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Archive for January, 2015

Dear friends,

I’m leaving for my third trip to Kenya (in one year!) Feb. 18th and returning March 2nd, traveling to a fairly remote area to teach, train and mentor 32 pastors and 18 church leaders in principles of sound biblical interpretation, theology and church and ministry.

These are godly men and women who have had almost no training in these areas and are without resources to get biblical training for a Church in Kenya badly in need of it! 

I’m going with my best friend from our seminary days – Danny Gilbert – and we minister together as a team.

I’m writing to you because I just do not want to go without getting as much prayer support and power as I can get!  So, what I plan to do for the next 17 days or so is to email one “Paragraph Prayer” (the term just came to me last night) per day.

What you’ll see is that I’ll send you a written prayer from my heart, and all I’m asking you to do is simply to read the words in prayer in agreement with me – that’s it!  Of course, feel free to add to it! 

So, it will simply take less than one minute each day.  But I’m certain that one minute to pray for this kingdom work will yield fruit for eternity.

I did this with the group of people that I recently led to Israel (before we left for Israel) and called it “30 Days of Prayer” and was amazed, amazed, amazed at how much prayer God answered!

So, here is my prayer for Day One:

Day One: First and foremost, Father we pray that Danny and I would please You — our wonderful, glorious Triune God — with all that we do and say throughout our time ministering in Kenya. We pray that You would daily help us to consecrate ourselves greatly now, so that when we arrive in Kenya, we’re ready to give the Kenyans our best! In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

I hope you’ll join me as part of my Prayer Team!

 

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Some are calling it “Deflate gate.” It’s the scandal of the New England Patriots football team illegally deflating the game balls in the American Football Conference Championship game last week against the Indianapolis Colts.

Both Head Coach Bill Belichik and Quarterback Tom Brady are denying any knowledge whatsoever of this scandal. Very few people believe them; this isn’t the first time the New England Patriots have been found cheating against opponents.

Belichik and Brady will forever have tarnished reputations for this incident – and both are arguably the best or most successful coach and quarterback in National Football League history.

They will never be able to escape the whispers, the conversations, the critical comments and questions from reporters. People will forgive someone who is sincerely sorry or repentant; they hate cheaters and liars.

Opposing fans – especially at the Super Bowl Feb. 1 – will surely bring deflated footballs into the stadium to mock the Patriots. They will have signs of deflated footballs mocking the Patriots.

Many football fans are outraged at this ongoing cheating by a very good football team – and the fans are outraged that their two leaders of the team will not accept responsibility. Why are they outraged?

They’re outraged because rules have been broken and we want games won because they’re played by the rules.

What we are witnessing is the sin of cheating. It is the breaking of one of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not covet” (Ex. 20:17). The root of the cheating is greed: greed to be the best.

Football is now the “American pastime,” as Baseball used to be. But Americans will be reminded continually on Super Bowl Sunday of the emptiness of this game – even of the Patriots being in the game.

If the Patriots should win, we can be sure that the victory will be a pyrrhic victory indeed. This scandal should be an urgent reminder to all of us that integrity is what matters most in life – not success, not “winning at all costs” and not fame.

Listen to Solomon in Proverbs 22:1: “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth; favor is better than silver or gold”

If we do not practice integrity – what I like to call “doing what’s right when no one is looking” – then we lose our character. And if we lose our character, what do we really have?

If either Belichik or Brady are guilty and they do not admit their guilt, they’re going to carry that guilt around for the remainder of their lives. No amount of Super Bowl trophies, no amount of money and no amount of fame will satisfy them.

This is a good opportunity for all of us to examine ourselves: Do we cheat at anything? Are we willing to do whatever it takes to “get ahead?” Let us learn from this scandal and seek to be men, women and young people of integrity and do what is right. That is what will truly satisfy.

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The Breastplate Prayer of Patrick: English Apostle to Ireland (c. 390-460 AD)

Modified and updated by Pastor Brad Matthew Abley, 2015

I arise today with a mighty strength, the invocation of the Holy Trinity;[1] through a belief in the Threeness, through a confession of the Oneness[2] of the Creator of creation.

I arise today Father, through Your strength to pilot me; Your might to uphold me,[3] Your wisdom to guide me,[4] Your eye to look before me,[5] Your ear to hear me,[6] Your Word to speak to me;[7]

I arise today Father, through Your hand to guard me,[8] Your way to lie before me,[9] Your shield to protect me,[10] Your hosts to save me,[11] from snares of the devil, from temptations of vices, from everyone who desires me ill — afar and a near — alone or in a multitude.

I arise today Father, through the strength of Your judgment of the devil and his demons, and of the wicked who have rejected You.[12]

I arise today Lord Jesus, with the power of Your birth[13] and baptism,[14] with the power of Your crucifixion and burial,[15] with the power of Your resurrection and Your ascension,[16] and with the power of Your return for the final judgment.[17]

I arise today Holy Spirit, through Your presence and Your power to anoint me,[18] to lead me and to teach me,[19] all to do Your work, in Your power, to glorify the Father and the Son.[20]

I arise today Holy Trinity,[21] through the strength of Your Word,[22] through the power and joy of prayer,[23] through the freedom of praise and worship,[24] through the blessing of obedience,[25] as Your priest[26] and saint.[27]

I arise today through the strength of Your angels – ministering spirits for the heirs of salvation[28] — in the prayers of those who have gone before me, and in the prayers of Your Church today.

I summon now all these powers between me and evil, against every cruel, merciless power that opposes my body and soul,

Against incantations of spiritists and false prophets, against evil ways of pagandom, against false ways of heretics, against craft of idolatry, against spells of the wicked,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.  Christ shield me today, against all evil, sickness, disease and calamity, and over all the powers of darkness.[29]

Jesus with me,[30] Jesus before me, Jesus behind me,[31] Jesus in me,[32]

Jesus above me, Jesus beneath me, Jesus on my right;[33]

Jesus on my left; Jesus for my mind, Jesus for my heart;

Jesus for my attitude,[34] Jesus for my eyes, Jesus for my mouth,

Jesus for my ears.

Jesus when I lie down, Jesus when I sit down, Jesus when I rise;

Jesus in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Jesus in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Jesus in the eye that sees me, Jesus in the ear that hears me.

I arise today, through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Holy Trinity; through a belief in the Threeness, through a confession of the Oneness, of the Creator of creation, in Jesus’ name, amen!

Known as St. Patrick, this English boy was captured by Irish slaveholders at the age of 16 in the middle of the night on his own native soil.  Having worked as a swine-herder on a farm in Northern Ireland, Patrick prayed earnestly to God for deliverance.

He eventually escaped, traveling on foot 200 miles to the coast, where he persuaded the captain of a ship carrying dogs to allow him to travel, under condition that he work as a dog tender.

He ended up in France and lived there for several years in a monastery, where the Lord spoke to him in a dream to return to Ireland and convert the Irish – then bands of warring tribes.  In 432 AD, he returned to Ireland, where he converted approximately 120,000 Irish to Christ and established 300 churches and a monastery.

From that monastery, Columba, an Irishman, was sent to convert the Northern part of England, a country that in turn changed the world through the printing of the Bible in English, by sending out the first Protestant missionaries to India, Africa and China, and establishing Law, Politics and Economics upon Scriptural principles.

From England came Boniface, the Apostle to Germany, John Wycliffe, the first translator of portions of Scripture into English; William Tyndale, who completed the translation of the Bible into English; the Pilgrims, who settled America, and John Bunyan and his classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress.

In addition, Issac Watts is known as the father of modern worship music; John Wesley, one of history’s greatest and most effective preachers, who preached approximately 40,000 sermons, rode 250,000 miles on horseback to preach and who planted thousands of churches and won an untold amount of souls to Jesus.

His brother, Charles Wesley, wrote 10,000 hymns and together, they founded the Methodist Church; William Carey was the founder of the modern missions movement; William Wilberforce led the movement to abolish slavery in Western Civilization; George Whitefield was the leader of America’s first Great Awakening.

Hudson Taylor was known as the Apostle to China; Sir Issac Newton was a strong Christian and the father of modern science and mathematics, and many other Christians of great note that have changed the world!

All this from one heavenly vision, given to one obedient man, who has paved the way for us!

[1] 2 Cor. 13:14

[2] See, e.g. Gen. 1:1, 26; Dt. 6:4; John 10:30

[3] Is. 41:9-10

[4] James 1:2-5

[5] Ps. 32:8

[6] Ps. 65:2

[7] John 1:1-3; 1 John 1:1; Ps. 119:105

[8] Is. 41:10

[9] Ps. 25:12

[10] Eph. 6:10-18; Zech. 2:5

[11] Ps. 91

[12] Rev. 20:11-15; cf. 1 Cor. 6:2-3

[13] Mt. 1:21;

[14] Mt. 3:15. He came to identify with us.

[15] Rom. 6:1-11. We identify with Him in His death, burial and resurrection, symbolized in baptism.

[16] Ibid.

[17] 1 Thess. 4:16-18

[18] Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:39, etc.

[19] Rom. 8:14; John 14:16

[20] John 15:26

[21] 2 Cor. 13:14

[22] 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; Mt. 24:35

[23] Ps. 16:11

[24] See, e.g. Ps. 5:11-12

[25] John 14:21

[26] 1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6

[27] See, e.g. 1 Cor. 1:2, etc.

[28] Heb. 1:14

[29] Ps. 91

[30] See, e.g. Heb. 13:5; Mt. 1:23; 28:20

[31] Ps. 139:5

[32] E.g. Col. 1:27

[33] E.g. Ps. 73:23; Is. 41:8-10

[34] Phil. 4:8

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