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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 106

Corporate Prayer continued...

Psalm 111:1, “Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.”

Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, fellowship is a basic need for us as children of God. If I’m on the road for any significant amount of time, I begin to miss the fellowship, the corporate prayer times, and the togetherness of brotherhood, to the point that it becomes an almost physical ache.

Our goal as wise believers, and as sanctified saints, is not to find the most opulent, financially stable, influential, or well-perceived assembly, it is to find an assembly of the upright, and a congregation of the saints wherein we can praise the Lord with our whole heart.

Often times, it is because we start out looking for the wrong things that we never seem to find the right ones. The criterion by which we choose the congregation in which we worship – for most people at least – has more to do with driving distance, service time, length of sermon, program diversification, and scores of other things that have nothing whatsoever to do with righteousness, holiness, or uprightness.

Granted there are those who still put uprightness at the top of the list when it comes to looking for a fellowship, but such individuals are rare, and growing rarer with each passing day. The priorities of the household of faith have shifted – and yes, I am generalizing here – from God centered worship, to a man centered worship. We idolize the self, we praise the self, we glory in self, Jesus has been relegated to a second-tier act whenever we need to pump up church revenue, and yet we wonder why God is nowhere to be found in the church.

It is difficult to admit that we have done this to ourselves. It is difficult to admit that we have strayed from truth, and righteousness, and holiness unto God, and now we are reaping the harvest of our own rebellion. Just because something is difficult to admit however, doesn’t make it any less true, and I fear things will only deteriorate as time progresses.

I realize it’s getting harder than ever before to find an upright fellowship…I am not obtuse in regards to this fact. Just because something has grown more difficult however, does not mean we have permission to cease doing it altogether. We can’t stop looking, we can’t stop trying, because coming together as one, agreeing on a certain thing, and petitioning God in unity are Biblical mandates to which we must adhere.

Yes, it would be easier just to lock ourselves away in a cabin somewhere, with our Bible, a lifetime supply of water, some beef jerky and some crackers, but easy isn’t always right.

I would be lying if I said pulling a Jonah didn’t hold some appeal for me. I would likewise be lying if I said I’d never contemplated it, or given it serious thought. In the end however, it’s about the obedience, about standing your ground, brandishing your sword, and hacking away at darkness and deception until you can’t hack anymore.

Sauntering off into the sunset is tempting until you realize you are not your own, you don’t belong to yourself, and He from whom you ran will eventually find you. Where can we run from the face of God? Where on this earth could we possibly hide? Jonah tried, and we see what all the trying got him.

I will not deny that it’s getting more difficult to preach truth with each passing day, nor will I deny the number of those hungry for truth is decreasing at an alarming rate. As such, anyone coming into the ministry, starting a church or an organization, already knows that truth is unprofitable, and if you focus on the truth, if you focus on Christ, the cross, and repentance, you will never have the mansions, or the jets, or the yachts.

Because they realize preaching truth is hard work with minimal earthly reward, most men focus on how to circumvent or sidestep the truth altogether, and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, wherein because there is no gain in truth the truth is rarely preached, and because the truth is rarely preached fewer and fewer individuals come to the knowledge of the one true Christ.

In times such as these we need to pray for one another, hold up one another, entreat God for one another and fellowship with one another as often as we are able. I have noticed of late the enemy doing everything in his considerable power to divide the household of faith, to cause even those few that still remain on the frontlines to turn their swords against each other rather than the devil, and find reasons for which to stop communicating, agreeing, and fellowshipping together.

We must realize when it’s the enemy and rebuke him, for only when we rebuke him will he flee from us.

The enemy is mortified of a united front, of a body of believers standing together, in one accord, with one purpose, praying corporately and in agreement. Thus, the reason he attempts to sow division within congregations so readily, and why he is so focused on pitting brother against brother.

Like any experienced tactician, the enemy focuses on his greatest threat first, then on the weaknesses of his adversary. By what the enemy attacks, we know what he fears most, and it doesn’t take much to realize the enemy fears the power of the Holy Spirit, and a united body of believers.

When you couple these two aspects together, when you have a united church filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, then you have an army that can stand against the darkness, that can stand against the lie, and that can lift high the name of Jesus. Of this, the enemy is downright terrified.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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