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

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yet Even Now!

Gary Stebbins
Church on the Rock - Melbourne

At COTRM we recently completed a series on the book of Joel. One of the take aways for me was a clear picture of how God would have a people respond when their nation is in a time of national crisis.

There is much power in the "fervent prayer of a righteous" man, but when it comes to national issues it is going to take a corporate response. The church must gather together to seek the heart of God and intercede on behalf of their nation.

Two verses from Joel have spoken to my heart concerning how God would have us respond to Him in times of crisis: "12 Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13 And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil." (Joel 2.12-13)

To "return" means to turn back, not in the sense that I must turn back to the beginning and start all over, but turn back to where I drifted in my heart and devotion from God's heart. The word can also mean to turn away. We turn back to God and at the same time turn away from those activities that distract us from God and His divine purposes for our lives.

Jeremiah spoke to Israel some very encouraging and instructive words when they had wandered from Him: "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jer 29:13)

As we turn back to God, turn away from distractions, and seek God with all our heart, we will find Him. He is yearning for us to search for Him.

In the above verses Joel leaves us with incredible hope and gives us great insight into the character and attributes of our God: "He is gracious and compassionate, He is slow to anger, He is abounding in
lovingkindness, He is relenting of evil." (Joel 2.13)

I thank God both for His admonition to bring my life in alignment with His heart, and His reminder to me that we serve a good and gracious God.

Yet even now! Can we find the time to pray and seek our God together for our nation?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Simply Devotion

Tim Franklin,
Freedom Christian Center

At our next MyHOP gathering at Freedom Christian Center, on Friday October 7th, we will do something a little different during our first prayer target time. Typically we would begin the evening praying into a designated prayer target. But, on October 7th, we will begin by doing a devotional set.

What is a devotional set? I am so glad you ask! Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, (available free on line, is a dictionary with definitions of words prior to secular humanists taking God out of our educational books) defines devotional as: the state of being dedicated, consecrated, or solemnly set apart for a particular purpose. A solemn attention to the Supreme Being in worship; a yielding of the heart and affections to God, with reverence, faith and piety, in religious duties, particularly in prayer and meditation; devotedness. Therefore a devotional set will be a time in which we dedicate, consecrate, set ourselves apart to God for a particular purpose. As we consecrate ourselves, we will be giving to Him the affections of our heart.

What will this look like when its happening? Another great question! The worship team will be ministering to the Lord in simple songs that you will probably already know. They may be singing or they may just be playing. Either way, it will not be a time to pray at the mic as we usually do, but it will be a time to enter into His Presence. You may start by loving Him. You may need to start by confessing your own sin. The thrill of this is knowing that you are in a room full of other people who are doing the same! Each one wanting to be closer to God. Each one wanting to be more dedicated at a deeper level.

What do I do? Such great questions! Feel free to kneel, walk around, pray, sit and meditate, worship, dance before the Lord etc. Don’t draw attention to yourself or do things that will be disruptive to others who are connecting with God. You may simply choose to ‘soak’ in the Presence--just be still and know that He is God. There is momentum (forward movement with mass) when people of like mind and purpose gather to a God who desires to show himself strong!

See you at MyHOP, Friday October 7th, 7 p.m.