VIDEO Praying for Public Officials

Praying for Public Officials

State lawmakers and executives take up their work in earnest in January in Indiana – and probably in most states. God’s people need to be earnest in making supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way, as the Lord commands us through Paul. How can we more effectively pray?In 2004, Matthew Barnes began to call Hoosiers to pray for their leaders, and he established the Public Servants’ Prayer ministry. He developed an e-reminder system as part of the ministry that gives intercessors three elected leaders to pray for each day. Having seen the Lord’s blessing on this ministry here, he has expanded this portion of the ministry to all fifty states. Go to the Public Servants’ Prayer website to sign up for daily or weekly email/Facebook/Twitter reminders to pray for specific leaders in your state.

What have been the results here? As Matt has ministered to public servants over the last eight years, as he has prayed for them, and as he has encouraged churches to pray for their leaders, God has brought significant changes in our state. Christians have stepped up and are making conscious efforts to meet individually with their elected officials to develop relationships with them and learn how better to pray for them. One elected leader who is a Christian recently said: “I don’t know exactly what you are doing, but whatever it is, don’t stop! It is working.”

wrote last year about the prayer service just prior to the beginning of the legislative session. This year, approximately 450 people attended the event in the atrium of the statehouse, including a majority of the 150 lawmakers of the House and Senate. The Speaker of the House prefaced his opening prayer by reminding the participants that we had gathered because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that because of the work of Jesus, if we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thirty minutes of prayers in Jesus’ name followed from a variety of political, civic, and pastoral leaders. It’s a great blessing to hear Christian members of opposing parties pray for one another to the one true God just before they take up their work. More than just those present were praying, however. The increasing interest in the prayer service seems to be a barometer of swelling numbers of Christians praying at home, too.

My children and I soon sat in the House gallery as that body convened and heard the opening statements from leaders of the minority and majority caucuses. I was mindful that much sin remains and that we as a state do not glorify God as we ought. Of course, legislation must be passed and policies set that do glorify God. But as we sat in the gallery it was also obvious that God was already answering the prayers of the prior hour. When God’s people pray expectantly, he often opens doors of ministry right and left. Through such ministry, he changes people; in turn, he changes a whole state. Matthew Henry affirmed the same when he wrote that when God designs mercy for a people: “first he brings them to their duty and pours out a spirit of prayer upon them, and then brings salvation to them.”

Perhaps our statehouse is unique in having a privately-organized Christian prayer service with such strong participation as a preface to the new legislative assemblies. But, nine years ago, this prayer time did not exist. Humanly speaking, it came about through the diligent prayer and labor of one man who has sought to take 1 Timothy 2:1-2 seriously and who has diligently called others to do the same. May the Lord raise up laborers to do the same in other states!

 

http://gentlereformation.com/2013/01/16/praying-for-public-officials/


Prayer for Public Officials

A Call to Prayer

2 Timothy 1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3For this isgood and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time


Feb 10, 2015

Focus on the Family’s Vice President of Government and Public Policy, Carrie Gordon Earll, discusses why we should pray for our public officials.

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Cleaning House

Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 1 Peter 2:1

Recently, I switched rooms in the home I rent. This took longer than expected, because I didn’t want to simply transfer my (extensive) mess to a new room; I wanted a completely fresh and uncluttered start. After hours and hours of cleaning and sorting, bags of stuff sat by the front door to be thrown away, donated, or recycled. But at the end of this exhausting process was a beautiful room I was excited to spend time in.

My housecleaning project gave me a fresh perspective when reading 1 Peter 2:1, as paraphrased in The Message: “So, clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy, and hurtful talk.” Interestingly, it’s after a joyful confession of their new life in Christ (1:1–12) that Peter urges them to throw away destructive habits (1:13–2:3). When our walk with the Lord feels cluttered and our love for others feels strained, this shouldn’t cause us to question our salvation. We don’t change our lives to be saved, but because we are (1:23).

Heavenly Father, thank You for the new life You are building in us through our Lord Jesus.

As real as our new life in Christ is, bad habits learned do not disappear overnight. So, on a daily basis, we need to “clean house,” throwing away all that prevents us from fully loving others (1:22) and growing (2:2). Then, in that new, clean space, we can experience the wonder of being freshly built (v. 5) by Christ’s power and life.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the new life You are building in us through our Lord Jesus. Help us to daily turn to You for cleansing and renewal.

Every day we can reject destructive habits and experience new life in Jesus.

By Monica Brands 

INSIGHT:The Scriptures include both the good and the bad of Peter’s life. After Jesus’s arrest, Peter denied even knowing Jesus, but later proclaimed Him to be the Son of God. Peter struggled to be consistent in his relationship with Christ. Perhaps that is why we can relate to his story.

Writing to an audience of Jews and Gentiles, Peter encourages growth in salvation.Once we are saved, our journey has merely begun (1 Peter 2:2–3). Therefore, Peter encourages us to live an examined life, ridding ourselves of things that hinder our growth (v. 1) and keep us from loving each other (1:22). But this is only half the journey; the other half is “craving pure spiritual milk”—desiring and partaking of spiritual food through God’s Word, which results in developing good habits.

Are there habits you need to “rid yourself” of? What can you replace them with?

For more on developing a relationship with God, read Living an Authentic Christian Life at discoveryseries.org/hp111. J.R. Hudberg

Mighty in Spirit

Ephesians 3:14-16

Everyone wants to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit. To become physically fit, we need to exercise our muscles vigorously and regularly. If our goal is to be stable in soul (our thoughts, will, and emotions), then we must apply our minds to learning and train ourselves to be self-controlled. However, to become mighty in spirit requires something more than self-effort.

You see, none of us were born with a spiritual connection to God. Because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, we were all dead in our sins and separated from the Lord (Eph. 2:1). No amount of personal effort can bring an individual to life spiritually. Although we are unable to change this condition for ourselves, nothing is impossible for God (Matt. 19:26). By accepting Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross as payment for our sins, we are forgiven, reconciled to God, and made alive in our spirit (Eph. 2:5). This is the beginning step of the Christian life.

Once we are born again, the indwelling Holy Spirit teaches us how to view life as Jesus did, embrace His values and priorities, and follow His example. The more we yield to the Spirit’s control, the sooner we’ll be transformed into Christ’s image, equipped to carry out the Lord’s will, and strengthened in our inner spirit to serve Him.

God desires followers who will dedicate themselves to His plan and serve as ambassadors for Christ to a lost and hurting world. He doesn’t expect that we will train ourselves for this task—He has sent His Holy Spirit to prepare us for the work ahead. Have you answered His call to service?

Called and Chosen

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)

Note the order established by God in His great plan of salvation. God had chosen these Thessalonian believers to salvation even before they were born, for it was from the beginning. Then He called them, and they heard the gospel, believed the truth, and were sanctified (that is, “set apart”) by the Holy Spirit, eventually destined to be glorified in Christ.

To accomplish this, however, the Spirit used human messengers. He first, in a vision, directed Paul to go to Greece to preach the gospel (Acts 16:9), where he eventually reached Thessalonica and taught the truth to those he found in the synagogue. However, of the many who were “called” as Paul preached and taught, only “some of them believed” (17:4). Most of his listeners had not been “chosen,” so they resisted the “call” and refused to believe. As Jesus said, “Many be called, but few [are] chosen” (Matthew 20:16).

Such a truth may be difficult to understand with our finite minds, but (like Paul) “we are bound to give thanks” that we who believe today, like the Thessalonian believers then, have been both “chosen . . . in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4) and also “called . . . out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

This same mysterious but glorious truth is found throughout Scripture. “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. . . . What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28, 31). HMM

Come, I have chosen you out of the world

Judges 3:1-15, 31

Judges 3:1, 2

Surrounded as they were by warlike nations, the Lord meant his people to be expert in war, and therefore kept them in marching order, by leaving certain nations near at home to be a trouble to them. The church also is meant to be a militant army, and therefore the Lord will not allow everything to go smoothly with us.

Judges 3:6

Ungodly marriages are the source of abounding evil. We must maintain the separated condition of the people of God, or else we shall fall into sin and pierce ourselves through with many sorrows. We are not of the world, and we must not act as if we were.

Judges 3:7

They grew accustomed to talk of Baal and the thick trees in which he was worshipped; by and by they reverenced the lying vanities of the idolaters, and at last their treacherous memories forgot their God. Beware of sin’s sliding-scale.

Judges 3:8

This king reigned at a great distance, but God will find a rod for rebels, even if he sends hundreds of miles for it.

Judges 3:9-11

Othniel had been brave in his youth, and it is pleasant to hear of him in his old age. If we serve God well in the morning of life, we may be sure that he will honour us before the day is over.

Judges 3:12

Repetition of sin greatly increases guilt.

This time the oppressor was nearer home, and the punishment more severe.

Judges 3:15

This man struck a deadly blow at Eglon, and so delivered his country. God will use men of any kind for his work sooner than allow the cries of his people to remain unheard.

Judges 3:31

Rough as he was, Shamgar was honoured of God, and his humble weapon is laid up among the most renowned treasures of the Lord’s armoury. God can use us for great purposes, and he will do so, if we have real faith in him, and full submission to his will.

 

Beset with darkness, pressed with cares,

To God, in grief, I cried;

His mercy listened to my prayers,

His hand my wants supplied.

 

Oh, magnify the Lord with me!

His might, his mercies, prove!

How blest his sway! oh, taste and see

How vast, how kind, his love!

 

Are You a Revealer Or Are You a Concealer?

James 3:8

Have you ever felt stabbed in the back by someone who repeated secret information you had shared with him? How did you feel when you realized that person had betrayed his commitment to keep that information confidential?

Has there ever been a time when you were guilty of repeating something that someone shared with you, trusting that you would keep it in confidence? Or have you ever been guilty of listening to someone who was gossiping about someone else, thereby showing yourself to be an unfaithful friend to the person who was being discussed?

In Second Corinthians 12:20, Paul forbids gossip, using the Greek word psithurismos, which expresses the idea of a gossiper. In the King James Version, it is translated as the word “whisperings,” because those who repeat or listen to gossip know this kind of talk is wrong and could get them in trouble; therefore, they whisper their tidbits of information in secret rather than in public. However, a better translation for psithurismos would be to gossip.

Perhaps there is nothing more distressful than the behavior of a talebearer—one who meddles in other people’s affairs and repeats information that is none of his business to tell. This kind of person is continually putting his nose where it doesn’t belong and often makes a situation worse because people begin to talk, talk, and talk. Usually a talebearer doesn’t have all the facts; thus, he needlessly stirs up a lot of trouble as people begin to form opinions and take sides regarding situations they know very little about.

Proverbs 11:13 says, “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” So here are some questions to consider:

  • When people think of you, do they think of you as a talebearer who repeats everything you hear, or do they find you to be confidential, private, and trustworthy?
  • Do you have the reputation of being able to conceal a matter, or do people think you are two-faced and have loose lips?
  • Are your friends certain that if someone starts to say something negative about them, you will walk away, refusing to listen to that rumor? Or do they worry that you might listen to gossip that is being spread about them?

Every listener has the ability to walk away from a conversation. No one has the right to force dirt into another person’s ears.

You have a choice! You can either pull up a chair, draw closer to the gossiper, open your ears, and let him start whispering what he has heard about what he thinks he knows—or you can choose to walk away and refuse to listen to him.

Let me ask you this: Haven’t there been many times in the past when you should have said, “Excuse me, but should we be talking like this?” Or maybe you should have said, “Excuse me, but I don’t believe it is right for us to talk like this, and I cannot be a part of this conversation.” When you chose to listen to the gossip instead of walking away, how did you feel afterwards—clean or dirty, faithful or unfaithful and tarnished? Were you glad you listened to those words that were whispered to you behind closed doors?

When you turn and walk away from a gossiper, you literally paralyze his ability to discuss things that are not his business to discuss. You see, in order for the words of a gossip to be successful, there must be two parties involved—the gossiper and the listener. Without a listener, the gossiper’s voice is silenced. If there is no one to listen, there is nothing to tell! This is exactly why Proverbs 26:20 says, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.”

When people start to “run at the mouth” and repeat information that isn’t theirs to tell, be brave enough to simply tell them: “Excuse me, but this conversation makes me uncomfortable; I don’t think I want to be a part of it.” By the same token, if you’re tempted to talk with others about the private business of someone else, refuse to do it, even if the information is factual!

People mistakenly assume that if the information they are “telling” is accurate, then it isn’t gossip. But why would gossip be more acceptable to God just because a person is repeating accurate information about someone else’s affairs? It’s still none of that person’s business. Besides, even when people think they are repeating accurate information, most of the time it isn’t accurate. But accurate or not, no one has the right to go around delving into other people’s business.

Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Why did Solomon refer to the long-term effects of gossip as “wounds”? Consider this:

  • Gossip permanently blemishes our view of the person being discussed.
  • Once that picture gets into our minds, it’s very hard to erase it. It is simply a fact that we almost never forget a bad report we have heard about someone else.
  • Every time we see the person about whom we heard the gossip, that rumor will be resurrected in our minds. It becomes a wound, a mark, a stain in our memory.

So make the decision today to refrain from gossiping. Be a man or woman of God, and refuse to even listen to it! The next time someone starts to “run at the mouth” and talk about things that are not his to decide or to discuss, confront that person about what he is doing. If he chooses to continue gossiping, walk away from him and maintain your integrity before God and before those who are being discussed.

So ask yourself this question: Am I a revealer, or am I a concealer? Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of discussing and debating things that don’t concern you. Certainly you have enough to deal with in your own life without jumping into the middle of situations where you have never been formally invited! If you’ll let the Holy Spirit help you, He will show you how to walk away from gossipers and thus maintain integrity with everyone. You will be able to go through life knowing that you haven’t listened to or been a participant in conversations that bring hurt and wounds to other people.

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I thank You for speaking to my heart today about gossip. Give me the power to tell others that I do not want to participate in talking about things that are not my business to decide or to discuss. Please forgive me for the times I’ve allowed myself to be caught up in conversations that didn’t glorify You and that wouldn’t be considered faithful by those who were being discussed. I repent for this, and today I am making the decision to walk away from such conversations from this moment forward!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I refrain from gossiping and refuse to listen to it! I am a faithful friend, and I conceal a matter when it has been made known to me. I don’t allow myself to fall into the trap of discussing and debating things that don’t concern me. Because the Holy Spirit helps me, I know how to walk away from any conversation that doesn’t glorify God. I do not listen to or participate in conversations that cause hurts and wounds in other people’s lives.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you ever been guilty of tarnishing another person’s opinion of someone by gossiping—telling the person information that was not yours to tell?
  2. Has anyone ever told other people information about you as if he or she had the facts—but the information was incorrect? When you heard what that person said about you, how did it affect you? Were you shocked to hear what he or she believed and repeated to others?
  3. What do you think makes people want to gossip? What pleasure does it give the flesh to tell nitty-gritty details about other people’s personal business or affairs?

 

How Do You Respond To Seemingly Impossible Circumstances?

With fear or faith?

 

King Saul and his son Jonathan illustrate both:

 

SAUL, panics as he sees his troops deserting him while on a military skirmish as they await the priest’s appearance to offer a sacrifice. So Saul steps in and presumptuously assumes the priest’s religious duty.

 

I saw that the men were scattering.” – Frazzled by circumstances.

 

I thought, Now the Philistines will come down against me… ‘” – Ruled by fear.

 

I felt compelled to offer burnt offerings.” – Prompted by emotions.

 

The consequences? Saul is disenfranchised as king, (and dies a premature death):

 

Now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leaderbecause you have not kept the Lords command.” (1 Samuel 13:14)

 

JONATHAN, by contrast, is vastly out-numbered by the Philistine army, yet chooses to believe God to use him in defeating them.

 

Come, lets go over to the Philistines” – Scoped out the enemy.

 

Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf” – Made himself available to be used of God.

 

Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” – Believed God could use him to destroy the enemy.

 

The consequences? Jonathan victoriously destroys enemy forces.

 

SAUL saw challenging circumstances through the eyes of fear and failed.

 

JONATHAN saw challenging circumstances through the eyes of faith and succeeded. (1 Samuel 13:1-14:23)

 

QUESTION: When you are faced with difficult circumstances that appear to be overwhelmingly impossible, what do you do? Panic, like Saul and resort to your own solutions? Or do you, like Jonathan trust God, and see Him come through with His solution?

 

 

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