Have you ever prayed to God for something and directly gained what you wanted?

Yes, but only when our will is conformed to God’s will. When we pray for what has already been decreed, it is a certainty. For instance, if one of the Apostles would have prayed for Christ to not be crucified, it still would have happened because it was decreed by God to happen. Does that mean there was some lack of sufficient faith on behalf of the Apostle?  No, of course not.  Our will is not sovereign.  God’s will is.  He accomplishes that which He intends to do.  He doesn’t try and fail like man.  If that Apostle would have prayed like Christ, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Then, the Apostle’s prayer would have obviously been answered. Prayer is not proof that there is, or is not a god. Prayer is something someone does who already believes there is God.

I Know Everyone is Preaching Unity, Love, and Acceptance, but…

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When the Bible talks about unity, it is for unity among the believers.  When the Bible talks about loving your brother, it is talking about your brother in Christ.  When it talks about acceptance, it is not about accepting sin.

The enemies of the gospel, Christ, and the cross are our enemies as well.  They are the ones who are sold out to Satan.  They hate the gospel, they hate Jesus, they pervert scripture, and they hate His sheep.  These people are not the same as the lost who are living their lives in ignorance.  The lost, for the most part are just plain ignorant about God.  They don’t really care.  The enemies of the gospel are different.  They have made up their minds.  They hate God, His Word, and His gospel.  They also hate His followers and everything that He says is good.

They push every sinful agenda you can think of.  These agendas are part of a larger, “Death Culture” worldview.  They love every defilement of what God says is good.  Just to name a few things; atheism, gender perversion, gay marriage/defilement of marriage, fornication, adultery, liberalizing of the Church, drug use, and so on.  They love anyone who agrees with them and they hate anyone who disagrees.  They preach tolerance while being some of the most intolerant people in the world.

So in the wake of this election, I’d like to share a different perspective and line of advice.  I am not preaching love, tolerance, peace, unity, and acceptance solely for their own sake.  No, I’m preaching being in the world, but not of it.  I’m preaching, put on the full armor of God, pray for your enemies…  they are your enemies.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are simply your neighbors and coworkers.  These are the folks that the Bible says will turn you over to the authorities to be martyred, your sons and daughters.

Remember folks, this is a life of death war, eternal life is on the line.  We are to blame for turning our Church services into entertainment for goats.  Church is for the saved of God, to give glory to God!  We are to worship Him together with our brothers and sisters.  We are to go out and be the ones who deliver the uncomfortable truth!  You are sinners!  Repent and believe the gospel!  Hell is real!  Jesus is God!

I don’t care how many people are triggered.  I want to trigger them all!  They need to be shaken down to their cores!  I don’t care how many of them are scared!  They very well should be scared!  They are headed straight to Hell for all eternity!  We need to scare them!  How else can we love our enemies?  This is true love, to tell them the truth, to give them the gospel that can convert their hearts.  So, offend them, offend them all in the name of God!

Christian Prayer, and the Sovereignty of God.

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Experientially, we know that Christian prayer can accomplish miracles. When we consider the omniscience, and sovereignty of God, we know that our prayers don’t change anything that has already been spoken by God, once and for all. We experience life one way. We think something that seems to contradict what we experience. If we can’t square them, it is because we are limited. Some people can justify the sovereignty of God with the experiences of the creature. We don’t look down on those who can’t. I would hope that those who can’t won’t look down on those of us who can.

Consider that God decrees the ends and the means. As I pray for something according to God’s will, as explained in the progressive revelation of His word, I am sanctified. My thoughts and feelings are focused on God and His will. The situation I am praying about changes. I attribute it to God answering my prayers. He willed it to happen by using me to pray at exactly the time He decreed, in the way He decreed, so He could answer in the way that He decreed. The reality of His decree was actual at the moment He spoke everything into being. We are part of that decree. We exist in space-time, when and where He decreed. As our reality unfolds, we are not able to perceive how eternity is experienced. If we can accept that there is an infinite instance that contains our finite, linear experience, and transcends it, then we can also appreciate how the sovereign decreed will of God, and the experience of man are related. Does prayer change things? Yes it does, in our material experience. It changes, here because it was changed before in eternity.

The Parable About the Persistent Widow is Not What You Think.

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Turns out the parable about the persistent widow in Luke 18 is not about annoying God into giving you what you want.  I know, that isn’t what you’ve been told.  I have heard it myself, “Folks let me tell ya whata.  If you are in need it is because you aren’t being persistent in petitioning Goda!  If you’ns would just get on your knees, and just ask Goda to give you the money for a new pickup, and do it every daya He would answers your prayers just like He’d done for that poor wida woman.  Can I geta amena!”

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ “For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge *said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
[Luke 18:1-8 NASB]

So you see that this parable is more about how God will answer the faithful prayers of those who are suffering injustice because He is just.  God is not an unjust judge.  He is the perfectly righteous and just judge.  As such, He does not act in anyways unfair.  “will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?”  Then to drive the point home Jesus says, “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.”  So you see, this isn’t a method to twist God’s arm to get Him to give you what you want.  After all we are told to not repeat prayers like the pagans in Matthew 6:7 “”And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
[Matthew 6:7 NASB]”

This brings up another question though.  What is meant by meaningles repetition?  Well I can tell you for sure it isn’t when you are in the throws of suffering and you are crying out to God for relief, and praying over and over for His help.  That kind of praying is what you should be doing.  We are talking about long winded, scripted or non-scripted prayers that are not from the heart, but rather to make you appear spiritual, or for any other purpose than the proper use of prayer.

I am not telling you to only pray once to God when you are deeply troubled.  If that is what you are getting out of this you are missing the point.  The point is don’t follow the prosperity preachers in some twisting of scripture as a formula for extorting God.  Got it Skippy?  Good.

Prayer and Communication With God.

There seems to be some confusion among Christians as to how God speaks to us. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Christians claim that God has spoken to them during prayer. Some of them, like “Deleted so as not to upset the applecart”, and “Deleted so as not to upset the applecart”, actually proclaim that, not only did God speak to them, but He told them to write what He said down, and tell everyone what He said. This puts their personal revelation in the same field as the divine revelation of the men used to write God’s word. So do we look to modern day Christians like these, as writing new books of the Bible? If not, why don’t we? After all, they claim to have been divinely inspired by saying that God spoke to them and told them to write it down and proclaim it to people. Does this bother you? Are you upset because you see me challenging a very popular lady who you like? What is it about what I am saying that is bothering you? I challenge you to ask yourself these questions and then compare your thoughts and feelings to God’s authoritative word. I exhort you, bring your thoughts and feelings into submissive subjection to God’s word.

Can you name for me people in the Bible who were spoken to by God directly who weren’t Adam and Eve, Patriarchs, Prophets Major/Minor, Jesus (God 2nd Personage of the Trinity,God incarnate) or the Apostles/Disciples of the foundational Church commissioned by Christ personally in that time? I just want you to think of what the normative and regulative principles are here. Seriously, take a moment and think about it. I’ll wait right here… … … … OK you’re back, great! So, what did you come up with? (leave comments)

The regulative principle would say that here and now we hear from God by reading His word, and His Holy Spirit indwelling us illumines it to our understanding, and we in our new life obey it. We trust His providence and we don’t presume to say, “Thus sayeth the Lord” and then proceed to claim a bunch of things in God’s name. That would be wrong.

The normative principle would imply that because we don’t see a prohibition to teaching that we can, “hear God” in our prayers, means that we can teach people to listen for God speaking to them in their prayers. What this looks like varies from group to group. Most would say that they get a thought in their mind and believe that it is from God. Then, they test it against scripture and see if it really is from God. I’ve seen some charismatic groups that take this to the extreme. They look for any scripture to twist and make fit. Then there are the false prophets of Mormonism, Islam, and Jehovah’s Witnesses that all claim personal extra-biblical revelation from God.

I would rather err on the side of faithfulness than selfishness or man-centeredness. I believe that I have had some of the sweetest times of communion with God while studying His word. I also believe that about times when I’ve prayed to God. There is a difference though. When I think that God has told me something, it is something I read in His word. When He hears from me is when I pray to Him. I know that He knows me and all of my thoughts before they happen. I know He knows me in perfect truth. I know He doesn’t need me to pray to Him for Him to know anything about me. I also know that He has told us to pray. He has told us how to pray. As we pray in obedience and in the Spirit, we align with God’s will and it sanctifies us. We also know that it is efficacious. We know that it accomplishes what God has ordained it to accomplish. We know then it is glorifying to God.

The danger with just considering the regulative principle is that we can become cold and ritualistic in prayer. We might end up just repeating very simple prayers because we believe that God knows it all anyway. This can become ritualized, but so can the other ditch we fall in. I’ve heard some wild charismatic prayers that are composed of Christianese modules strung together that frankly don’t mean much to anyone. This is one of the rituals in err on the other side. Another risk is to read too much into your prayer. I know you will all get bent out of shape for the mention of your favorite false teachers earlier but, the truth is that they have claimed extra-biblical revelation and have not recanted. They are plainly stating that they have personally heard God say to them, “X” and He told them to write it down and tell everyone else. He apparently has also told one of them, that He has given them the proper understanding of His word and everyone (the orthodox) else is wrong. Let’s be better at discerning the truth, by reading the truth, and knowing the truth. That way when these false teachers come along, I won’t have to delete their names so all the Christians on broth won’t get bent and make personal attacks on me for allegedly bashing their favorite flavor of false teachings this month.