Our Weekly Petition

Prayer is crucial to the faithful Christian. The Bible is filled with examples of God-fearing followers petitioning God on behalf of themselves, their family, friends, and nation. We too must be God-fearing followers who petition God often. We are told to make our requests made known to God (Philippians 4:6), to pray for each other (James 5:16), to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and if we ask anything according to His will he hears us (1 John 5:14). So, with these truths we desire, as a people of God, to go before God this evening in prayer for the battle that each of you Christian soldier’s will face this week as you go into the world and be the light (Matthew 5:14-16). This is our Weekly Petition!

Father:

This world can often be such a difficult place. We desire to be more and more like you always, but sometimes we get in our own way. As we go into this world to be the light you have commanded us to be, will you help us to be humble, fruitful, and Christlike?!

Dear God, your people fall before you and hope to live a life full of praise, honor, and glory to your Holy name! We desire to live like, walk like, and think like your Son. So, God as we begin this week we pray for strength. Give us strength to make it through the day, resisting the temptations that may come, and persevering through the trials that will come. Give us strength to shine brighter so that others may see our good works and glorify you.

God, we pray for support. We hear of so many faithful followers falling on times of trial. We hear of committed brethren going through difficult times. And we are sure that we must go through suffering as well. But during these times more than ever we need support. God, we pray that you will send your support in your mighty and awesome way. That when we fall you will lift us up with your mighty and righteous right hand! And, Father, we pray that when your support comes we will have the humility to accept it.

Father we petition you for safety. Keep us safe from the evil one and all those who will encourage us to stray from your side. We pray as we enter this week that we will stay committed to your Word. And that from it we will gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Protect us always, our God! This week we pray for your people: students, teachers, administrators, doctors, officers, social workers, engineers, farmers, politicians, those who labor with their hands and those who labor with their minds. We pray that as the heat of the day rises you will keep us free from harm. We pray for the sick, the afflicted, the injured and hurting. Above all, we pray for souls to be saved and your Son to be praised! We give you all glory, honor, and praise as we end this prayer. May our words and our ways be ever acceptable to you. This our prayer, our weekly petition, we ask of you!

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

HOMECOMING/DECORATION

Homecoming/Decoration at Mt. Zion Church of Christ is happening on May 19th! We welcome Stan Dean as our guest speaker for the day. Services begin at 10am with classes for all ages. Following will be a worship service at 11am then a wonderful fellowship meal and an afternoon worship service at 2pm to conclude the day! We hope you plan to be with us on this wonderful day. Spread the word to help us spread the Word!

Will You Enter Under Construction?

Will You Enter Under Construction?

There is nothing more important in this lifethan studying God’s Word. However, often times we do not comprehend what we study because we are not effectively reading. We simply don’t know how to read or study the Bible. Like the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) we are stuck reading without understanding, having no one to teach it to us. We should start by praying for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom (James 1:5; Matthew 7:7).

Let me ask a question. Would you have a strong relationship with your spouse, sibling, parent, best friend, or significant other without ever talking to them? I remember as a teenager staying up to 2am or 3am on the phone with some girl I was dating (sorry Annalena, you’re my one true love). I even remember being so silly that we would stay on the phone while we fell asleep just so we “could be with each other”. I would wake up in the morning with a dead phone and my ear steaming. Don’t lie, you’ve done it too. Could you imagine ever building that strong of a relationship or desire to be with someone, without ever speaking or listening to them? Without getting to know them? Without communicating? All relationships are two way streets. Even our relationship with God. We will never have a true and strong relationship with God if we never communicate (read the Bible and pray) with Him. And if we don’t have a strong relationship with God how can we expect Him to bless us, hear our prayers, forgive our transgressions, heal our hearts?

Unfortunately I have heard things like, “Well sometimes reading the Bible is boring and it makes me fall asleep. And sometimes I just don’t understand what I’m reading”. I believe things that bore us and that cause us to fall asleep are things that we really don’t know much about, things that honestly don’t interest us. Like golf. Now maybe a few of you you like watching golf, but most of us put it on during Sunday afternoon just to get a better nap. That’s a bit fecicious, but my point is we will never be good at anything without practice. I believe that is partly a reason God gave us each other, the saints. We can help each other learn and stay accountable to God’s Word. This is a reason Bible studies with each other are so important. I need my brothers and sisters to help keep me accountable. I desire deep biblical discussion about hard hitting real life topics. I want to study God’s Word with you. I need this time together, we all do. Practice makes perfect. Practice educates. When we becomes educated on the Word of God we will find it less boring, less sleep provoking, and more understable. We will find joy in reading God’s Word and we will want more to increase our fulfillment. Studying together can help us learn how to read the Bible, talk with God, and grow a deeper and stronger relationship with Him.

But it all starts with the heart (Jeremiah 29:13). If we do not have a pure and longing heart after God we can never succeed in building a lasting and strong relationship with Him. There are many today who are like the pharisees. They worship with their mouth but their hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:8). This is lip service. You say you know God but do you really know Him? Better yet does He know you? Are you paying Him lip service or is your heart in it too? When our heart is cleansed and pure we are more willing to make the daily sacrifices in order to give time to God and His people. We are more willing to study the Bible. We have a stronger desire to do His will, study His Word, worship and praise Him. Our heart needs to be in it.

Today we are the temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). Our hearts are the center of the temple. Maybe we need to rebuild it just like the Israelites rebuilt the temple of God in the book of Ezra. The temple was where they went to communicate with God just like our hearts today. Notice in Ezra the sacrifices given continuouslly while rebuilding. Notice the difficulty and persecution the people had to endure. Notice the patience and the amount of years it took to complete. Notice all the kings that ruled while they rebuilt. Notice the lies people spoke of them while they did something truthful and pure. Notice the support system they had in each other in order to complete the project. Notice the unity and teamwork. Notice the devotion to God and His work that these people showed in order to rebuild their communication system to God. They LONGED to be with Him. Do you? We need to sacrifice, work in unity, build a support system, develop patience and accept that this change will not happen over night. We need to endure persecution and communicate for growth. We need devotion. We need God. We need Christ. We need each other.

How will you respond to God’s invitation to open His Word today? Take advantage of the time He has given us today to rebuild our hearts. Will you enter under construction?

Plug-In

I don’t remember the last time my phone died. I don’t remember the last time my phone was off period. It is continually on, running in the background, ready for use, and mostly reliable (AT&T service is awful in North Alabama). It doesn’t take much to keep the phone endlessly running. I just plug it in.

I have five chargers in my house, two in the vehicles, and one at work all for two phones. I haven’t yet upgraded to the on-the-go portable charges, but I can see the time drawing near. When I say all this out loud it seems like a bit much for such a small device. I want to always be prepared to plug-in, so the power never goes out. It’s not a tedious task, but it is a consistent one. I wish we were all as consistent with keeping our spiritual power on as we are with cell phones. Never-ending power all from being plugged-in. This can happen if we are willing to do just a few things.

  1. We must desire and be willing to be plugged-in. In 1 Samuel 17 we see a young shepherd boy named David who wanted to be plugged-in. David was God-fearing, and he desired to be used no matter how great the task. The Bible refers to David as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). We learn from reading the rest of the account that David went on to defeat the giant Goliath. No one else wanted to be plugged-in. No one else believed in the power of God. David did, and because of that the Israelites prevailed that day. If we would all desire to be a little more like David things would be better off. I hope God can one day say of me, “Todd is a man after my own heart.” This will never happen if I have no desire and willingness to be plugged-in to Him no matter how great the task is! Our willingness should stretch us beyond our comfort zones. But don’t worry God is with us and after all our service should glorify Him, not man.

 

  1. We must be plugged in to the right charger. Several months back while driving from Tennessee to Michigan I realized I left my phone charger at home. I stopped at a gas station to pick up a cheap charger. The cashier sold me one and then proceeded to tell me how the cheap knock-off chargers can and will damage your phone while charging. The power will get there for a little while but eventually the phone’s battery will become infected and the phone will die…forever. I don’t know how true this is (I never used the charger. I went to Target and bought a certified iPhone charger) but I do appreciate the analogy this has to our spiritual lives. Jesus reminds us of this fact in Matthew 15:10-20. In short Jesus says that what defiles a man are the evil things that come from the heart. We understand that you will get out of something what you put into it. If we decide to plug-in to things of this world we will be charged with things of this world. This power may sustain for a little while, but eventually the infection will take place in our hearts and corrupted we will die…forever. Fortunately, God gives us opportunity to unplug from the world and be plugged in to Him. Now is when that opportunity. Don’t wait. When we do this, we will live a life full of truth, honor, justness, purity, lovely, and commendable which is praiseworthy to God (Philippians 4:8). Get certified by being plugged-in to the power of God and His church. Oh and by the way the price has already been paid by the free-flowing blood of Jesus Christ. What a Savior!

 

  1. Finally, we must plug-in with intentions to never be unplugged ever again. Romans 12:2 commands us to be transformed by the renewal of mind and to no longer be conformed to the world. We have example after example of New Testament Christians being baptized and immediately going off to work for the Lord. They were fully convicted, fully committed, and fully plugged-in. It’s not enough to fill up to 20% and then run the low battery option for prolonged life (iPhone users will understand). We must be charged fully and stay that way. How? “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16). Don’t just read the Bible and pray but study the Word and intentionally talk with God. Don’t just strive to know the Book, but long to know the Author. Live better today than you did yesterday.

Being plugged-in is so much more than filling a pew 1,2, or even 3 times a week. I am glad you’re there but be willing to do more. We need to be plugged-in to God, to His church, to His people, to His Word, to His forgiveness, grace, and mercy, and to His Son. We do this through our conviction, commitment, and service. Scrolling through Facebook recently I saw a picture (of which I take no credit for) acronymizing the word fear. It said F.E.A.R has two meanings – Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. What a powerful message. The choice is yours. Will we face our fears, regrets, hesitations, and discomforts to desire and be willing to be plugged-in? Will we accept the calling of faith and plug-in to the truth, to God the Father? Will we intentionally plug-in for life? If so, God will charge you, change you, and do mighty works with you. Be continually on, ready for use, and reliable. God’s power is free, ever-flowing, and always available. Plug-in!

 

-Todd Johnston

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