Not As I Will…

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14–15)

I don’t know about you, but I have a big list of “wants” this year as our country readies itself to elect a new leader.  I want a leader who has Biblical values.  I want a leader who has strong moral conviction and will not compromise it.  I want a leader who is easy on my wallet and hard on terrorists.  I want a bigger stronger military and a smaller government.  I want to keep my guns, keep my healthcare, and frankly…I just want to keep my sanity.  My list could go on and on, but you get my point.  I have given my list to prayer and I pray A LOT for it.  I have been praying for a president who will give me the greatest chance of my seeing my list fulfilled. I want the president that I “will” to be elected to the office of this great nation.

However…do you realize that God has already made His choice for president.  The God of the Bible is a sovereign God, an omniscient One, who ordains powers and all who are in authority.  He has a divine will and in all of our praying, it is important that we keep in mind that God will not change His eternal purposes at the word of men.  A.W. Tozer in the book “The Price of Neglect” said this, “We do not pray in order to persuade God to change His mind.  Prayer is not an assault upon the reluctance of God, nor an effort to secure a suspension of His will for us or for those for whom we pray.  Prayer is not intended to overcome God and ‘move His arm’.  God will never be other than Himself, no matter how many people pray, nor how long, nor how earnestly.”  In other words…our prayers, for the president of our choice, will not change the mind of our God.  He has already ordained it. No one persuades Him.

“So why even pray?” you ask.  Well, we need to start praying according to God’s will and not our own.  Have confidence in the sovereign God of the Bible and the fact that we will have any thing we ask of Him if we pray accordingly.  I’m very thankful that God is not sitting in Heaven being on the verge of changing His mind because of my fervent persuading prayer for Ted Cruz one day.  Then, waffling the next day because of the fervent persuading prayer of another preacher friend for Marco Rubio.  To only hear the prayer of another christian on the next day to exalt Donald Trump to the Oval Office.  I didn’t mention Hillary at this point, because no God-fearing, Bible-believing, christian would petition God to elect her 😉 God is not an indecisive basket case.  Not my God anyway.

You see…prayer changes me, not God. I need to bring my will in line with God’s will.  I do that by communing with Him, by worshipping Him.  I need faith, I need godly contentment.  I need affections that are set on things above.  I need to have the mind of Christ.  I need the peace that only God can give…not a president…not any man.

Pray.  Pray lots.  Pray hard.  Fast.  BUT pray for what God wants…not what you want.  And see your prayers always answered.

LoveWorks

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

It has been a few years since I have blogged and will be doing my best to do more regular writing here. The blog may contain some thoughts from a recent or upcoming sermon, comments on current events or social issues, news about what is going on at Berean Baptist Church, just random thoughts and opinions, or who knows? The posts may be a blessing to you, or make you crazy mad, but always remember that you don’t have to read them. I hope you do though. I hope they help you. I hope you share them. Having said that…here goes…

The Bible says in the verse mentioned above, that we are to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify God. This is what we intend to do at Berean Baptist Church. I am very proud to be an Independent Fundamental Baptist pastor. I am proud of my heritage, doctrinal and social stands, everything.

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Lighthouse Baptist Church Anniversary & More

Sunday began with a trip to the church to load up everything we would need to hold services in the park…evidently, it takes pretty much everything in the church…lol.  We had to load it up, transport it, then it was all carried into the park from a neighboring street…it was quite the undertaking.  Mark and I went to one of the local markets to pick up the “fruit cakes” with chocolate on top, then headed back to the park.

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Friday Youth Activity and Saturday’s Conference

Friday was a day where we spent the morning shopping for groceries, etc. as we continued preparations for Saturday’s youth conference.  We got to spend some time with the Christian Family over lunch as well.  They had recently moved to a new, third floor apartment and we were invited over for some pasta salad and strawberry shortcake.  This was a great time of fellowship…they will be heading back to the States in a couple of weeks to celebrate their sending church’s 50th anniversary.  Please pray for them as they travel.

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Lighthouse Baptist Church in Odessa

It was my privilege to preach at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Odessa for Bible Study last night.  As I will be every time, I preached with the help of an interpreter, named Victor.  It is very difficult for me to preach this way, having to stop every few words and to not know if what I am saying is being communicated with the same meaning.  I also realized how much I depend upon humor and interaction with the congregation in my messages and this making things difficult too.  Oh, well…I will do my best.  It seems as though people are receiving the messages well and participating in the services too.

At Lighthouse Baptist Church, we have three missionary families that are working in this ministry.  Mark and Lydia Priem, who have been in Ukraine now for 17 years, John and Dawn Spillman for 10 years, and Jeff and Helen Christian for 2 years after 2 years spent in Belarus.  It has been great to see everyone and look forward to more time spent in fellowship, in fact we will be heading over to the Christian’s for lunch in a few hours.

We are preparing today for a youth activity that we will be having tonight with the young people.  We will be playing wiffle ball and basketball in the park, and then passing out literature for the church and soul-winning with those who join with us in the activities.  This has been an effective way to get the Gospel into the hands of people here.  Please pray that I don’t overdo it on the court tonight, as I have another week here and I would like to spend it injury free.  I will let you know how that turns out…

Preaching in Lamamskoye , Ukraine

After a great day of fellowship with the missionaries, we loaded up a car and van at the church and headed out the village of Lamamskoye to preach.  It was a beautiful drive through the countryside and farmlands.  When we got to the outskirts of the village, we were flagged down by a police officer, who hitched a ride with us out near the church, where we dropped him off then proceeded to the missionaries’ home for dinner.

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