And He said to them, "It is written,'My house shall be called a house of prayer,’…”
Matthew 21:13 NKJV

Monday, August 30, 2010

Liar, Liar

Tony Hauck, Church on the Rock - Mebourne

Satan is a liar. (I know, duh.) But have you ever considered what he most likes to lie about? The devil really doesn’t care that much about us, or attacking us. We’re just tools. The real attack is against the knowledge of God. God has promised the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the earth. (Hab 2:14) Satan tries to suppress that. So you can go to church all you want and pretty much get left alone. It’s when you become the fragrance of the knowledge of God that the devil has to try to put a stop to it.

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. “ (2 Cor 2:14)

So what does he lie about? Primarily, he lies to us about God; more specifically, about God’s character. He tries to get Christians to doubt God’s love, faithfulness, and wise leadership. “Did God really say…?” (Gen 3:1) is still his first, best weapon. He knows if he can get us to question God, we’ll get offended at God in difficult times. No more fragrance of the knowledge of the Lord.

This is why it’s so important to know the word, and to go by what God says about Himself, not our feelings or circumstances. And it’s critical that we trust His plan and methods as we near the end times. To do anything else isn’t just doubt; it’s calling into question God’s integrity.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord

Pastor Gary Stebbins
Church on the Rock-Melbourne

Faith is often a battle with our thoughts and our emotions. Our thoughts at times can be filled with unbelief and doubt, and our emotions can be driven by fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. God created us to be creatures that think and experience emotions. Our thoughts and our emotions are an important part of who we are. They help to define our personality and how we view and respond to life. However, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5, there is a place to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV). There are times in our lives when we must struggle to bring our thoughts and emotions into alignment with God’s Word. It is in this struggle that we will grow in our faith.

I was recently reading in the book of Job. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that Job experienced. At one point, after losing his children and much of his wealth, he “fell to the ground and worshiped.” He cried out to God and said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). The word Job used for “blessed” means to kneel, to bless God as an act of adoration. In the middle of extreme difficulties Job remembered His God and reaffirmed his love for Him. This was an act of devotion and prayer as Job turned to God in his crisis. He was bringing his thoughts and emotions into captivity to bless and thank God for who He was and all that He had meant to Job over the years. Learning how to bless God and thank God, in any season of life, should be an important part of our prayer life. Turning to God in times of crisis builds our faith in God. Throwing ourselves at His feet in prayer and offering up our devotion to Him draws us close to God. When you walk through difficult times with other people, it can bind you together at a deep level. The same is true in our relationship with God as we allow Him to be a part of our difficult times. We can do this by offering to God our love for Him and expressing our thanksgiving for who He is and has been in our lives. Our hearts are united together with God in a deep and intimate way. He becomes not just a friend, but a “strong tower” and a “place of refuge” from the troubled times swirling about us.

The expression of devotion and thanksgiving to God through prayer is an important part of building our relationship with Him. When my heart aches, I have found much comfort in getting before God and offering to Him my love, devotion, and thanksgiving in prayer. I may not be able to make sense out of my situation in the natural, but I can find comfort and hope as I cry out to God in prayer. I always come away strengthened.

How about you? In difficult times have you been able to cry out to God in prayer and find comfort? What part has thanksgiving played in your prayer life and your relationship with God?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Help! I Don’t Know What to Do!

Tim Franklin
Freedom Christian Center

Jesus declared in Mt 21:13, “My house, will be called a house of prayer.” We often focus on the prayer part of that passage, and we should. But think with me for a moment: Jesus is the one speaking, and His statement is “My House!” Wow! Jesus has a house! He has a dwelling place that has an identity and it can be found! It is called the House of Prayer. David initiated the House of Prayer under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. God wanted a house and He found a man to build it—David.

Prayer is not an option! Worship is not an option! These represent the place of encounter with the Living God! It was David who said, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

What I often find in the House of Prayer are people who do not know what to do. Let me try to answer this: “What am I to do in the House of Prayer?”
  1. Intimacy. It simply means to engage God. In other words He has your attention and you have His. You can compare it to intimacy in a marriage. Intimacy in a marriage is when a couple engages each other. You have her attention, she has yours.
  2. Intercession. In its simplest form intercession is me finding/hearing what God is praying and then praying it back to Him. It is a powerful form of agreement in prayer. What is Jesus praying about? Hearing that prayer and praying it back to Him. The prayer targets we cover in our MyHOP gatherings are things that we as leaders feel like God is putting on our hearts to pray and we pray it back to Him.
  3. Antiphonal praying/singing. Many people get lost here! Because they are now singing they feel they are no longer praying. The power of antiphonally singing our prayers is that we are filling the bowls of heaven (Rev 5:8). We hear the worship team sing a prayer that has been prayed at the microphone. Most generally they repeat it several times in song format. During that time we who are engaging God begin to sing the same prayer. “Lord we delight ourselves in You!” One singer can sing that and 200 people can antiphonally sing the prayer back at them! Heaven hears! Instead of ‘one cup’ of prayer going into a bowl it now becomes 201 ‘cups of prayer’ going in the bowl.
  4. Devotion. Many times in the atmosphere of Corporate prayer, we simply soak/get immersed/or positioned in the Presence of God. Interesting spiritual dynamics are released when we gather corporately together to seek Him and declare His greatness. In a crowd, I can suddenly find myself alone with God—enjoying Him, or He enjoying me. In a crowd, I can be alone receiving revelation from Him for my family, my work, or ministry. In the corporate anointing we are stimulated to pursue God because we are in a room with a bunch of like minded people who going after Him.
  5. Dwelling. If His house is a House of Prayer, it is His dwelling. If we come with the mindset of entering His dwelling, not a church building, we then walk straight into the first two points on our list: intimacy and intercession. He lives forever to intercede and His love is eternal toward us!
There is plenty to do while in the House of Prayer if you know what you should be doing. If you feel lost in the House, follow the team; they are going somewhere and you will be glad you came along!