Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Prayer in Times of Trouble

Send me a sign of your favor.  Then those who hate me will be put to shame, for you, O Lord, help and comfort me (Psalms 86:17 NLT).

This Psalm is entitled a prayer of David.  Most likely it was prayed in times of trouble. David asked for three things, mercy and grace, strength for the battle (v.16), and that God would send him a sign of his favor (v.17).  Nothing silences the attack of our enemies more than a demonstration of God’s favor in our lives.

Trials should always drive us to our knees.  The attacks of David's enemies taught him when and how to pray.  In his prayer, David contrasts the goodness of God and the wickedness of man (v. 14-15).  David had learned never to put his hope in man.  Someone once said that “we can never expect too little from man, or too much from God.”  David then pleads for strength.  In the midst of the fiery trial, our first inclination is to avoid it.  God often wants to give us the strength to tread through the trial rather than walk around it.  In summing up the first two parts of his prayer, he first asked for grace and mercy to do what he could not accomplish himself.   David then requested the strength to undertake things possible for him to do.  God does not do things for us that we can perform ourselves, nor does he expect us to do things we cannot achieve.  Spiritual maturity is discerning the difference between the two.

Finally, David asked for a sovereign sign to shame his detractors.  It is an exercise in futility to convince those of darkened minds.  Leave the results unto God, and he is well able to silence your foes.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com
                http://gleaningspodcast.blogspot.com






Monday, August 7, 2017

Persuasive Language

"Jesus Christ and him crucified"
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power 
(1 Corinthians 2: 4 NIV).

The Apostle Paul had determined to know nothing but “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (v. 2).  Some of us use persuasive language based the wisdom of man, instead of the power of God (v. 5).  It is fine to use your eloquence to communicate the Gospel better, but it is not acceptable to use the Gospel to demonstrate your rhetorical skills.

Paul’s message was God-center and not man-centered.  He sought only to glorify Christ.  Some of us in our public speaking like to use ten-dollar words.  Impressive words that may or may not communicate to our audience.  These expressions may indicate that the speaker is smarter than others, but do they actually make those with whom he speaks smarter?  It is not as if Paul was not a skilled speaker.  He “determined” (v.2) to know nothing among them and to not come with “superiority of speech.”  The Greek culture of the day valued philosophy and human wisdom.  Paul valued divine insight.  His enemies, both inside and outside the church spoke contemptuously of him.  For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive, and his speaking amounts to nothing” (2 Corinthians 10:10 NIV).  The strategy of the enemy of the Gospel has never changed.  Smear the messenger to discredit the message.  

What was Paul’s response to these accusations?  He let the truth speak for itself.  He didn’t try to be more eloquent with impressive words.  He proclaimed the simple message of the Gospel and allowed the power of God to validate his message.  In the end, this is the most persuasive of all language.


Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com
                http://gleaningspodcast.blogspot.com