Thursday, February 28, 2019

Priestly Errors Are a Serious Matter and Deadly

Leviticus 10:1-11
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the Lord spoke, saying,
‘By those who come near Me Iwill be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”
So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
Moses called also to Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come forward, carry your relatives away from the front of the sanctuary to the outside of the camp.” So they came forward and carried them still in their tunics to the outside of the camp, as Moses had said. Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, so that you will not die and that He will not become wrathful against all the congregation. But your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, shall bewail the burning which the Lord has brought about. You shall not even go out from the doorway of the tent of meeting, or you will die; for the Lord’s anointing oil is upon you.” So, they did according to the word of Moses.
The Lord then spoke to Aaron, saying, “Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die—it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations— 10 and so as to make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean, 11 and so as to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them through Moses.”

Thoughts on the Passage
Here we have two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, who decide to do something just a little different or special or extra as part of their offering to the Lord – something that He did not ask or command of them.  God was not impressed, and His presence produced a fire that consumed them, and they died.
Chuck Smith suggests they may have been doing something that was intended to draw attention to themselves and away from God.  He then asks us to consider what some pastors do, especially on television, in that regard.
David Guzik on the other hand, suggests it may all have had to do with their motivation to do something different, wondering if it was their pride, ambition, jealousy, or impatience that motivated them – anything but holiness towards God.
And notice what God says about their death: “If you’re going to approach Me (including in worship), be careful how you treat me – you need to treat Me as Holy. So that I will be honored before the people.”  Wow.
Forget the offerings in case you say those are rites the Old Testament priests had to follow, and instead focus on what God is saying here.  If you are going to be My servant, you need to treat Me as Holy.” In other words, God is saying that means you need to obey His instructions. Don’t add to them; don’t subtract from them. Follow them. How is your priest or pastor doing in that regard? If you are a pastor or a priest, how are you doing?
Also, of interest here, is the response of Aaron, the father, as he observed what happened to his sons. The text says, he “kept silent”. Of course, what else can we do when God clearly is the One that takes certain actions. There are no ifs, buts, or whys to be stated. We can only keep silent.
Some people say that when something bad happens in a church, we can never blame ourselves for it or anyone else. Things just happen. I would take issue with that approach. Sometimes, the Scripture teaches us, things happened because someone disobeyed, someone didn’t follow God commands, or someone just failed to be accountable in their responsibilities.
Anyway, Moses (notice not Aaron) calls for some cousins of the two dead men to come and remove the bodies from the sanctuary to the outside of the camp. And Moses warns Aaron and his other two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, not to mourn their loss in case God decided to deal with you in the same way as apparent sympathizers of the wrong-doers. Worse still, God may take His wrath out against the whole congregation of the people. Moses knew more about God than any man alive at that time as He had met with God if you’ll remember. Fortunately, they listened to Moses.
In the last part of this passage, God now speaks to Aaron and warns him that neither he nor his sons must ever be under the influence of wine or strong drink when they go about their duties in the tent of meeting, lest they die. And he warns that this order, this statute would remain as a perpetual one, that is, forever.  It is possible, Smith suggests, that this part of the passage gives us a hint as to what God disliked about what Nadab and Abihu had done to get Him angry – they may have been under the influence of wine or strong drink. God wants His servants to be distinguishable as holy against those that are profane, and He wants His servants to be clean versus those that are unclean.  How are we doing?
Does God, or will God, strike a pastor dead today if he/she is not obeying God’s every commandment?  He might. But again, He may not. I can, however, be sure of one thing as I observed the clergy – be it in the Catholic church, the Greek Orthodox church, or the Protestant arm of the Christian world – God will not be mocked and He is no fool; He will bring judgment one way or another against those who have sinned against Him while carrying out their duties.
If one wants to go into greater detail on each part of this whole passage, I strongly recommend Matthew Henry’s commentary. He takes a close look at God’s possible thinking with respect to the strong action He took here. And he carefully points us to how serious a sin disobedience to God in His service really is.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Role of Your Pastor in You Seeing the Glory of God

Leviticus 9
Verses 1-14 cover the offerings for the Priest.
Verses 15-21 cover the offerings that the Priests make for the people.
Verses 22-24 describe the Lord’s acceptance of these offerings, as follows:

22 Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and
 blessed them, and he stepped down after making the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”

Thoughts on the Passage
There is something to be said about our priests and pastors or ministers carrying out their duties and then making a special point of blessing the people they serve. Chuck Smith says these represent the twofold responsibility and duty of the priesthood. First, they represent us to God through the carrying out of the sacrifices (or today the various sacraments) and second, they bring God’s blessings to us.
Somebody recently commented to me that fewer and fewer pastors are blessing their congregations at the end of worship services. Benedictions are rare these days. Hope you got one the last time you went to church – I know I didn’t.
In fact, in these last three verses of this chapter, Aaron blesses the people and then Moses and Aaron come out of the ‘tent of meeting’ and bless the people again.
And it was after that – after the two blessings – that the Scripture says, “the glory of the Lord appeared” and more importantly His glory “appeared to all the people”.  If we want to be blessed during and after our worship services, our leaders need to stick to the basics as dictated by God.
What we don’t need is mood music or fog machines to send us off in awe of God’s glory. We need the real thing. And oh, how we need pastors who know how to facilitate their congregation seeing the Glory of God.
There is no reason why our worship today cannot be accompanied by God’s miraculous presence, not necessarily as it was experienced in this passage – by fire coming down and consuming what was on the altar – but in some evident way whereby everyone present can know that God was pleased with His people and their worship. He was pleased in such a way that we would all sense it. We would should Hallelujah and jump for joy if not fall on our faces as the Israelites did.
A worship service could have everything as David Guzik suggests – it could have priests, rituals, sacrifices, you name it – but if it does not have the “glory of God” or the fire from above, it has been an almost meaningless experience.  You will remember that Moses had been telling the people that they would feel God’s presence on that day.  He was preparing himself for it; he was preparing the priests for it (everything had to be done right) and he was preparing his people for it.
Matthew Henry says this: “God's manifestations of himself, of his glory and grace, are commonly given in answer to prayer. When Christ was praying the heavens were opened, Lu. 3:21. The glory of God appeared, not while the sacrifices were in offering, but when the priests prayed (as 2 Chr. 5:13), when they praised God, which intimates that the prayers and praises of God's spiritual priests are more pleasing to God than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices.”
I wonder how much time pastors spend in prayer seeking God’s direction as to how to ensure that His glory is shared with the people each and every Sunday. I hazard to guess that it is not much.  More time, it seems, is spent on how eloquent they will sound.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Priests Had To Remain Put or Die during their Ordination

Leviticus 8:31-36
31 Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons, “Boil the flesh at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and eat it there together with the bread which is in the basket of the ordination offering, just as I commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it.’ 32 The remainder of the flesh and of the bread you shall burn in the fire. 33 You shall not go outside the doorway of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day that the period of your ordination is fulfilled; for he will ordain you through seven days. 34 The Lord has commanded to do as has been done this day, to make atonement on your behalf. 35 At the doorway of the tent of meeting, moreover, you shall remain day and night for seven days and keep the charge of the Lord, so that you will not die, for so I have been commanded.” 36 Thus Aaron and his sons did all the things which the Lord had commanded through Moses.

Thoughts on the Passage
Once the various consecration steps had been carried out as God commanded Moses to undertake with respect to the ordination of the priests of the tabernacle, they had to stay inside the tent (tabernacle) for seven days. Only then was the ordination complete. Failure to do so meant death for the priests.
Robert Jamieson calls this a “probationary” period. Stay put and do the same thing over and over again.  Jamieson writes:
During the whole of that period the same sacrificial rites were observed as on the first day, and they were expressly admonished that the smallest breach of any of the appointed observances would lead to the certain forfeiture of their lives [ Lev 8:35 ].

And here’s Matthew Henry’s take on the passage:
Gospel ministers are compared to those who served at the altar, for they minister about holy things (1 Co. 9:13), they are God's mouth to the people and the people's to God, the pastors and teachers Christ has appointed to continue in the church to the end of the world: they seem to be meant in that promise which points at gospel times (Isa. 66:21), I will take of them for priests and for Levites. No man may take this honour to himself, but he who upon trial is found to be clothed and anointed by the Spirit of God with gifts and graces to qualify him for it, and who with purpose of heart devotes himself entirely to the service, and is then by the word and prayer (for so every thing is sanctified), and the imposition of the hands of those that give themselves to the word and prayer, set apart to the office, and recommended to Christ as a servant and to the church as a steward and guide. And those that are thus solemnly dedicated to God ought not to depart from his service, but faithfully to abide in it all their days; and those that do so, and continue laboring in the word and doctrine, are to be accounted worthy of double honor, double to that of the Old-Testament priests.

Our job is to make sure that no matter what our role is in Christian service, we approach it with the same dedication and commitment and “stick-to-it-ness” that God expected of His priests who served the Israelites.  How are we doing?

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Monday, February 25, 2019

How has your church dealt with the "consecration" of your pastor or pastoral team?

God’s Details, Not Moses’, and certainly Not Ours Today
Leviticus 8:1-30
The first thirty verses of this chapter refer to a “consecration” that God commanded Moses to carry out (verses 1-5). It involved cleansing the Priests with water (verse 6), donning them with special garments (verses 7-9), anointing them with oil (verses 10-13), and consecrating them with blood (verses 14-30).

Thoughts on the Passage
Now that the tabernacle had been completed, it was time to consecrate those that would work in it and serve the people as priests. 
First, we note that God commanded this consecration of the priests.  And secondly, that it was to be done in the presence of the “full congregation” which was to be assembled at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
Second, this involved all the priests, from father Aaron down to his last son.
Third, the priests were to have special clothing which included a place for the Urim and the Thummin, which were to help them determine God’s will for a particular issue or question posed. Today, as believers and all part of the Royal priesthood, each of us is clothed in Jesus Christ and His righteousness (Revelation 3:5). David Guzik says these ‘clothes’ are given freely by Jesus but received and ‘worn’ by us in faith.
Clearly, this was a ceremony which demonstrated that the priests were being “set apart” and part of that was the need for the atonement of their sins, as well as a committing of their entire lives to the ministry and service God was calling them to.
Finally, of noteworthiness here is the fact that this whole ceremony was not done “à la Moses” but rather according to God in every detail.  Sometimes we do things in our churches attempting to replicate a ceremony we note in the Bible, but we often choose to add our own touches. We need to be mindful that whatever we do – we do not add or subtract from what the Bible teaches us was done by God in the O.T. or Christ in the N.T.  I suppose the whole way our churches observe the Communion meal will come to mind for many of us. And perhaps it should.

How has your church dealt with the "consecration" of your pastor or pastoral team?

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Will My Barbecue Suffice to deliver the Old Testament Sacrifices?


Leviticus 7:37-38:
37 This is the law of the burnt offering, the grain offering and the sin offering and the guilt offering and the ordination offering and the sacrifice of peace offerings,38 which the Lord commanded Moses at Mount Sinai in the day that He commanded the sons of Israel to present their offerings to the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai.

Thoughts on the Passage
The concluding two verses of Leviticus 7 simply name the five key sacrifices or offerings that the Israelites had to make and keep on a regular basis.
We note the following: These were ‘commanded’ by God at Mount Sinai through His servant Moses. And Moses was to pass that commandment on to the sons of Israel – they had to present their offerings to God “in the wilderness of Sinai”.
So, one can, if they try hard enough find solace in the fact that these offerings or practices were demanded of the Israelites – notice it does not say “this is a commandment for all who believe on Jehovah God”.  Second, they were to be practiced “in the wilderness of Sinai”. Many of us are in a wilderness, but it’s not Sinai.
So, relax, it’s okay if you don’t keep all these observances.  But here is what you can’t get away from – you can’t get away from the need to come to God for the same reasons that the Israelites offered these sacrifices. For example:
·      You come to God atoning for your sins and the sins of your people against the Lord and dedicating your life before Him – the purpose of the burnt offering.
·      You come to God offering your gifts, financial and otherwise, dedicating your entire life to a willingness to give and to be generous – the purpose of the grain offering.
·      You come to God asking forgiveness for your intentional and unintentional sins – the purpose of the sin offering.
·      You come to God expressing your desire for both peace and communion between you (a sinner) and God (Holy and righteous) in a form of praise and worship – the purpose of the peace or thanksgiving offering.
·      You come to God and then to man making wrong acts right to the best of your ability – the purpose of the trespass or guilt offering.

Okay, so you don’t an altar table at your home and you can’t regularly find the appropriate animals to sacrifice as God commanded the Israelites to do – but you can still worship and honour God with your time and relationship, expressing the same attitudes and worship that He wanted His people Israel to express through their sacrificial system.

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Friday, February 22, 2019

To eat or not to eat "fat" and to take or not take "blood". Brief devotional.

The Peace Offering
Leviticus 7:11-36:
This passage gives more details on this peace offering which is to be offered by way of “thanksgiving”.  That’s the important aspect. But it also covers some instructions that have caused issues with Christians over the years. These include vs. 22-25 about eating any fat from certain animals, as well as eating blood from any animal (vs. 26 and 27).

Thoughts on the Passage
There is no doubt that we who believe in God are to be continuously “thankful” for all that He does for us as well as for Who He is. That’s a given for us and there is not much to discuss here unless we were to get legalistic about what that means. I for one, won’t.
But what about eating “fat” or “blood”. Of course, we can always argue that these were Old Testament laws put into place to keep the Israelites healthy.  This matter of eating ‘fat’ may have been for reasons of health.  The matter of blood, some commentators indicate was out of reference to the Messiah Who was to later shed His blood for us.  Not sure.
David Guzik suggests that the “fat” and the “blood” both referred to the “abundance” of the animal that was killed and thus it was not necessary to eat that – leave the “abundance” for God Who provided the animal in the first place – such abundance in our lives belongs to Him and must be returned to Him.
Matthew Henry suggests this only referred to the fat of the types of animals that were used for sacrifices (not to other types) based on the earlier reference in Leviticus chapter 3, although that may be a stretch.  Again, one has to study this on their own and decide.
Henry goes on to say, 
“the blood made atonement for the soul, and so typified Christ's sacrifice much more than the burning of the fat did; to this therefore a greater reverence must be paid, till these types had their accomplishment in the offering up of the body of Christ once for all.”
He seems to say that once Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice by shedding His blood for us, then we could eat this “fat” and even take in some blood from the meat. Okay perhaps.
But what I do know is that the Scriptures talk about “eating” blood and it was the blood of “birds or animals”. I see nothing here that would allow a godly interpretation of these words to lead us to the point of not accepting blood “transfusions” to save a life as Jehovah Witnesses believe.  But you can judge for yourself. 

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

How Priests/Pastors Should Relate Among Themselves

The Guilt Offering
Leviticus 7:1-10:
‘Now this is the law of the guilt offering; it is most holy. In the place where they slay the burnt offering, they are to slay the guilt offering, and he shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar. Then he shall offer from it all its fat: the fat tail and the fat that covers the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe on the liver he shall remove with the kidneys.The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar as an offering by fire to the Lord; it is a guilt offering. Every male among the priests may eat of it. It shall be eaten in a holy place; it is most holy. The guilt offering is like the sin offering, there is one law for them; the priest who makes atonement with it shall have it.Also, the priest who presents any man’s burnt offering, that priest shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering which he has presented. Likewise, every grain offering that is baked in the oven and everything prepared in a pan or on a griddle shall belong to the priest who presents it. 10 Every grain offering, mixed with oil or dry, shall belong to all the sons of Aaron, to all alike.
Thoughts on the Passage
This chapter is, to a great extent, a repetition of earlier instructions, although for most of these offerings, although with more details and perhaps greater explanations – if we seek to have them.
What struck me to be of interest (especially as I read Matthew Henry on this passage), was the relationship between the work involved in offering the offerings and who got to reap the tangible benefits, in this case, the meat involved.  Look closely at verses 7 and 8.
Henry writes: 
“As to the flesh of the trespass-offering, the right to it belonged to the priest that offered it, v. 7. He that did the work must have the wages. This was an encouragement to the priests to give diligent attendance on the altar; the more ready and busy they were the more they got. Note, The more diligent we are in the services of religion the more we shall reap of the advantages of it. But any of the priests and the males of their families might be invited by him to whom it belonged to partake with him: Every male among the priests shall eat thereof, that is, may eat thereof, in the holy place, v. 6. And, no doubt, it was the usage to treat one another with those perquisites of their office, by which friendship and fellowship were kept up among the priests. Freely they had received, and must freely give. It seems the offerer was not himself to have any share of his trespass-offering, as he was to have of his peace-offering; but it was all divided between the altar and the priest.”

The Scriptures, Henry suggests, indicate that priests are to have their ‘wages’. But in return, they were to work diligently at their duties. And the benefits they were to receive were also extendable to their families. Of course, we can debate to great lengths what that “diligence” looks like for pastors and priests today.
Also, of great interest here is the fact that these priests worked together sharing the gains of their work – they operated as Henry points out with “friendship” and “fellowship” among them. Today, many of our senior priests often pull rank over their colleagues and while accountability is a must especially in the Lord’s work, it seldom seems to be pursued with excellence, let alone in a “friendship” and “fellowship” environment. The end result being the priests/pastors lose out on the blessing, the church loses good men (and women) and the Body takes another hit.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Christ's Sin Offering Makes Us All Priests

The Sin Offering
Leviticus 6:24-30:
24 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 25 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the sin offering: in the place where the burnt offering is slain the sin offering shall be slain before the Lord; it is most holy. 26 The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. It shall be eaten in a holy place, in the court of the tent of meeting. 27 Anyone who touches its flesh will become consecrated; and when any of its blood splashes on a garment, in a holy place you shall wash what was splashed on. 28 Also, the earthenware vessel in which it was boiled shall be broken; and if it was boiled in a bronze vessel, then it shall be scoured and rinsed in water. 29 Every male among the priests may eat of it; it is most holy. 30 But no sin offering of which any of the blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the holy place shall be eaten; it shall be burned with fire.

Thoughts on the Passage
Today this first verse was another reminder to me that God does speak to His people. He did it in Moses’ time and I believe He does it today. While He still speaks, it is us that are too busy or to unconnected with Him to listen. I have found that when I do sense God speaking, and I am otherwise occupied either physically or mentally, I will not get the message, and worse still, I will not obey. Later, I find myself saying, “God doesn’t speak to me.” At other times, when I sense God speaking, and I am sitting quietly at my desk or in my easy chair, with no other distractions, I hear His words. And if I make a point of obeying them (my choice) or not obeying them (my loss), I find myself saying more often, “Yes, God does speak to me.”
As I read this passage with all its detailed instructions of how the Sin Offering was to be observed, especially by the priests, I wondered, “God, what is in this passage for me, besides the thought you gave me above?”  Well, thank God for commentators who can help us out with that question.  Matthew Henry answered my question in this manner:
“. . . the apostle [the majority of scholars consider it to be Paul] infers the advantage we have under the gospel above what they had under the law; for though the blood of Christ was brought into the tabernacle, to reconcile within the holy place, yet we have a right by faith to eat of the altar (Heb. 13:10-12), and so to take the comfort of the great propitiation.” Amen.
Jesus Christ was our Sin Offering once and for all (Hebrews 10:14) – so now, by faith, we can partake and eat at the altar of His sacrifice, whereas in the time of the Israelites, only the priests could partake of the meat of the killed animal. But now we are all conciliated unto God and are all priests because of His Sacrifice.

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Monday, February 18, 2019

We’re Drinking More Koolaid Than Jim Jones Could Ever Serve

RISE: In Defense of Judeo-Christian Values and Freedom

Author: Brigitte Gabriel
Publisher: Frontline, Charisma Media/House Book Group, Lake Mary, FL, 2018


We’re Drinking More Koolaid Than Jim Jones Could Ever Serve
Warning: This is a totally “PC inappropriate” book but it tells the real “inconvenient truth”. As a result, I love it and highly recommend it.
The author has “shoot to kill” signs all over her life: She is an Arab; a woman; a Christian; she’s anti- Islamic-terrorism; and pro-Israel. And to boot, she has founded and leads a massive conservative grassroots organization that combats at multi-levels (local, state, nationally, and internationally)  Islamic terrorism.  Above all, she knows her facts and isn’t afraid to use them and thus call out the ‘bullcrap’ that comes from those she opposes or more to the point, oppose her.
The truth is presented in many forms, not the least of which is wisdom. As an example, I share a sentence from her introduction to the book: “. . . the Right to exercise one’s opinion seems to end where the radical Left’s feelings begin.”
She makes no apologies about exposing how our enemies and jihadists view America (“as the epitome of Judeo-Christian exceptionalism”) and Americans as “infidels” whose “way of life” is seen “as a direct threat to theirs”. She calls out “Sharia law” as one that “builds on submission, discrimination, and brutality.”
In the process, she does not excuse the stupidity of our left-leaning politicians and the even the conservative ones that turn a blind eye to what is going on.  “We’ve got a worldwide epidemic of Islamic terror spreading across the globe like the plague, but leftist loons are more concerned about protecting feelings than protecting lives.”
Some chapters in the book cover: America as a Divided Nation; the Cost of Terror (with some incredible financial statistics); why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant; Weaponizing the Internet; Transformation through Immigration (“If we don’t openly accept millions of individuals who have no desire to embrace the language, culture, and values that made America the greatest country in the history of the world, we must be racists.”); Targeting the Innocent (about honor killings and FGM); Lamestream Media (“When the media aren’t blacking out coverage of stories they don’t like, they’re using misleading headlines.”); CAIR and the Terrorist Front-Scheme; the Leftist-Islamist Coalition (focusing on the ACLU and Linda Sarsour “If she’s a feminist, I’m a professional hockey player.”); Fake Hate; the Death of Free Speech (“Any religion that advocates killing another human being for simply offending you, is a religion stuck in the seventh century.”; and Operation Indoctrination (taking on our educational institutions).
Gabriel ends each chapter with advice on how each of us can “Rise Up and Act”. And her last chapter describes a detailed approach to “Activism for Our Nation”.
This is one of those books about which older conservative thinkers today would say, “If I can only get this into the hands of my children and grandchildren, they may be able to stem the tide of what looks like a chaotic cultural tsunami that has as its target the complete destruction of the American way of life.” And even for those who think this may be a good thing, the question remains whether or not you’re really aware of, and/or are prepared to accept, the alternative that is being promoted.
For the sake of your children and grandchildren, read the book, think about its content, and act accordingly.  Thank you, Brigitte for writing it.
Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, www.accordconsulting.com

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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

“Teacher, I Brought My Son To You."

It’s Time To Pray


Author: Carter Conlon
Publisher: GPC Books, a div. of Times Square Church, in partnership with, Charisma Media/House Book Group, Lake Mary, FL, 2018


From the title, one would think that Carter Conlon has simply written a book about prayer – when we need it; why we need it; and even some ideas as to how to pray. That he did, but the Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in Manhattan, New York has done a lot more.
In this book, Conlon also gives us one of the best expository series of teachings I have ever heard on the Mark 9:14-29 passage in which Jesus heals the sick son of a man who had asked Christ’s disciples to heal, but they couldn’t. The lessons are powerful and passionate at the same time.
And it doesn’t stop there. Interwoven throughout the book, is his own life story, complete with examples of the miracle performing God at work when His people, individually and/or in concert, cry out to Him.
In short, this is a book that made me pray more, believe more, and obey more. I would be surprised if it doesn’t do that at some point for everyone who reads it.
The book is divided into ten chapters, each title beginning with the two words, “Praying for” and then followed by the one-word theme of the chapter: Salvation, Life, Strength, Serving, (the) Impossible, Forgiveness, Faith, Peace, Freedom, and Awakening. Conlon knows the needs of people because he’s had the same needs.  He knows where people are at because he’s been there. He knows the answers because God has given them to him right out of His Word or whispered them in Conlon’s ears, driving them into his heart.
The digital copy that I read is heavily highlighted now as the book is packed with truths, wisdom, and examples of God at work. A book review’s typical length does not allow me to give you all the quotes I’d like to share from this work, but here are just a few (some in the form of questions that a reader must answer before he/she proceeds to read on, others you’ll want to put a “wow” beside them):
“Is the Christian life about preserving ourselves, or is it about obeying God and doing what He asks us to do?”
“I heard the Lord say, ‘Don’t limit Me. Don’t limit what I can do.’”
“Do you believe all things are possible with God?” And you reply, “I believe that!”. Then Conlon continues, “The problem is that you also believe something else. You believe that your life is defined by certain borders, by certain limitations, by certain bondages, or by your life experience.”
“If you claim to believe and don’t change, you’re a hypocrite. But even for those who change, the change can be excruciatingly slow.”
“When unbelief is present, self will always reign.”
“‘Carter,’ the Lord said to me, ‘I only want you to do what I ask you to do. You’ve done many, many things that I didn’t ask you to do.’”
“I believe that the church—the testimony of Christ in America today—has a little strength.”
“So many people are afraid to look stupid. They really don’t believe that God is going to support them.”
“Every church on every corner has a viewpoint on certain theological perspectives, but there really is no power there. The power is in the blood.”
“If you scream at God the way I screamed at God, I believe He will gently whisper back, ‘I love you.’”
And these are only from the first-half of the book. Conlon wrote this book to strengthen the Body of Christ, the local church, and more importantly the individual believer.  If I’m any indication, I believe he was most successful. He chose his themes wisely, not only because they are important aspects of the successful Christian life, but also because most Christians, or should I say, all Christians, have struggled with one or more if not all of these areas of life at one point or another. For me, the three that hit home the hardest were Praying for Serving, the Impossible, and Forgiveness. But many others will find the help they need in some of the other chapters.  All of us will learn and gain and become better at being part of the Body by understanding the cries of others who have a desperate need for, and are praying, for Life, Strength, Peace, or Freedom.
Conlon knew exactly what “hole” I was stuck in when he wrote, “The most galling thing you will ever have to go through as a Christian is when somebody has betrayed you, and he is absolutely unwilling to admit his fault. He stands before you and exudes an attitude of righteousness.” He helped me get out of it.
What “hole” are you stuck in? This book will hit you hard – which is exactly what you need.
Highly recommended for anyone who wants to find out not only why he/she is or needs to be saved, but more importantly, why and how he/she needs to ‘live’ once saved. This is a book for believers and unbelievers alike.  As individuals created and cared for by the God of the Universe, Conlon shows us we are all created to be united in Him. Read it, share it with your loved ones, and get a copy for your favorite pastor.  


·     Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, February 5, 2019, www.accordconsulting.com

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.