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Pray for Kings

1I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.  ~ I Timothy 2:1-2 NLT (emphasis added)

Acts Chapter 13:

The Holy Spirit sent the Apostle Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey away from Jerusalem to the island of Cyprus.  When they reached the town of Paphos, they encountered a Jewish sorcerer named Bar-Jesus (Elymas in the Greek).  He was also known in the Bible as a false prophet who was very close to the governor.  Elymas interfered with the witness of Paul and Barnabas by keeping them away from the governor.  Elymas feared that the governor was a very intelligent man and may become a believer if told the truth about Jesus.  Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit and stared Elymas down; then called upon God to strike the man blind so they could continue their mission.  His prayer was answered instantly and the man was blinded.  Elymas begged for bystanders to lead him away from the embarrassing scene.

Evidently the governor was watching the whole thing from a safe distance.  He was so shocked by what he saw that he became a believer in Jesus.  He had not heard the Gospel teaching about Jesus before this time; or had discounted it as being untrue.

This is a great example of why we should pray for our leaders.  Prayer changes things, Amen?  Not only will things get better in our nation, but as a result of prayers and spiritual support, some leaders may become believers like the governor of Paphos.  Do not be discouraged that all of our leaders do not become believers.  Leave that in God’s hands.  That is what Paul had to do later in the town of Caesarea.  Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem and after declaring himself to be a Roman Citizen, Paul demanded a trial in Rome.

Acts Chapters 23 & 24:

While being transported as a prisoner to Rome, Paul was taken as far as Caesarea and left there in prison to await further passage to Rome.

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Ancient Ruins of Caesarea, Israel ©Can Stock Photo/georgemuresan

In the meantime, Paul was able to witness about Jesus to Governor Felix and his Jewish wife, Drusilla.  Now Felix was very familiar with the Gospel of Christ, and he became fearful of Paul.  Instead of embracing the Lord Jesus as his Savior, Felix sent Paul back to his prison cell.  Two years passed, until Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus.  The new governor also heard Paul’s legal defense as well as Paul’s testimony of Jesus; as did the visiting King Agrippa, and the king’s sister, Bernice.  In summation, Paul literally gave an altar call to the Governor and royal guests,

27King Agrippa, do you believe in the prophets? I know you do – “

28Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”

29Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.”

30Then the king, the governor, Bernice, and all the others stood and left.

~ Acts 26:27-30 NLT

So not everyone will immediately embrace our testimony as truth when we witness – even our leaders; but we can still pray for them, as Paul did.

It is importantstuff to pray for our leaders.  Why?

3This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For,

 5There is one God, and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus. 6He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.

~I Timothy 2:3-4 NLT

 

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Stop Giving God Advice

One of these days I may get through Romans 11 and 12.  I guess for now I am stuck there until God says, “When you learn to stop giving Me advice, you may move on!”

Back into Romans chapter 11 now:

It seems that God’s mercy is for everyone.  Our Father God’s secretive plan is now revealed to Paul.  Clearly, God’s chosen people, the Hebrews, will be reinstated into spiritual fellowship with Himself via a circuitous route.  Since Jesus has been rejected by many of the Jews, God extends His mercy to include the Gentiles.  Oh my!  Such a thing must have been unthinkable back then!

30Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against Him, God was merciful to you instead. ~ Romans 11:30

But don’t think proudly that Gentiles are greater than Hebrews; for the mystery Paul talks about in verses 25-26 is that the Israelites will again turn to their Almighty God for salvation in Jesus once the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ.

31Now they (Hebrews) are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you (Gentiles) so that they, too, will share in God’s mercy. 32For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so He could have mercy on everyone.      ~ Romans 11:31-32

Why was this kept a secret by God throughout the centuries?  The answer could be as simple as God not allowing Satan in on the secret – loose lips and all that.

33Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! 34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? 35 And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back? ~Romans 11:33-35

Thank you, Lord, for including me in that number of fullness.  I am convinced that it is the most merciful, sacred, and secret number.  Even your prophets were never told.

May that number be so large that Heaven has to be enlarged to hold us.

Father, may it be as Your will dictates.

36For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen ~Romans 11:33-36

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God’s Sight

How do we know what is acceptable to God?  Shouldn’t we find out what His Word has to say?

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and reverence.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV (emphasis added)

The Apostle Paul wrote that he spoke the truth in Christ here, so I have to believe that to pray for all men is acceptable to Jesus, and will reap the reward of a blessed life.

Sometimes this generates the response of

“Easier said than done!”

Friends, I must leave it here.  Thank you for following Importantstuff.Live!

 

 

 

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Conformed vs. Transformed

This year is my 60th birthday in Christ Jesus!  I wish I could testify that my life was powerfully transformed the moment I accepted Yeshua as my personal Savior and that I lived according to His perfect will this past 60 years.

Truthfully, I have been more conformed than transformed.

1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ~ Romans 12:1-2 NKJV

Most of my life was not spent serving God, but in serving myself.  As a new believer, I was eager to learn God’s ways, but my enthusiasm waned as I progressed through childhood and on into adult life.  I became primarily focused on personal achievement, starting a family, and “the cares of this life” took over.  Focusing on the cares of life became such a priority that I slowly conformed to cultural “norms” of this world.  My body was not a living sacrifice to God.  I sporadically walked out my faith by thinking I was keeping the Ten Commandments, but for the most part I was “missing in action”.

Encouraged by the Apostle Paul, my focus now is to finish my faith race much stronger than I began.  To know the heart of God, read Romans 12.  The whole chapter spells out in plain language how to live a life that is pleasing to Our Holy Father God.  He states what our reasonable service should look like:

We should be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  How do we do that?  – By reading His Holy Word, the Bible.  We are to live, serve, and forgive fervently by the power of His love and Spirit.  So praying the sinner’s prayer puts our names in The Book of Life, but real transformation requires more from us.  We must draw close to Him and learn His ways.  That, dear friend, is accomplished through the daily reading of His “Good Book”.  There is no short cut to learning how to behave like a Christian.  Don’t waste valuable time missing the mark like I did.  Jump into Romans 12 with me and next time we will continue studying what God says about finding His perfect will in our lives.

Until then, HAPPY 60th BORN-AGAIN BIRTHDAY TO ME! and thank you for following

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