned it. I’m glad Denise and I are teammates!!
Stretching out his hand and with tears in his eyes, he said, “Soon this hand will touch the hand of my Jesus.”
These words were spoken last Saturday by a dear man of God who has given his life to faithfully proclaim and live out the excellencies of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Bud Parker has been diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor that is affecting his mobility and vision. As I sat by his side in his humble mountain home, the affects of cancer were readily seen, but the grace of God was much more manifest. It didn’t take long to realize I was seated in the presence of a man who is ready to go Home to Glory!
There were many more times of rejoicing than notes of sorrow as we conversed. During his lengthy stay in the hospital, the Lord enabled him to share the gospel with many, and three precious souls came to salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). We talked of the ministry joys of past years, the privilege of preaching the Word of God, the joy of mentoring so many men in the ministry, as well as rejoicing in all the folks who had come by to visit.
With his precious wife, Mildred, seated across the room, he looked at me and then her and said, “I am ready to go to heaven, but I don’t want to leave my bride of 58 years. The other night, the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid. She was My bride before she became your bride. She is the apple of my eye’.”
Especially at a time like this, the Word of God is the very best comfort, assurance, and hope. While reading 1 Peter 1:1-8, Pastor Parker’s eyes would glisten and then fill with tears. Some of the passages he quoted along with me as best he could. At one point, he raised his hand to rejoice!
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Near the end of our visit, I noticed that his wife, two of his daughters and other family members were on the front porch. I invited them to gather in the living room, and we sang a medley of songs about heaven. My, what a glorious time we had as we lifted our voices and hands in praise to our great God! Indeed, what a day it will be when our Jesus we will see!!
Watching the grace of God in its total sufficiency from my front row seat was an honor and a blessed encouragement! This dear man of God is living out the words of Tom Hayes’ song, New Grace.
All of grace is my story All the way from earth to glory, Since by grace He lifted me from sin and woe; Living grace He has extended As on Him my heart depended, And He’ll give new grace when it’s my time to go.
CHORUS: Grace not yet discovered, Grace not yet uncovered, Grace from His bountiful store; Grace to cross the river, And grace to face forever, There’ll be new grace I’ve not needed before.
VERSE 2: There’s been grace for every trial, There’s been grace for every mile, There’s been grace sufficient from His vast supply; Grace to make my heart more tender, Grace to love and pray for sinners, But there’ll be new grace when it’s my time to die.
CHORUS: Grace not yet discovered, Grace not yet uncovered, Grace from His bountiful store; Grace to cross the river, And grace to face forever, There’ll be new grace I’ve not needed before.
One of the cool features of being a grandparent is watching your twin grandsons grow and change every day! Given that our two bundles of energy have had to overcome great obstacles, those points of development are magnified.
Yesterday, I listened to them sing more words to the choruses that accompany our wagon rides on the farm road. I saw one of the boys take more steps in his struggle to walk. I heard their vocabulary increase as we walked to the back of our property. And, I watched with a full heart their zest for life as they proved again and again, they are “all boys”!!
Indeed, it is fascinating to watch our children and grandchildren grow and learn; to attempt new things; to make progress; to act like little adults; to fall down, get back up, and try again. How often we look at the kids and then the parents and say, “That apple doesn’t fall far from that tree!”
As a follower of Jesus Christ, one commanded to mature in Christ, what would others say about my growth in Christ? Could they give specific points of development? Have I grown from the times when I “fell down” each day?
2 Peter 3:18 says, But grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4:15-16 exhorts us, Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. And 1 Peter 2:2, Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up.
Can you imagine Sunday morning as we gather to worship, an older believer walks up to you and says, “I have seen great growth in your life this week! I saw you from a distance be confronted with a situation that normally would elicit anger from your heart, but you responded in kindness and wisdom as Christ would. To God be the glory! Stay in the Word, walk on your knees, and be faithful!! Let’s pray together and ask the Lord to help both of us take the next step in wisdom.”
Instead of looking for the faults in others, let’s look for growth points and be encouragers. Let’s rejoice as we mature together in Christlikeness. Let’s help each other when we “fall down.” Let’s walk together to Glory. After all, we are the family of God.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:5-7).