Dangerous Holiness Prayers

By David A. Gallimore

Several years ago I was on a personal journey for more of God.  I was hungry for a fresh Word.  While reading Psalm 139:23-24 one day, I discovered what I call “5 Dangerous Prayers” that have literally revolutionized my relationship with Jesus Christ.  I have prayed these prayers every day for the last 20 years and it has been an incredible ride.  However, let me warn you…these prayers are dangerous!  They will mess you up!  I say that in the “best” of ways. At the end of the day these prayers will produce a fully sanctified and surrendered life.

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DANGEROUS PRAYER #1:  Search Me

Picture yourself going to the doctor and getting on the examination table. You put yourself in a vulnerable position where the doctor can perform the examination.  You give up control, privacy, etc.  It can actually be an uncomfortable experience.  Would you be willing to get on God’s examination table and say, “I give you permission to search every area of my heart, mind and soul?”  

DANGEROUS PRAYER #2:  Break Me

I must confess when I first prayed these prayers my attitude was cavalier at best:  “Go ahead God…search me…I think I’m doing pretty good.  I’ve grown up in the Holiness Movement.  I know how to do church the RIGHT way!”  I had no idea what I was in store for. I started praying these prayers and God started breaking me of what I will call for lack of a better term, “spiritual pride.”  I began to realize new growth comes when old habits and attitudes are broken.  To say it even stronger…there is room for repentance even in the saved and sanctified life.

DANGEROUS PRAYER #3:  Stretch Me

When I first began praying these prayers God led me out of a very comfortable pastorate into a cutting edge multi-cultural church that forever changed my perspective of ministry.  Hymn books were replaced by Hillsong, suits and ties were now shorts and tee shirts, and testimonies changed from “I’ve been saved and sanctified for 50 years,” to one innocent but enthusiastic biker who shouted from the altar to a packed congregation, “this is the greatest day of my life…God just saved the Hell out of me this morning!”  Was I ever being stretched out of my comfort zone!  I had the privilege of baptizing 50 new converts one Sunday.  Three women approached the baptistry in two piece bathing suits!  I got all mixed up.  I’m thinking to myself “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” what am I going to hold on to!  We got on the phone in the church office on Monday morning and ordered baptismal robes.  That took care of that problem.  Watch out when you pray these prayers.  

They’re dangerous!

DANGEROUS PRAYER #4:  Lead Me

King David prayed “lead me in the way everlasting.”  For the past twenty years I have prayed that God would daily lead me out of my comfort and safety zones into a life of radical obedience.  After serving the church as a pastor for many years, God called me into a fulltime itinerant ministry of evangelism.  I tried to reason with God about this…it’s not 1950, most churches do not have revival meetings anymore, we will starve to death!  I ran the numbers on the calculator and they did not add up, but I kept praying these prayers.  Lead me Lord…I’ll follow.  We took this huge step of faith and left the security of a great church that was taking wonderful care of me and my family and we found that when you trust and obey, God always provides.  For the past 10 years I have averaged preaching 45 evangelistic meetings a year here in America and abroad.  What I’m saying is that you can trust God with your life.

DANGEROUS PRAYER #5:  Use Me

When all is said and done, has your life counted for the Kingdom’s sake?  The mantra of this world is “he who has the most toys at the end wins.”  My prayer for you today is that God would deliver us from the wisdom and ways of this world and that we would be willing to live fully surrendered lives that say “I am available today God…lead me to the person who needs you most and use me to be a winning witness.”

Would you be courageous enough to pray these five prayers every day?  Remember the disclaimer…the fine print…they are dangerous, but they have the potential to radically revolutionize your life.  May God bless you as you start the adventure.

This article was originally posted at Holiness Legacy.

Three Things Muslims Can Teach Christians About Prayer

By Sofya Shahab

Just because we believe differently doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention

I knew I would love Afghanistan before I even arrived. As a student of arts, it is easy to romanticize the Middle East, drawn to its exotic mysticism, history and culture.

My first nights in Kabul were spent sleeplessly listening to the helicopters passing overhead, wondering what was happening and where they were going. At 4 a.m., the city would receive its wakeup, every Mosque sounding out the call to prayer, rousing Afghans and expat alike.

In each country, the call to prayer is slightly different, and while Afghanistan is far from the worst, I certainly didn’t welcome the local Muezzin intruding on my sleep.

But it didn’t take long for my body to tune out the nightly chorus of Kabul, much as those living near railways learn to adjust to the noise of passing trains. Ten months later, I now appreciate the intrusion of prayer time throughout my day as I have realized how much there is to learn about my own faith from my Muslim colleagues.

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Christians and Muslims obviously have very different beliefs. As Christians, we need to be firm on that, and not compromise what we know to be true from the Bible. But there has to be a dedication to learning from our neighbor while holding true to our faith.

Think of Malala Yousafzai’s recent statements to Jon Stewart on the importance of turning the other cheek. Or of Eboo Patel’s tremendous work in the area of creating interfaith dialogue. These are Muslims who have lived out something that is beautifully true. And, as is often said, all truth is God’s truth.

In that interest, I’ve seen three things Christians can learn from Muslims about Prayer:

Discipline

A majority of the Christians I know will spend the first part of their day in morning devotions, rising perhaps 30 minutes before the rush to get ready begins in order to spend time with God. But I’m not sure I know many how would wake at dawn, no matter how early it falls, in order to pray.

To me, to get up with the sun each day demonstrates an uncontainable excitement for God. There are far too many mornings where it is all too easy to hit the snooze button and simply relegate God to later in the day.

Utilizing the call to prayer as a reminder to take time out and invest in a relationship with God teaches a discipline that can often be lacking. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you must stop in order to read, worship or reflect. It puts God at the center of your life and physically demonstrates that He is more important than any other concerns you may have as they come second to Him.

Reverence

Seeing the preparations for prayer that Muslims go through can change the way in which we approach God. Removing their shoes and washing their hands, face and feet; they are making themselves clean.

While the blood of Christ has already done that for us, it is a poignant reminder that our God is a Holy God who we should come before with reverence. He may be our Father who loves us, but that does not mean we should come before Him lightly.

One of the beautiful things about the cross is it has removed the barriers between us and God, so that we can raise our voice to Him, sharing our needs and joy whenever it strikes us. But maybe we should also picture who God truly is when we talk to Him. He is the God of Moses who said “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5) And the God of Revelation 4, who shines out from His throne like precious stones.

Community

Praying five times a day, whether at the Mosque, in the office or in the home creates a sense of unity amongst Muslims, whether they are literally together or spread throughout the world.

I was raised in an evangelical Baptist church, so it was not until I came to Afghanistan that I first experienced the liturgy. I was surprised by how much I enjoy it.

One friend who has recently been working her way through The Divine Hours explained how praying a prayer that you know someone else somewhere else will be taking up after you feeds into a community that represents the true body of Christ, regardless of denomination or location, creating “a cascade of praise before the throne of God,” as Phyllis Tickle says in her book The Divine Hours.

In some ways, it is easier to be a Christian in Afghanistan than it is in England. There is a value and worth placed on religion that is often dismissed within secular cultures. Although Christians and Muslims obviously disagree about a lot of aspects of who God is and how we relate to Him, there is much we can learn from each other.

 

This article was originally posted at: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/worldview/3-things-muslims-can-teach-christians-about-prayer

“But God”

The following article was originally posted at: “Moments With The Book

When reading the Scriptures, one cannot help but notice the oft-repeated expression “But God…” These two words signal a change, a contrast, or a clarification is coming next. “But God.” What follows this significant transition is intended to challenge our faith and change our life. When He is brought into the picture, God makes all the difference. Realizing that some who read this paper may not have a Bible to look up the references, we will quote some of the “But God” verses, while urging all to look up others and read the supporting contexts.

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But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, …to save much people alive (Genesis 50:20).

Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee (Deuteronomy 23:5).

And [Samson] was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of Thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived (Judges 15:18,19).

And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand (1 Samuel 23:14).

And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15).

Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah (2 Chronicles 32:7,8).

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever (Psalm 73:26).

But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth (Psalm 86:15).

They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge (Psalm 94:21,22).

The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind (Isaiah 17:13).

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever (Isaiah 40:8).

Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days (Daniel 2:27,28).

So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered (Jonah 4:6,7).

When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:25,26).

When Jesus saw their faith, He said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this Man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only? (Mark 2:5-7).

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 12:19-21).

And [Jesus] said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15).

But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12,13).

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).

And [Peter] said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean (Acts 10:28).

They took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead (Acts 13:29,30).

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:7,8).

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (1 Corinthians 1:26,27).

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6,7).

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God (2 Corinthians 3:5).

For indeed [Epaphroditus] was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also (Philippians 2:27).

 

New Beginnings

By Scott Armstrong

Need a new beginning in your life, in your city, or in your church? God specializes in helping us start afresh. 

God gives us fresh songs of praise.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” (Ps. 40:3)

God is in the heart-transplant business.

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ez. 11:19)

In the driest wilderness, God’s refreshing fountain springs forth!

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Is. 43:19)

God changes minds, attitudes, and entire selves so that we are like him!

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24)

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God truly makes ALL things new.

“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” (Is. 65:17)

In Christ, God gives us a fresh start.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

The new beginning does not have to wait – God’s mercies are new every morning!

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lam. 3:22-23)

Even at the end of the story, God starts another one.

“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (Rev. 21:5)

 

Compassion for the Lost

Rev. Ken Childress

Isaiah chapter 6, verse 8: “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, here am I! Send me.”

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Is it possible, after we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, to be satisfied with what we see? What made Jesus weep over Jerusalem? He had a heart of compassion. There are sin-sick souls everywhere. We need a baptism of love that goes to the bottom of the disease. We need to cry to God until He brings us up to the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

Jesus told a parable about “a certain man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves” (Luke 10:30). Who among those who passed by and saw his predicament was his neighbor? The one who had mercy on him and helped him (vv. 36-37). Are we awake to the great fact that God has given us eternal life? With the power God has put at our disposal, how can we rest as we look out upon our neighbors? How we have sinned against God? How we lack this spirit of compassion! Do we weep as we look out upon the unsaved? If not, we are not full of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was moved with compassion. Are you?

We have not yet grasped the plight of the unsaved. Since my seminary days, I have had several friends who went to the mission field, I have a little less dim idea of what it meant that God so loved the world that He GAVE Jesus (John 3:16). God gave Jesus. What does that mean? COMPASSION. “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). If you have no power, you have not repented. You are thinking, “That’s hard language.” It is truth.

Who is your brother’s keeper? (See Genesis 4:9). Who is the son and heir? (See Galatians 4:7). Are you salted? (See Matthew 5:13). Do you have a pure life? Don’t be fooled; don’t live in a false position. The world wants to know how to be saved, and power is at our disposal. Will we meet the conditions? God says, “If you will, I will.” God will do it.

Daniel knew the time in which he was living; he responded to God, and a nation was saved. Nehemiah met God’s conditions for his time, and the city was rebuilt. God has made the conditions. He will pour out His Spirit on His people.

If we do not go on, we will have it to face. It may be up to us to bring the Gospel to the nations and our city. We can win the world for Jesus. We can turn the tap on. What is the condition? It is unconditional surrender. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” Zech. 4:6). Holiness opens the windows of heaven. The Spirit of God will be poured out without measure, until the people say, “What must we do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

With the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes a demolishing of the whole man and a compassion for the world we live in.

8 Things I’ve learned About Overcoming Porn Addiction – Part 2 of 2

This is part two of the article published in the previous post.

  1. Accountability is More Than Just Once a Week

There are 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week and approximately 720 hours in a month. Do we really think that sitting across from someone for 1-2 hours out of 168 and 4-8 hours out of 720 should be called effective accountability? No, it shouldn’t.

Accountability frequently just turns into a checklist of how you have or have not messed up. Real community is more intentional, and more natural. Have a group of friends that you’re living life with—who are much more to you than just a sin prevention mechanism.

If pornography is a part of your life, you need to find a few people that can help fill up some of those hours with genuine friendship—the benefits will be far greater than just kicking your pornography habit. And If you aren’t addicted to porn, you need to be one of those people who is there for someone who is.

  1. Don’t Let Your Guard Down

I sat across from a friend who told me that he had looked at pornography after about 30 days of not looking at it. When I asked him why he did that, he said that he began to celebrate the victory and let his guard down.

I have more “roadblocks” today than ever before. I can say that I have no desire to look at pornography anymore, but I’m not going to test that knowledge by becoming lazy.

On a similar note, nothing good happens late at night. Staying up late when there is no reason to do so can lead to all kinds of garbage. Just go to bed.

  1. If You’re Free, Shout It From the Mountain Tops.

If you are free from pornography, listen to me: you need to tell people.

I had a guy sit across from me bawling his eyes out while telling me he had never met anyone other than me who was free from addiction to pornography. It broke my heart, not because I thought that was true, but because even the free are being quiet. You hold hope for so many. Help them.

  1. Freedom is Yours. Claim It.

In my reflections on this, I’ve thought many times about Jesus’ work on earth. He lived, died and rose from the dead. I am free from the law of sin and death because of that. I am free.

I discovered that I fought and kicked and clawed and begged for what I possessed all along: Freedom. You have every tool you need to overcome this when you have Jesus. You just have to walk that freedom out, and let others help you along that path.

This article was originally posted at: https://relevantmagazine.com

8 Things I’ve learned About Overcoming Porn Addiction – Part 1 of 2

This article was originally posted at Relevant Magazine.

When I was barely in double digits, I was introduced to pornography by a friend.

As intriguing as it was, I knew it wasn’t right. What I didn’t know though was that I would choose to walk down a road that saw me addicted to that nonsense for over 15 years.

I spent money on my addiction. I lost relationships because of my addiction. I became numb toward God because of my addiction. I reached a point in life where I had literally spent more of my life addicted to porn than not.

Talking about porn, even freedom from it, makes people, especially Christians, uncomfortable. We can be pretty hush-hush on the subject. We don’t like to talk about the problem itself, or, curiously, even that some are free from it. Some don’t want to talk about the “why?” when it comes to addiction or freedom. I do.

In November of 2013, I celebrated 6 years “sober” from pornography. Here are eight things I have learned along the way:

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  1. A “Little Problem” is Still a Problem

Don’t fool yourself.

Don’t Fool Yourself. If you look at porn, you have a problem with porn.

I’m constantly amazed at the number of people I talk to who think that if you don’t view porn frequently, it means you don’t have a problem. You may not have as big as a problem as someone else, but comparison is a dangerous game.

A little bit is the foundation for a lot. You have to stop before it becomes a bigger problem. Think if someone said to you, “But, I mean, you know, I just did a little bit of heroin this week!” Yes, you sound that ridiculous.

  1. The Blind Can’t Lead the Blind

If you were starting a business, would you go to someone who had little to no experience in business to ask advice on how to get started? Of course not.

The power of community is valuable, and there’s something healing about a finding solidarity with people going through the same struggles as you. That’s all well and good.

However, the blind can’t lead the blind. It’s like a bunch of blindfolded people in a jail cell with an open door stumbling around together hoping to fall through the opening. Funny mental picture. Poor usage of time.

But one thing that we don’t often consider is finding someone who isn’t addicted anymore and asking them how they found freedom. This is a different kind of community and confession than we might be used to—but it might also bear a different kind of fruit.

  1. Fantasy Doesn’t Make Reality Go Away

I found that I had a lot of wars between fantasy and reality. The crazy thing is that when you are done with fantasy, reality is always sitting there waiting for you when you come home.

Just like with any other addiction, if you look at porn in order to cope with stress, or because you are dissatisfied with life in some way, you aren’t actually solving the problem, you’re compounding it.

  1. Marriage Won’t ‘Cure’ You

It just won’t. Most people’s problem is not the lack of sex. As a matter of fact, you will probably have to “unlearn” desires that you take into the marriage bed because of your addiction.

Marriage may mask the problem for a while, but I haven’t met a person yet that was addicted to porn before marriage, and never looked at it again after saying, “I do.” If you don’t get help before you enter into marriage, you will only end up hurting yourself and your spouse more.

This article will continue in the next post.