Archive for July 17th, 2012

I’m sure, if you have been a Christian for any length of time, you have pondered this question or at least heard others discussing it.

Here’s one pastor’s take on it as he interacts with Romans 13.  I found “Was the American Revolution Sinful?” very helpful.

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It is a miserable thing to be a backslider. Of all unhappy things that can befall a person, I suppose that it is the worst. A stranded ship, a broken-winged eagle, a garden overrun with weeds, a harp without strings, a church in ruins, all these are sad sights — but a backslider is a sadder sight still. A wounded conscience — a mind sick of itself — a memory full of self-reproach — a heart pierced through with the Lord’s arrows — a spirit broken with the inward accusation — all this is ataste of Hell. It is Hell on earth.

Truly that saying of the wise man is solemn and weighty, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.” Proverbs 14:14 . Now what is the cause of most backslidings? I believe, as a general rule, one of the chief causes is neglected private prayer. Of course the secret history of falls will not be know until the last day. I can only give my opinion as a minister of Christ, and a student of the heart. That opinion is, I repeat distinctly — that backsliding generally first begins with neglect of private prayer.

Adapted from J.C. Ryle, A Call to Prayer

HT: Aaron

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Recently on First Importance:

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13 )

Why does Luke 11 refer to the Father giving the Holy Spirit? To be honest with you, I used to think, What if I wasn’t asking for the Holy Spirit? What if I was asking for something else? Why does Jesus say the Father gives the Holy Spirit in response to our prayers?

The answer to this question uncovers the beauty of the Spirit of God in our lives.

Think about it this way. Maybe you are going through a struggle in your life. A tragedy strikes you or someone close to you, and you are hurting. So you go to God in prayer, and you ask him to comfort you. Do you realize what God does? He doesn’t give you comfort. Instead he gives you the Holy Spirit, who is called the Comforter. The Holy Spirit literally comes to dwell in you and puts the very comfort of Christ inside you as you walk through your pain.

Suppose another time you are making a big decision in your life, and you need help. You have a couple of different options before you, and you need guidance to decide which way is best. So you ask God for help. But he doesn’t answer with guidance. Instead he answers by sending the Holy Spirit, who is our Guide. God sends the Helper, who will live in you and not only tell you what decision to make but also enable you to make that decision.

Yet another time you need discernment, and God gives you the Spirit of wisdom. At other times you need strength, and God gives you the Spirit of power. Still other times you ask God for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, and he gives you the Spirit, who makes all these things reality in your life.

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Helper, the Guide, the very presence of God living in you.

This is the great promise of God in prayer. We ask God for gifts in prayer, and he gives us the Giver. We ask God for supply, and he gives us the Source. We ask God for money, and he doesn’t give us cash; instead, so to speak, he gives the bank!

— David Platt, Radical , (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2010), 57-58

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