Tag Archives: Kingdom Prayer

How Long?

How much longer will we, as the body of Christ, hide like ostriches with our heads buried in the sands ignoring the systematic destruction of our nation? How many more catastrophes like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre will we allow to happen on our watch and do nothing? How much longer will we shed a tear, feel sorry for those involved, duck our heads, and then forget and go on with life, thankful it did not happen where we live or affect our family? How much longer will we do nothing? How long indeed!


How long will be refuse to pray—to cry out for the heart and the soul of this nation? Oh, we can debate how the world did not want God in the schools, but the world did not shut the door. The body of Christ turned the knob and slammed it in retreat, unwilling to stand up and contend for what is right. We abandoned the schools, the government, entertainment, music, and everything else now swirling around the bowl and headed for disaster with our feelings hurt because they did not want us. We—the body of Jesus Christ—have abandoned the walls of that fair city on a hill (a Puritan description of America), and allowed pure evil to scale her walls and stalk her streets. We are the watchmen, the last line of defense for the helpless, the hopeless, and those who have no chance apart from a relationship with Christ. We are the thin line of defense (not the police, the military, or the government) that stands between this nation and the anarchy of her utter destruction. We have not been put here based on whether or not others want us or our God. We have been put here to protect them, to love them, and to show them Christ. We have been put here to stand firm! We have been put here to pray—to cry out for mercy for those who don’t even know they need it. Our responsibility has been given to us by Almighty God. And…we have abandoned our post!


How long will we run and hide? How long will we pack into our cloistered little communities as hell engulfs the world around us and act as though nothing is happening? During the height of the atrocities of the holocaust in Germany, the Christians whose churches were located along the railways sang louder in their  worship to drown out the cries of the Jews, the Poles, the Czechs, and the Gypsies as the trains carried them to the gas chambers of the concentration camps. How long will we ignore the calamity and think it will not swallow us up as well? How long will we avoid our responsibility? Perhaps—until that same evil comes for us?


How long will we not pray? Not cry out in desperation and fasting for God to move? How long will we withhold what is within our power, privilege, and responsibility to do? Or do we really believe the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14? How long will we, those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and forgiven of our sins—who are called by God’s name—not humble themselves, instead of arrogantly acting like the world around us is getting exactly what they deserve? How long will we refuse to pray for those who choose not to think like us? How long will we sit back on our hypocritical hunches thinking those around us are surely getting what they deserve and not seek on their behalf, the face of a merciful and grace-filled God we claim to love and serve? How long will we refuse to repent for the wickedness of refusing to love as Christ loved, to turn the other cheek as Jesus did on the way to the cross, or to die to self, and if necessary in our physical bodies—to spare others who have as yet not come to know Christ? We talk a lot about hell, but we really don’t believe in its horrors or our attitudes and actions would be far different. How long will we sit idly by and not pray? For as sure as God sits on his throne in heaven and his word is true—until the church moves and obeys the commands of her head—God will not hear, the effects of rampant sin will run wild, and our land will die, unhealed. How long will we do nothing and expect anything to change?


How long do we think we can continue to act like this and call ourselves the church? How long indeed?

The Valley of Preparation

The Valley of Preparation

I once heard a friend as he was teaching make a statement that has proven true over and over again in my life. He said, “Between the mountain of promise and the mountain of provision is the valley of preparation.” Ponder that statement a few moments before you read further.

God always gives his kids promises. Those pledges of assurance are often found in the pages of his written word or in the whispered voice of the Holy Spirit. There are certain promises that are common to all of us and others that are tailored specifically just for you or me. Once God gives a promise, his intention is to fulfill it. Often as he gives the promise, he will give us a little glimpse of its provision—what that fulfillment will actually appear as. Our problem as we view those two mountain tops is our depth perception.

Have you ever stood on a mountain top and looked at another peak? From the top of the mountain, all the other peaks look amazingly close. That’s because our depth perception from that perspective is skewed. Everything looks closer from the mountain top—the reason is that’s God’s perspective. But once we climb down the mountain to pursue our provision for the promise we’ve received, our perception changes and we realize the valley between the two pinnacles is farther than we thought.

This distance between the promise and its provision is called the valley of preparation. The problem is not with God, his promise, or his provision. The problem is we are not quite ready for what God wants to do in or through us. So, the valley of preparation is where we are carefully fitted to make the daring ascent to the summit of our promised provision.

The journey is often arduous and hard. It is sometimes called the desert, the wilderness, or the fiery furnace. Yet, it is through this journey that we learn perseverance and obedience, both of which will serve us well sometime in the very near future. It is here on this journey that God unpacks the backpack we packed on the climb down the mountain of promise. We tend to stuff every crack and crevice of our knapsack with items of flesh we think we need instead of the things of the Spirit. Thus, God is forced to force us to let each one go. The reason—those things will kill us once we begin the steep climb up toward the provision of God’s promise. To gain the provision of the promise we must climb in the power of the Spirit. Too much flesh and too little Spirit is a recipe for a stupid slip and a deadly fall.

Perhaps you are crossing this valley right now. If so, pay attention to the carefully marked path God has set before you. Lighten up your load at every opportunity and keep putting one step in front of the other. God will show you what you need to extricate and abandon—obey. Push on even when you want to quit—persevere. The scenery will change and the mountain in the distance will soon be within your grasp.

By the way—just a warning as you traverse this valley. You will see the devil somewhere along the way thumbing for a ride—that I can guarantee. But listen closely, whatever you do, don’t pick him up. He never wants to ride, he always wants to drive. If he gets a grip on the steering wheel, who knows where you will end up.

Destination Israel. The Power of Gethsemane (Part 10)

Garden of Gethsemane Olive Treee

The Garden of Gethsemane is one of the highlights and one of the holiest sites for any pilgrim visiting Israel. This ancient olive grove is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives on eastern slope above the Kidron Valley within the walled grounds of the Church of All Nations. It was here in this garden that Jesus prayed while His disciples slept (a situation too often repeated) in those fateful moments just before He was arrested and later crucified.

            This was a favorite spot for Jesus and His disciples when they attended the Jewish feasts and festivals in Jerusalem. They would often spend the nights here—tucked securely away from the crowds seeking miracles and the religious leaders seething with murder. As the sun would set, Jesus would retreat down the eastern slopes of Jerusalem along the winding trail from the Eastern Gate through the valley and into the garden. In the silence of these cool nights, they would talk of that day’s ministry and message, and pray together in preparation for the next. This was the spot were tired bodies found a respite and tired spirits were revived by the Holy Spirit.

            This was the place where Jesus led His intimate band of followers immediately after their historic supper where the last Passover Meal was celebrated and the first Lord’s Supper was instituted. Among these olive trees Jesus left the larger group and took Peter, James, and John with Him a little deeper into the grove to pray. It is likely that some of these very trees (some over 2,000 years old) witnessed the great cosmic battle that transpired as God’s will became the only will worth dying for.

The Rock of Agony

  As you step into the Church of All Nations (also known as the Church of the Agony) the focal point of the church is a huge flat stone that rests inside a short wrought iron fence in front of the altar. It was here that Jesus prayed alone as His three close friends were overcome with sleep. This stone soaked up every droplet of blood that fell from Jesus’ forehead as He prayed and wrestled with the direction of His destiny.  On this rock, the Rock of ages was chiseled into the cornerstone of a new house that Father God was building for His own personal residence.

            In this garden, the second Adam did not succumb like the first to the ancient serpent’s tempting words, “Has God really said…?  And with the victory secured, Jesus watched the torches of the temple guards led by Judas snake their way back and forth down the crooked path from the Temple and awaited the traitor’s kiss that would seal the fate of sin’s deadly dominion once and for all. This secluded garden had just witnessed a prelude in the darkness of what would transpire in the light over the next three days. The Son would rise and the light would overwhelm the darkness.

            The power of Gethsemane is not the ancient trees Jesus knelt under or the stone Jesus prostrated himself on. No—the power of Gethsemane was that simple prayer that shattered the power of hell. A prayer so powerful it echoed back through the portals of time to another garden where one act of self will had set in motion this amazing act of selfless will. The power rests in these simple words uttered by our Lord—“Not my will but Thy will be done!” In that surrender the victory came.

            That power is available for any situation or circumstance you face, but you must surrender and allow the Father to squeeze or press (Gethsemane means oil press) you until like Jesus you confess, “Not my will but Thy will be done!” In that surrender victory will come.

Cultivating a Culture of Honor (Part 4)

The last time we talked, I shared the concept of honor through creation. My point was God honored us in, through, and by the act of His creative power. Every person—no matter their prestige, power, position, or lack of—is valuable and deserving of honor. I believe this to be a divine principle on which we as a culture will rise or fall—and we are fast tumbling into the bottomless abyss of relativism and an aberrant brand of social re-engineering at the moment.

This divine concept of honor stands in direct opposition to the voice of a so-called empirical science, or modern entertainment, or hip social morays, or a decadent culture clamoring for the right to rule supremely with the sole intent of smothering the voice of right and reason. Let me show you what I mean with some simple illustrations of a few “isms” whose time has come to be “was-em’s.”

The religion of evolution devalues human beings by placing them on the same level as any other plant or animal. It insidiously destroys the honor we are to have for one another. At its root it teaches what has popularly become known as the “law of the jungle”—the belief that only the strongest survive, and thus, the weak are necessarily expendable on Darwin’s altar of species.

The problem (there are more than I can deal with) is when this “ism” is translated into our cultural experience we tend to forget about our brothers and sisters who are struggling—who don’t have it all together—who are drowning in the black water of despair, or poverty, or sickness, or a hundred other things that destroy the fabric of humanity. We turn away and ignore them—leaving them on their own. Instead we celebrate the strong, the successful, the beautiful, and the powerful. These are the esteemed and the most often imitated. What we honor in culture is what our culture becomes. Evolution tells us to honor the strongest and bid adieu to the weak. In doing so, we bid goodbye to our own selves should we become injured, sick, lose a job, endure the death of a spouse…you name it. Everything can change in a moment and if only the strong survive—humanity without God will surely become extinct.

Racism is a religion as well whose worshippers deify their own selves. In essence they have become their own gods.  Racism is narcissistic dishonor run wild. This deadly “ism” declares its particular brand of participant to be superior and all others inferior. Racism is a cancer in any culture—no matter the flavor of those who imbibe its deadly smoke—religious or social. Every person is valuable—no matter the color of their skin or the beliefs they hold in their heart.

I could go on and on but I think you catch my drift. There are innumerable beliefs, systems, and doctrines at work with only one desire—to destroy the belief that there is a God who has revealed Himself through the very creation we are all a part of, and nowhere plainer than in every man, woman, boy, and girl.

Jesus declared that the greatest commandment was to love God and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Loving ourselves is not the problem—loving God and proving we do by loving our neighbor is the crux of the issue. Everything is at war with this commandment.

Honor fleshes out the Great Commandment of love—all the other “isms” have scarred the landscape of creation with a trail of death carved out in what we call human history. Read a page or two and see what conclusion you come to.

Cultivating a Culture of Honor (Part 3)

The first two chapters of the book of Genesis are invaluable tools for establishing God’s original and perfect intent for creation. It is here we find His perfect pattern—His signature blueprint—His magnum opus if you will. If you want to understand how things are supposed to be—what the perfect will of God was—just look at the beginning, which is what the word “genesis” means.

On the sixth day God created man (the original word means male and female—i.e. humanity). Genesis 1:26-31 tells us God created man in His image and likeness. God bestowed glory on the man and woman in their creation. He honored them by doing this. They and their descendant were to be the visible representatives of the invisible God.

Psalm 8:4-6 reveals the depth of what God intended in creation: “What is man, that You take thought of him? And the son of man, that You care for him. Yet You have made him a little lower than God (the word is Elohim—the same Hebrew word used in Genesis 1 and 2 for God), and do crown him with glory (honor) and majesty (another word meaning ornament, splendor, and honor)! You made him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.”

Humanity was clothed in God’s glory. We are not gods and never will be, but we are dressed in God’s glory. He gave it to us along with majesty. In creation, humanity was honored by being created in God’s image and likeness—dressed by God with glory—with honor. At the culmination of that day, God spoke something different than on the previous days. He said, “This is very good!” That superlative makes all the difference.

On that day God gave humanity an intrinsic value through how and when they were made. They were the last things created—the apex of His creative masterpiece. Creation follows a pattern that gets progressively more complex the farther it goes. He stamped them with value and affixed a price tag within them that read “Precious.” Along with this honor, God gave them dominion—the right to rule all creation. Clothed in His glory they were to express the weight of that glory through their attitudes and actions to the rest of creation.

You know the story—they blew it. But in blowing it, they did not lose the gift of honor or glory given them through their creation. That image and likeness is still there—though marred a bit. That’s why Jesus came—to restore everything that had been lost.

Now back to this idea of cultivating a culture of honor—this honor given at creation is still inherent in the human package. It is a part of our essence. We don’t earn honor, grow into honor, or even achieve honor. Every person is given honor as a part of who they are. It doesn’t matter whether you’re born in middle class America or a poverty-riddled slum in some third world country—male or female—educated or illiterate—red, yellow, brown, black, or white skinned. You have value—not for what you can do, but because of who you are. You are created in the image and likeness of God. You are the image bearer—an Imago Deo—of God. A faint one…maybe—a messed up one…perhaps—a marred one…certainly, but when all is said and done—you are one—created in the image and likeness of God.

This may be a bit more than you can swallow—something you might have to chew on for a while, so I’ll stop. Check it out—don’t take my word for it, but certainly don’t believe all the gobble-d-gook you’ve been fed by shrinks and charlatans, would be erudite college professors, and self-proclaimed Bible experts. We did not—never happened—crawl up out of the muck and soup of creation to where we are today, but we have certainly crawled back into it through disobedience and dishonor. We have not evolved, but we are devolving because what we’ve cultivated is a far different crop than the original one God planted.

Cultivating a Culture of Honor (Part 2)

The essential element of any workable plan is to clearly define it. In a multi-cultural postmodern society this may be the most important thing we do. To effectively consider, discuss, or disagree we must all be talking about the same thing. The words we choose to use must accurately articulate what we mean. Otherwise we may use the same words but have different meanings. Therefore, let me define what I mean by honor.

Honor is a characteristic of an eternal God. It has been employed throughout eternity past and present within the Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus the definition must find its construction through the terms and ideals presented in the Holy Scripture that reveals God. Honor is an attribute of God not an invention of humanity.

The Old Testament uses eight different Hebrew words for honor. Each one adds a hint of luster to the richness of this powerful term. By considering some of the biblical definitions we can arrive at an adequate one for this discussion.

The most oft used term is the same root word that speaks of God’s glory. In fact, it carries the same meaning. Whenever the Bible mentions the glory of God, it is described as weighty or heavy. Honor and glory are synonymous, meaning the same thing. In creation humanity was given a glory from God that represented and mirrored His own glory (we will talk more of this later). To honor initially means to recognize one’s glory.

Another important aspect of honor continues this idea of recognition. To honor someone in the Hebrew culture was to see and value the beauty, splendor, majesty or vigor inherent in a human being. This idea of honor created numerous practices of hospitality that still echo through many Mid-Eastern cultures today—like greetings with a kiss or invitations to travelers for a meal or lodging. These acts recognize and thus glorify the image and likeness of God found in every person.

Another aspect of honor is a word unique to the book of Esther and Daniel. Honor is invested with the idea of something being precious or valuable in price. To honor a person is to recognize their inherent value—not for what they can do, but for who that person is. It is interesting that both these books chronicle the struggles of a people (the Jews) seeking the bare basics of honor in a culture intent on absorbing their uniqueness through matriculation or destroying it through extermination.

One other nuance of honor is the idea of taking, carrying, or lifting up. Whenever honor is given—a person is lifted up to a new level. It occurs in both the giver and the receiver. Honor always reciprocates.

Thus we need a definition that incorporates all these ideas, and the original Greek language of the New Testament does this through the idea of affixing a value or price on an object. To honor means to value something for what it’s worth.

Therefore, honor is recognizing and responding to the beauty and glory of God in every person. It is an acknowledgement of their inherent value as human beings made in the image and likeness of God, and a choice to revere and respect that beauty no matter how marred it might be. By honoring people, we lift up that person to a new level so the image of God within them becomes clearer to all.

Honor is cultivated one individual at a time, but honor is reaped over generations. Romans 13:7 tells us to render honor to whom honor is due…i.e. that’s everyone.

Cultivating a Culture of Honor (Part 1)

Honor is an endangered species—almost extinct in the American culture—seemingly destined to join the ranks of the dodo bird and the tyrannosaurus rex. Honor was once a treasured attribute to be freely given or gained. Honor was a sign of respect—an esteem offered in reverence—a valuation of dignity and deference to another. Today, the once chivalrous ideals immortalized by the knights of King Arthur’s Roundtable have been replaced by a selfish egocentric-minded horde of Conan the barbarians.

Dishonor has ascended and seated itself on the throne and authentic honor is quickly becoming its court jester. Our government is awash in scandal and partisan politics where the most effective tool of destruction is dishonor. The news reporting agencies, once reported by objective journalist, have now become purveyors of innuendo, half-truths, and total miss-truths intent on destroying through dishonor any movement, organization, or person who disagrees with their particular flavor of  belief. Pop culture entertainment reeks with dishonor. Even our children’s video games are filled with the violence of dishonor. It is a pandemic that has been loosed on our society that if not challenged and changed will result in the beauty of God’s highest creation becoming just another ravenous carnivore roaming the jungle where only the strongest survive.

 It was never meant to be this way—this was never God’s plan or purpose. What we are witnessing is the rapid evolution of evil and the sad unconcern of the church. The darkness is getting darker while the light seems to be fleeing to the hinterlands of some non-existent place. The fault for this dilemma rests not on the world around us, but squarely on the back of the church. Let me show you what I mean.

The word “culture” is derived from the agricultural term “cultivate.” By cultivating, a person prepares the ground for planting and sows the seeds. A good definition of culture is the result of what we have planted intellectually, spiritually, politically, economically, and physically. The biblical principle of sowing and reaping is clearly evident if you choose to look around.

We have not cultivated honor in our own families and churches, and therefore, dishonor has filled the vacuum. Dishonor is rampant within the church. Rather than value people, we tend to use them. You might not like that but think about it—have you been valued for what you can do—a task, a job, or a service—rather than for who God created you to be? If so, you have been dishonored. Have you ever been made to feel guilty because you chose not to do something some one else felt you would be great at? You were dishonored. Have you ever been used or abused by someone in spiritual authority? You were dishonored. Have you ever looked down your nose at someone or felt superior or more spiritual? You committed dishonor. We have all experienced it and are all guilty of it.

Things must change. We must be the ones who cultivate a new kind of culture—a culture of honor. If we do nothing and expect change to come—we have fulfilled the definition of idiocy. If this culture of honor thing intrigues you, join me over the next few weeks as I lay out a radical but biblical plan on how we can change culture one person at a time through honor. It is simple but profound!