Prayer Request: Afghanistan and Susan Heck

Hello, dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well! This morning we heard the sad news that Susan Heck’s husband, who had been fighting COVID Pneumonia, passed away. Doug Heck was a graduate of Moody and The Master’s Seminary, he served faithfully as the senior pastor for Grace Community Church of Tulsa, and just as faithfully was a husband to his wife for 46 years. Please join us in praying for Susan, their family, and their congregation. Just as we rejoice that Doug has gone to glory, we mourn with Susan and their loved ones.

The second prayer request I have comes from the recent upheaval of the Afghan government by the Taliban due to the removal of our troops from the country. While it’s true that there will be long term concerns, I ask that you would take time to pray for the believers, missionaries, and volunteers that are now at great risk. Many of them are trying to leave, others don’t have that option. We’ve already seen a return to the horrid treatment of women and children, as well as the cruelty and malice this group of terrorists are best known for. God is sovereign, and in the face of persecution and hardship the Church grows while faith deepens. Thank you for joining me in praying, my friends. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Throwback Thursday: Pray and Study

Throwback Thursday: This was originally posted on April 29th, 2017.

I want to start by making very clear here that I am in no way intending on heaping condemnation onto my brothers and sisters in Christ. I mean only to edify the body and help explain a possible reason for the lack of prayer and study within the church.

I also want to clarify that this is not going to make sense to those who are not believers but are instead Christians in name only. I know this for certain because I never understood this the entire decade I was pretending to be a Christian. I was perfectly happy being spoon fed the word and even happier to take your word for it. This is the reason why false teachers are so successful, we can see them on every “Christian” channel preaching a different gospel, a different Jesus, and a different god. A more common term for this would be heresy, there are more notable speakers teaching heresy, or even worse, blasphemy, then there are teachers proclaiming the true gospel.

I began my Christian faith wondering how we got to the place where famous preachers could announce loudly that Christ wasn’t the only way to Heaven and still manage to have any credibility. I think I can say assuredly it’s because of a lack of prayer and study within the body of true believers.

Let’s start with prayer. Before I was saved prayer was something I did out of obligation, it was done with a general sense of annoyance. The first few months after I got saved that changed, slowly at first, and then like a snowball falling, collectively the idea of what prayer began to drive me to my knees. The annoyance then became the need to do anything else besides study and prayer. What changed?

Study changed.

Before being saved I was perfectly happy to listen to TV evangelists twisting scripture to fit their worldly desires. I also enjoyed anything that was new information, as one enjoys the discovery channel. It didn’t have to be accurate, and I certainly wasn’t going to crack open my dust collecting Bible to check. Once I was saved the Word of God became the primary source, and great men expounding on it needed to be consistently vetted. More so than that, the Word became spiritual food. I felt a hunger for it I had never felt before, the desire to immerse myself in the Bible and to understand what I was reading was overwhelming.

This change led me to a greater understanding of both prayers, and study. What is prayer for the believer? It is one of the greatest gifts God has given us.

Apostle's Hands
Study of an Apostle’s Hands (Praying Hands) by Albrecht Durer

We are granted the tremendous honor of coming before the throne of God with our thanksgiving, supplication, and requests. This is the very God who had saved me from the chains of sin, a pointless life, and from eternal damnation. I get to come before Him, He hears me. Never once have I ever deserved the honor of coming before the King of Kings!

What brought me to this conclusion? Understanding what the Word is. John teaches us that in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. That Word became flesh…when we pick up Gods Word we need to recognize that on every page we are seeing Holy Spirit inspired Words. The majesty of this is too great for me to understand, however, what I do see is the tremendous blessing we have been given to have the Word.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to have been an Apostle before the cross? The Holy Spirit hadn’t come, Christ hadn’t risen, all they have was the OT to go on. They were waiting for the Kingdom to come! They thought Christ was about to bring it down. What do you mean you’re going to die? What about the Kingdom? All the way up until Jesus Christ, Messiah, Lord, Savior, ascended the disciples were asking about the Kingdom. It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit came that they finally understood the OT. We have the benefit of reading that very revelation they were given.

Can you imagine also what it must be like to live in a country where this Word is illegal? How precious every page must be to believers, and every second they can spend reading it. It is easy to take for granted the amazing blessing some of us have to freely read the Word. I even have the Septuagint on my phone, along with every type of translation. How blessed is this generation? As blessed as we are ignorant of said blessing.

So, what do you do if you’re one of the many believers who does not understand the Word, and find very little joy in reading it? Or perhaps even less joy in praying? First, let’s remember that there are those out there particularly gifted in these areas, we should not compare ourselves to one another. Our comparison should always be Christ. Secondly, let us remember that we need to be growing in grace and knowledge. If you want to enjoy these things but the desires of the world are overpowering you bring it before the throne in prayer. Ask to thirst for God’s Word, ask God to help you love Him with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. We can do nothing apart from Him.

Finally, friends, be good Bereans. Paul called the Bereans more noble then the Thessalonican’s because they accepted the Word while searching the scriptures to see if it was true. We need to take every thought into captivity, which means we cannot continue to accept what the TV evangelists, or even our own pastors, preach without checking its accuracy against the Word of God. Not partial scriptures, but the whole counsel of the Word.

I hope this helps you all grow in prayer and study, friends, to show yourself approved.

2 Timothy 2:15

Please Pray For Us

I’m so sorry, dear friends, that I’ve been a little silent this weekend. It’s been a difficult couple of days, if you could pray for us that would be greatly appreciated. We did go live on Friday, but I wasn’t able to post about it here. Kayliegh had her first ever sleep over, and the girls had so much fun! Yesterday was a difficult day, it could have been so much worse. Eventually I’ll tell you all about it, but for now I would just ask for prayers for our family. And please be praying for Becca, as she travels to So-Cal with her family! They have been planning this trip for so long, and I’m so excited to see her take some time off. She works so hard for the podcast, networking and creating graphics. Below is a link to watch that MEGA list from Friday. Thank you, in advance, for your prayers. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Pray For Our Sister-In-Christ

I heard this morning that a dear sister in Christ who has blessed me through her Instagram has been diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. She has a four-year-Old and a two-year-Old. While she, and her family, head to Texas for treatment please be in prayer for them and consider helping them financially. Her husband is having to take time away from work to care for her.

You can find her Instagram hereHere, and support her here. If you have an Instagram account and you can take a minute to let her know she’s got the body of Christ behind her in prayer.

Sunday Hymns of the Past: Blessed Redeemer, Graciously Hear Us

Dear ones, some days are better then others for my brain. Some days I feel sharp, like I can pay attention, remember things, avoid running into door knobs and counters (walls, furniture, anything and everything within a two foot radius) and accomplish everything I need to get done with ease. And then other days my brain goes into what I’ve termed “space cadet mode”. In space cadet mode I remember nothing, in fact I often wake up with bruises everywhere from all the things I ran into, only I can’t even remember running into anything. Unlike those kitchen counters, I don’t feel sharp. I can’t pay attention to anything, my thoughts race so fast that I can hardly put two of them together and form a sentence, and I accomplish very little. It can feel helpless, hopeless, and overwhelming.

These days are the days when I cherish the old hymns. They remind me that this is not my home, and that one day my brain will be restored, this sin cursed body will be raised anew, and I will never again struggle with these light afflictions. They remind me to be thankful in this short trial, often over as soon as it starts! And I am thankful to God for my Space Cadet Mode. It’s often in these modes that I let loose and have more fun with my daughter. I don’t strain myself to fit as much work as I possibly can into each second. It reminds me of my great need for God, and my need for prayer. And the bumps or bruises remind me to rejoice in Gods grace, that the pain is only momentary. God is good. Regardless of what I am going through, God is good. I hope this hymn will, likewise, bless you. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Blessed Redeemer, graciously hear us,
Breathing devotion like incense to Thee;
Tenderly shield us, lovingly cheer us,
Blessed Redeemer, Thy children are we.
While in Thy kingdom angels adore Thee,
Joyfully singing ever before Thee;
Grant our petition—hear, we implore Thee,
Voices now singing praises to Thee.
Tenderly shield us, lovingly cheer us,
Blessed Redeemer, Thy children are we.

Tranquilly fading, slowly declining,
Twilight is passing in beauty away;
Now on Thy bosom safely reclining,
Teach us, our Father, oh, teach us to pray.
Blessed Redeemer, leave us, oh never,
Till we have anchored over the river,
Till we shall praise Thee, singing forever,
Jesus, our Savior, glory to Thee.
Now on Thy bosom safely reclining,
Teach us, our Father, oh, teach us to pray.

Twisted Tuesday – In Jesus Name

Hello everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means I’ve got the misfortune of discussing what is, for believers, a grievous topic. The twisting, misuse, misquoting, or taking of Scripture out of context. Today I want to talk about praying in Jesus name, what it means and what it most certainly doesn’t mean. For a little background into my perspective here, as you all might remember from my testimony, I was raised in a Wiccan household. There were books of spells, crystals, and incense often burning in varies rooms. We had a Bible, and my mother was mixing the two, although mostly it was goddess worship. She has thankfully been saved by grace, or so I hope, I don’t know her heart but can see some fruit. This childhood has given me a unique concern for the ever growing presence of New Agism mixing into the church. It seems to be affecting the way we view John 14:13-15.

Oprah’s Secret, the Word of Faith, and New Age beliefs all teach that you speak things positive to get positive in return. Each group phrases this differently, and many add Christian words to give authority to what they’re saying. This is, at the core, just repackaged Wiccanism. As a witch your words are the power, you speak it and believe it, then it’s supposed to change something within the universe. Nothing is new under the sun. This is how many treat prayer, as if it were an incantation, which has its final deal in the phrase ‘In Jesus Name’. For the Word of Faith in particular, this is how they command things to happen how they want them to happen. When things don’t go as they commanded, somewhere someone didn’t have enough faith. This is obviously not how our Savior intended this text to be interpreted. Anytime we attempt to use prayer, or the ending words to our prayer, as a formula to gain what it is we want, we’ve gotten it wrong.

So, now we know what it’s not, what does it mean? When we pray we are not coming before a genie who is waiting anxiously to hear what our next demand is. We are praying to a God so great that without Christ we could never stand before Him. This God is holy, perfect, just, righteous, and blameless in all His ways. We, as born again believers, come before Him as adopted children, who have been rescued and ransomed from the slavery to sin and death. As new creatures in Christ we should desire the will of God on earth as it is in heaven. As 1 John 5:14 explains, when we ask in His name according to His will He hears us. Scripture makes clear that God is not handing us a blank check needing only to signed In Jesus Name. This is yet another reason why it’s so imperative to take the full counsel of Gods Word, and not pull a verse we like out of context.

Throughout John 14 Jesus is comforting His disciples, who are distressed to hear that they will be without their Lord. He repeats two points more than twice in the chapter. The first is that if we love Him we will obey Him. The second is that the power the disciples would have would come from Christ, and not from them. This was an important point to humble these men who would be used by God to complete the Scripture. We see later in Acts chapter 4 Peter telling the Jewish leaders the very same thing, that they are teaching in the name of Jesus, that is where they receive their authority. In this way we see that ‘In Jesus Name’ is asking for things that are within the will of God, as the name of Christ stands for all that He is in Scripture, and to give God the glory for every answered prayer.

As a side note, to expound upon this a little further, I have many family members still in the WoF movement. They frequently tell of how their prayers healed someone, or how they were given material blessings, after they had prayed for it. This is a really good example of the misunderstandings that revolve around the purpose of prayer. These are people who, though they say the words, are doing anything but praying in the name of Jesus Christ. They’re not asking in His will, but in their own desires. They do not give God the glory, but brag about their own righteousness. Let us be careful not to abuse Scripture, or prayer, but rather to be humbled by Gods provisions. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Prayer Requests

Hello all! I have a few things that I could surely use my brothers and sisters prayers on. First, someone who confessed they were not saved but had been attempting to assuage their conscience through religious duties. They felt they were too sinful to be saved, while admitting their desperate need. I’ve never come across such a person, with the awareness of their sins and brokenness to confess them. Please join me in praying for God to grant this person repentance and faith.

I also have a close family member who is in the Word of Faith movement, but has gotten some very serious medical news. Tests are being done, I’ll be sure to update you all on this. They are tragically convinced that this is due to their lack of faith, please pray that God would give this person discernment. Friends, we are promised trials and tribulations on this earth. The rain falls on the good and the bad alone. No amount of seed sowing will change this, and it is not as a result of speaking negatively or having doubts.

Thank you for joining me in prayer for these issues, dear ones. If you have anything you’d like to mention for prayer in the comments please do, and know that when any of you mention family members or friends that need prayer I have and will continue to pray with you. I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy fellowship. As always, brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimonies – Timothy Olenyo of Africa

Hey there, dear ones! I hope this post has found you all doing well. I’d like to continue to highlight Hearcry Missionary Society’s testimonies. Below we see that there are many forms of false work based religions in Africa, many claiming to be Christian. Join me, beloved, in praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ that are fighting the good fight in the missions field of Africa. ‘The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few’ so let us pray for the workers! I was so blessed by Timothy’s testimony, I know it will be a blessing to you all as well. As always, brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Wednesday Testimony – Luke Hahn

Beloved, today I have a testimony to share with you that is so encouraging. After a long, difficult week, Luke’s reminder of the blessings which come from our trials was needed and edifying to me. I pray it will bless you as much as it blessed me. It’s always a joy to hear God receive glory for the miraculous work of salvation! As always, dear friends, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Prayer Request

Beloved, please pray for my husband if you get the chance. Last night he lost a patient that he had been treating for a while. It was a little baby boy, if you could also pray for the babies parents I know they’re going to need it. They’re believers, so thankfully they have the Almighty God to cling to in this desperate time. Thank you all, God bless you dear friends!