Legacy assignments for March 5

Click here for a printable version.

LEGACY ASSIGNMENTS FOR FEB. 26 – MARCH 4

John (pg. 1210)

It’s About Love (pg. 1213)

John: 1 John 4:10

What are the lasting evidences of your love for God and for others?

Related scripture:  Acts 3-4:8; 8:14-25; Galatians 2:9

See article on page 1210 of the Legacy Bible

It’s About Love: 1 John 4:7-21

True love comes only from God. We can’t find it or manufacture it. When we connect to God, we connect to the source of love. It is His love that transforms us into loving persons and frees us to love others.

I have learned these lessons from God about love:

I hope to extend God’s love to you in these ways:

Related scriptures:  John 13:34-35; 15:1-17; Rom. 5:5-8; I Cor. 13; 1 Thess. 2:6-12

 

 

Devotional thought

Leviticus chapter 8 goes into detail about consecrating the priests.  It also goes into great detail about the sacrifices needed for this ceremony.  The priests were a type of Christ as well as the offerings.  As sinners we needed a sacrifice for our sins, but as believers we need a high priest.  Christ was our sacrifice for sins past, present and future.  But through the priesthood of Christ, we are maintained.  Christ cleanses us perfectly, but in our humanity and feebleness and our disposition to wander, as well as being exposed to countless temptation trials and snares, we need Christ as a priest.  He intercedes for us as He sits at the right hand of God.  We are to offer to God spiritual sacrifices through Jesus Christ [I Peter 2:5].  We can come boldly to the Father through the name of our great High Priest, Jesus.

So as we read Leviticus, be thankful for all Christ is to us, both the sacrifice and the Priest.

Prayer Focus

It’s funny when you learn things about yourself.  Recently, I’ve noticed how much I really enjoy when people get along with one another.  In turn, this realization has helped me understand the reasons I strongly dislike most social media.  Social media is like an unfiltered, unedited, never-ending “reality TV” episode – there is so much hype, so much self-promotion, so much “look at me!”  I think an argument could be made that all these “so muches” move us away from “getting along” and only lead us toward division.

(If you don’t think so, just profess your love for whatever sports team it is you follow, see how many unsolicited comments you get about some other team.  I believe it could even be argued that the innocuous Facebook “status update” bragging on our kids lends itself toward division more than it does unity.)

 

I read an article the other morning that captured many of these same observations:

…We’re status obsessed and seek attention…I’ve noticed that the way we Americans communicate is usually designed to create a lot of attention and hype.  Again, I think this is a product of our consumer culture: the belief that something isn’t worthwhile or important unless it’s perceived to be the best (BEST EVER!!!) or unless it gets a lot of attention (see: every reality-television show ever made).

This is why Americans have a peculiar habit of thinking everything is “totally awesome,” and even the most mundane activities were “the best thing ever!” It’s the unconscious drive we share for importance and significance, this unmentioned belief …that if we’re not the best at something, then we don’t matter.

We’re status-obsessed. Our culture is built around achievement, production and being exceptional. Therefore, comparing ourselves and attempting to out-do one another has infiltrated our social relationships as well… Socializing becomes objectified and turned into a competition. And if you’re not winning, the implication is that you are not important and no one will like you.

 

I guess I write all this to say that I hope as a church family we are building a community where the individual finds his value in Jesus while finding tremendous blessing in other believers.  A place where we realize love because our burdens are being shared and our successes are being celebrated.  A community such as Paul describes:

 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift…

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4).

During your fast and prayer today, ask the Lord to help us as a church to establish authentic community.  A place where we bear with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit.

In His grip,

Pastor Beau

 

Feb. 23 sermon recording

Click here to listen or download.

Judgment Seat of Christ

The Judgment Seat of Christ (also referred to as the bema) is addressed in three places: Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:10–4:5; and 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. Only church-age saints will appear at that judgment, as shown in 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.”

The purpose of the bema is an exhaustive evaluation of our lives. First Corinthians 4:5 says the Lord will come and “bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.”

That passage reveals Paul’s emphasis on the judgment seat of Christ. Notice that Paul says each man’s praise will come to him from God. God gives rewards to the victors; He does not whip the losers. We know that He won’t condemn us for our sins at that point, because Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Thus, the purpose of the judgment seat of Christ is to examine a Christian’s total life. We will be recompensed for the deeds we have done, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10). The term used there refers to a summing up and estimation of the total pattern of a believer’s life. This overall focus should keep us from worrying over every stupid thing we’ve ever done, or thoughtless sin we have committed. It’s a time of reward, not punishment.

While we won’t be condemned for our sins, our present lives do affect what will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Here’s how:

  1. Sin and indifference in this life rob us of our present desire for serving the Lord. That, in turn, means a loss of rewards because we will not have used our time to His glory. That is why Paul exhorts us to “be careful how [we] walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of [our] time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16, NASB).
  2. Sin and indifference result in a loss of power in our lives because sin grieves the Holy Spirit.
  3. Sin and indifference cause us to pass up opportunities for service which we would otherwise perform and be rewarded for.

The greatest consequence of unfaithfulness here on earth is that it disappoints Christ. First John 2:28 says, “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” That is a sobering thought–we could be ashamed as we stand before the Lord. At the same time, it should encourage us with the prospect of receiving His lavish rewards if we serve Him faithfully during our time here on earth.

Prayer points

Click here to view or print the Prayer Points from Sunday morning’s 10 am Prayer Meeting.

PRAYER POINTS – WEEK 23 (FEB 23, 2014)

MONDAY  “…whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water … shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4: 5-15)  It is always a sad thing to watch someone die.  It is true we are comforted if the dying person is a Christian.  However, a part of us still mourns.  We will see the person, on earth, no more.  How he/she departs might provide a lesson for the living and guide us in the future.  Growing up in the countryside of my native country, I had seen people die and have also heard stories from my parents.  It might be different here, but in my culture, when someone is so sick and about to die, if they ask for water, it is sign they won’t survive.  Relations try to delay the process by denying the water.  But, the question is  why people ask for water at such critical stage in life?  This story might give an insight.  A man had lived his life in sin and disobedience.  He ridiculed believers in a Supreme God, and mingled with people who held same view.  Then, came one day, he became sick.  Taken to the hospital, at the point of death, he began to call out “Water … please! Water .. please..”  The nurses scrambled, got cool water and then cold and hot and gave him.  He threw each away and continued to yell for water.  That continued until a Christian nurse came in.  She sighed when she heard the man’s groan and yell.  She walked to him, drew his attention and dug hands into her gown, and brought out a pocket bible and began to read from John 3:16.  The dying man shouted, “Yes, that’s the water!” In those dying moments, he received hope of eternity and heaven.  Could we join the woman at the well today in pleading, “Sir, give me this water that I thirst not…” Or have we known the Savior so well that there is no need to ask for more of Him?  Let us pray

TUESDAY– “When Israel was a child, I loved him and called my son out of Egypt…” (Hosea 11:1-12) “Make me like a child again…” is a line in a song from Wanda Jackson that I enjoyed years back.  There are so many things about children that captivates the mind.  Their innocence, trust, sincerity and more, shows that they just came from heaven.  Some years back, my daughter brought me to tears one day.  She did something I thought was wrong and I began to spank her.  Instead of running away from me, she ran towards me and held me.  I scooped her into my hands and we both began to cry.  You cannot raise a child properly without training.  You’d talk but sometimes you also spank.  I am learning not to do that now.  The Law and social scientists say spanking impedes the growth of a child.  But God’s word says, you spoil the child, when you “spare the rod”.  We all know whom to believe.  Right?  However, with time, that little child becomes an adult and the world (earth) remakes him.  He/she becomes polluted, corrupted and earthly.  Then the need arises to fight for heaven!  Then the church points us to the way to regain our innocence, sincerity, our childlikeness, in order to qualify for heaven, once again!  What a joy to know that our God and Father, calls, yearns, cries for us.  Hear him ask, “How can I give you up (your name)?  Today, He calls us to become children again.  “Adulthood” has done us so much harm.  Let us ask the Father to make us like children again – in every aspect of life!  Let us pray

 WEDNESDAY“These were more noble than those of Thessalonica .. they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so..” – (Acts 17:1-21)  Have you ever wondered why God did not make all men to just love and worship Him.?  He has the power!  Our hearts and minds are in His hands.  He is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent…why doesn’t He just turn our hearts to love, adore and worship Him?.  Why do we still have to go through the rigors of disobedience, sin, repentance and to hang in the balance between heaven and hell, till Christ saves us?  That’s a nice question that could come from a child.  But, there is freedom at the heart of every claim of love or loving – a freedom that lets you choose to love or hate a person or object that seeks your attention.   It is that choice that makes all the difference.  It was there at Eden where the tree dangled its evil fruit to sow the first seeds of disobedience.  But that also proved where man’s heart would be.  Christianity is not a religion of coercion.  God does not want children who are gullible.  He wants us to explore His kingdom.  This exploration was what got a commendation for the Bereans.  They heard the preaching, but they did further study.  There is power when you confirm what you have heard yourself.  God calls us today to explore the vast sea of His word.  It brings us into nobility.  He wants the church filled with people with questioning minds.  He waits at the end of every question with the answers, but we just must have to explore, and ask?  What are your questions today?  What complaints have you got?  What doubts do you need cleared?  Let us go to Him in prayers.  Let us pray!!

THURSDAY – “And shall not God avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him. Though He bear long with them? I tell you He will avenge them speedily.” (Luke 18:1-8)  Few things are as crushing as a feeling of being unjustly treated.  Injustice does not only infuriate the victim, it also makes those whose sense of what is right and wrong is developed, very angry.  Such was the anger that filled up the courtroom and spread through the streets of the city of Owerri, in South East of Nigeria, in a bizarre case of gruesome murder of a local farmer over an age-old land dispute.  It was nightfall and a woman eagerly waited for her husband to return from a trip to the farmland.  Not one known to stay outside in the night, his wife hurried to the local ruler to report, but was told to give some time to see if he would return. He did not.  The village dispatched a search party to look for him in the forests that lined up the path to the farmland.  No sign of him, anywhere.  For days, the search continued.  They were set to give up finally and return home when one of the folks noticed a heap of ash in a clearing in middle of the forest.  The heap contained burnt human body parts.  The woman was asked to come and verify.  She saw items that none other than her husband could have.  It was a sad end to the search.  The party took away from the heap, a charred part of human hand.  The community knew who must have done it – a very influential person.  He had sworn to do all he could to get the poor farmer’s land.  The family of the late man sued.  The partially burnt hand was tendered as exhibit in the court, but the judge ruled that it was not a man’s hand but rather that of a monkey.  The bereaved woman was disconsolate!  She went out of the courtroom, looked up to the heavens, waving the charred hands she prayed, “God, the judge said this hand  belongs to a monkey.  Please be my advocate.”  She went home in tears while palpable anger swept all over the city over the unjust ruling.  A few days later, that judge was travelling with his family to another city and had a fatal accident in which he perished with his entire family.  As sad as the story is, the lesson we learn is that Our God will avenge us of our adversary.  You sure do have an adversary, the devil and his agents, ask God to avenge you in areas in your life you need justice to prevail.  Let us pray!!

FRIDAY“When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned certain days and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven …” (Nehemiah 1:1-11)  Children cry.  It is almost a past-time for them.  They whine for food, for care or for toys.  It is not strange to us.  Women cry too.  They find it a powerful tool in making a point.  Even grown, adult males cry, like I do.  We see that, a lot these days.  A criminal cries when he is caught, but mostly because of a dented personal or family image; not for his wrong actions.  Tears are used for selfish reasons.  Nehemiah, in our passage today, cries.  We learn a lesson, not from his tears, but from what he cries about.  Nehemiah lives in comfort in his land of captivity and happens to be among the prominent people in the land.  He looks beyond the comfort of his environment, to the place where his heart should be – the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.  He enquires.  But the news coming out of Jerusalem is not so good.  He is disillusioned and begins to cry.  He weeps for a race and for a city.  Beyond the weeping, he takes action: to fast and to ultimately to seek the king’s permission to go and rebuild Jerusalem.  Do we realize that the church is a race too and also a building of some sort, like the temple at Jerusalem?  Whether it is praying Hyde asking God, “Give me Scotland or take my life…” or the church at Azusa Street, praying down the Holy Ghost upon America and in the entire world,  great things happen in the Church and in people’s lives when the focus shifts from being about us to being about others.  What’s in your heart today?  Look at the church of God, its ruins, its timidity, compromise (name it).  It should be about the church and others.  Let us pray … in Jesus’ name!!!

SATURDAY – “The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.”  – (Psalm 126:1-6) You may have heard the saying, “Nothing lasts forever.”  That is true.  Beauty fades.  Wealth eventually diminishes.  It might thrive while the owner of the wealth is alive or a few years after he dies, but eventually, depending on those for whom it has been left in their hands to manage, it dies too.  It is not only beauty, fashion, fads, wealth … that eventually fade or cease to exist.  Even hardship, or sickness, or whatever, will never last forever.  Yeah, we might argue that a certain sickness eventually killed someone you know, but the fact is that the sickness died too, the day the person died.  This is logically, isn’t it?  Crass logic, isn’t it?  But it is real if we all but think hard.  Captivity does not last forever too.  In our passage today, God “restored the fortunes of Zion..” in a most dramatic way.  It was unbelievable.  The enemy had all the chains in the right place and had prisons made of iron, so to speak, just to keep Israel away from their portion in the Lord – freedom.  But when the Lord, appeared, the prison bars and the ropes of slavery and oppression were cut into sunder.  You are set free from everything that annoys you today, in Jesus’ Name!  Pray and thank the Lord for His great blessings upon us during the week.  Name the blessings, one-by-one and thank Him for each one of them.  Let us pray!!!

Feb. 23 sermon handout

Click here to view or print.

Legacy assignments for Feb. 26

Click here to view a printable version.

LEGACY ASSIGNMENTS FOR FEB. 19-25

A Look Back (pg. 103)

My Feelings (pg. 547)

A Look Back:

 An influential mentor or pastor who was instrumental in developing my faith was… 

My Feelings: Psalm 56:8

We connect most intimately with people when we share in their frustration, joy or tears. Oftentimes, however, we are afraid to do this. But God isn’t afraid of emotion. As David said in this verse, God even keeps a record of it. God enters wholeheartedly into all of our emotions, whether sadness, joy, excitement, agony, anger, fear or grief. 

In my life, this is when I felt extremely joyful:

In this situation, I felt sad:

I knew God was with me because…

Related scriptures:  Psalms 13; 23; 42:1; Zeph. 3:14-20; Matt. 26:36-38

 

Difficulties We Face

In the second letter to the Corinthians that Paul wrote, he makes a comparison.  He talks about the extreme hardships he underwent for the sake of the gospel.  He was, “ afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed but not despairing; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” (II Corinthians 4:8, 9).  We know as believers that there are many difficulties we face.  However, Paul then compares what we will receive in the next life.  He says, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond comparison.”  In Romans he put it like this, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18).

When we go through sufferings, we must put it in the light of eternity.  He will one day wipe away all our tears and we will enter into the joy of the Lord forever.

Prayer points

Click here to view or print the Prayer Points from Sunday morning’s 10 am Prayer Meeting.

PRAYER POINTS – WEEK 22 (FEB 16, 2014)

MONDAY  “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God…” (I John 3:1-10)  A missionary had a great experience serving amongst a primitive tribe inhabiting a part of the Andes.  He learnt their language and in order to give them a Bible, he began to translate the Bible into their language.  However, he had problems translating the word “Love” into their language. They had no word for Love.  The closest they had to finding a word for love was “pain in the heart”.  Nothing could be closer!  Love comes with pain – the pain of giving.  We get pains from giving up who we would naturally be or how we would love to live, to make the person or those we love happy.  Sometimes they do the same.  There is so much turbulence when we live for ourselves and so much peace when we live for others.  Yet still, we might even get pains from those who spurn, trample upon or take advantage of our love.  Pains? Yes!  And now, we know exactly why we would have to look beyond the bright colors of the Rose flower, to the thorns that run down its stem.  Why should we have thorns in the body of something so beautiful?  Could it be that God in His Omniscience links love with pains too?  Could it be the reason that thorns were made as crown on the brow of His Son, Jesus Christ?  Didn’t Jesus die for Love?  The world speaks of love – something they know little or nothing about!  See the violence, hate, crimes, wars and blood-shed!  But true Christians know the Source of True Love – Jesus Christ, The Son of God!!!  He knew the pains of love when he left His kingly throne, came to earth, lived and died for us.  Did not our voices call out “among the scoffers” for His head?  We are so unworthy of Him, but He loves us still!  Let us celebrate Him in prayers today, for His great Love.  Let us thank God for His Unspeakable Gift and pray the Lord to direct our hearts to live to point others to this “no greater love”.  Let us pray!!!

TUESDAY – “Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification…” (Rom 15:1-7) Selfishness is a very old word. We all struggle with it one way or the other.  We wish things were different in the church.  However, it is still a problem amongst the clergy and the laity.  The good news is that the Bible has the solution!  If we would consider the other person better than ourselves, or live in such a way that our lifestyles makes life easy for others, we would have a much happier people in our pews and pulpits.  That happens when each person does and behaves the same way.  What a haven it would have been for us!  Sadly, this is a mirage.  Christians compete, heave,  shove and out-pace!  But do pause for this lesson from a group of individuals that we say they are mentally challenged.  They had this Special Olympics in a stadium.  A group signed up for the track event.  The whistle blew to announce the start of the race.  They wobbled, hobbled and ran towards the finishing line.  Then something awful happened.  One of them fell and began to cry.  The rest of them stopped running towards the finishing line.  They walked back to their fallen comrade, helped him to stand, wiped his tears and then did something mind-blowing.  They flanked out, held hands together and walked towards the finishing line.  Everyone watching cheered!  There were few dry eyes in the stadium.  What a way to run a  race!  What a way a race should end!  Everyone got to the finishing line at the same time.  Everyone had the first position!  That happened because these great people understood what it means to bear the infirmities of those who are weak.  Father, please take away from us the spirit that would compete.  Take away envy and jealousy.  Break the power of selfishness in our lives, in Jesus’ Name!  Let us pray!!!

WEDNESDAY “…Be content with such things as ye have for he hath said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee…”  – (Heb 13: 1-16)  Coming from Africa, I think I would have been disappointed if I only had the choice to live in States and cities with little or no record of the harsh cold of the winter and the snow and ice storms.  I wouldn’t have liked California or Florida.  My family and I wanted to experience snow – see it falling from the heavens, touch it and play in it.  Thanks be to God, by His great design, we came first to the city of Louisville.  I love the city, the people, our church … and the snow!  We survived the ice-storm of 2009 and since then have enjoyed a borderline experience, until this year’s winter.  Then the complaints poured in, from me, my wife and everybody else that cared to complain.  The cold is said to be in a class of its own and leaves for each family, after each visit, high energy bills, days out of school and having to skip work to take care of minors who have all become bored.  We have forgotten about the beauty of the snow.  Frustration has overshadowed the beauty of the whiteness of the snow or such lucent background it gives to the night skyline.  Last week, it visited us again and came with ice.  The ground under was frozen, the houses frozen, the streets frozen, and the trees frozen.  Did you see the ice cling to the branches of trees like it was life itself?  Or ice forming icicles and in some cases images that look like stalactites and stalagmites?  It was beautiful!  The ice on trees sparkled like millions of tiny diamonds, as they reflected the mid-morning sun last Sunday.  We wowed.  My daughter could not help but shout, “Mummy, see … it’s not all bad!”  We laughed.  Indeed, it’s not all bad.  We all just have to look out for the right reason(s) to be thankful.  We have to be grateful and thankful for whatever comes our way.  Look into your life and begin to see reason to thank God for every situation.  Let us pray!

THURSDAY – “…He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought wide grapes…”  (Isaiah 5:1-7)  A farmer had his fruits orchard close by a highway.  Among the trees in his orchard was one Mango tree.  It looked healthy by all accounts, tall, green and bubbly.  But year in and out, all it could show its owner was how green and fresh it looked.  No fruits.  He kept it year in and out, waiting for fruits to come out of this tree.  None came.  Then the highway needed expansion.  When the road Engineers called, he was more than ready to let the saw lay on the base of the tree.  He might have been willing to pay them money for cutting it.  It was unfruitful.  In our passage today, God laments Israel’s unfruitfulness.  Does that not resonate with us?  How fruitful are we, both in our personal lives and in bringing men to the Savior?  Isn’t it heart-breaking to hear God ask, “What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done?  He has given all things we need to be fruitful.  Let us ask Him to open our eyes to seeing and appropriating all He has provided to make us fruitful.  Lord, have mercy upon us!  Do not consume us in your hot displeasure.  Help us to be fruitful.  May our fruits be healthy, giving life to others even as they nourish us.  Pray!!! Name!!!

FRIDAY“any man that left house, or brethren, or sisters…for my sake shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, houses and brothers … and in the world to come, eternal life..” (Mark 10:17-31)  It is not Presidents that we should admire the most.  It is not governors, kings or princes or even that special someone in your family or elsewhere.  We sure should have these people in high esteem, but the person or people we should admire the most are those who have left all the comforts of a self-life for the service of God.  After so many years of serving the Lord as a Missionary in India, an old preacher was in a ship coming back to America, as the story says.  In the ship were great merchants, bureaucrats and men whom the government of the day had esteemed important.  A ceremony was held for the travelers as soon as the ship berthed.  The government recognized all those “great” men, one-by-one.  The Preacher sat in a corner of the hall, un-noticed and uncelebrated.  The ceremony ended.  His heart was heavy.  Even, in his own country, as good ambassador as he was, no one knew him.  It is not just the world that treats preachers that way.  The church too, sometimes.  How less, they are esteemed; how so misunderstood.  How the church benefits less when the much that the Father has given them for his church remains caged, or free but subdued on the altars of the many voices that would usurp God’s leadership in their lives.  How discouraged many have become at realizing that this is still man’s world – whether in the market place or in the church.  As for the old preacher, he and his wife logged their little suitcases and walked home.  The wife, noticing how sad he was, called him, “Honey, do not forget: you are not home yet!”  Yes, this is no “continuing city”.  Home is where the Father is!  Make no mistake, God “rules in the affairs of men” and sure has reward for all His children and His true servants.  Let us pray for Ministers of God today – for strength, for anointing, for courage and that God would help them stay strong, no matter what the world does!  Let us pray!!

SATURDAY – “…My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer…”  – (Mark 11:15-26) We live in a world and a society where everyone wants everybody to tell them what they want to hear.  The assertion of “freedom” for the average American has been taken to a near religious proportion.  No matter what perverted thoughts, words or behaviors, people invoke their “immunity” from any close scrutiny, flaunting the “freedom” card.  So for such people, they would read and stop at “My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer”.  The hard part is, “But you have turned it to a den of thieves…”  Does that mean that there is a relationship between “lack of prayer” and connivance with “thieves” to come into God’s house?  This calls for hard-thinking, especially if we would take this house from the literal interpretation of being a physical, church building, to mean our physical bodies – the temple of the Holy Spirit.  When Believers do not pray as they should, the thieves and robbers enter.  They first enter into the lives of the Believer, stealing time away that should have been used to commune with God.  The same prayerless Believer enters the church, bringing this life along and it festers.  Should so many people be in such a state, then it spells bigger problem for the church.  That is how our churches are dying.  But thanks to God, we have a church that prays and Believers whose closets are bursting open with their groans as they cry out to God, daily for themselves and others.  But, there is so much room for warriors of prayer on church altars as well as on the breakfast tables and closets of Believers, everywhere.  My house shall be called á house of prayer …”  Let us pray!!!!!!!