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Ethnan Temple SDA Church
Due to lack of participation, the Single's Retreat has been postponed to a later date. Refunds have been issued to those who registered. If you have any questions or haven't received your refund, please call the church at (412)241-5773 or send us a message through the contact link.
Thanks for your support.
Ethnan Temple SDA Church
Gospel Work Finished Under Holy Spirit Power
Jesus foretold that the "gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14). Just before Jesus comes, there will be a tremendous evangelism explosion that will produce a mighty witness of the gospel on this earth.
The prophet Joel foretold two great Holy Spirit outpourings - the former or early rain and latter rain:
"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month" (Joel 2:23).
Peter indicated in his sermon on the day of Pentecost that the former, or early, rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit had begun on that day:
"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days my Spirit; and they shall prophesy" (Acts 2:16-18).
This early rain of the Spirit is also called the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
"And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence..... But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth: (Acts 1:4-8).
Praying God's Promises in the Spirit
God has given us many promises in the Bible to meet our every need. Both the Old and New Testaments have outstanding examples of God's people claiming the promises of His Word when facing difficulties.
One of my first exposures to the Bible teachings on prayer was in the ABC's of Bible Prayer, a book by Glen Coon. I learned the concept of claiming God's promises in prayer as a young Christian, and it has proved to be a great blessing throughout my life and ministry. The prayer formula is simple:
Ask: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matt. 7:7).
Believe: "Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believing that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).
Claim the promise with thanksgiving before any answer is seen:
"Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:41-43).
In these verses we see that Jesus thanked the Father for hearing and answering His prayer before there was evidence of it being answered.
God's promises are sure. We can be confident that God will do what He says:
"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Num. 23:19).
And He can do what He promises:
"Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee" (Jer. 32:17).
Just as the oak tree is in the acorn, so is the fulfillment of God's promises of God's Word, Ellen White writes:
"In every command and in every promise in the word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized" (Christ Object Lessons, p. 38).
God's power and very life is contained in the promises of the Bible. Nothing can stand in the way of the promises being fulfilled when we claim them by faith in persevering prayer.
In 2 Chronicles 20 we find a marvelous prayer model of claiming God's promises. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, was facing an imminent invasion by a confederacy of armies. He had made preparation for a crisis by building up Judah's army and defenses He had more than a million well-trained men ready for battle. However, when the threat became known to the king, his first response was not to look to his preparations for war, but rather to look to the Lord.
When we face problems in life our response should be the same - look to the Lord first. This doesn't mean that we don't do what we can to meet whatever situation may arise. The danger is that we have the tendency to go immediately to our human resources for help and deliverance. Our mind begins formulating ways to solve the problem rather than turning to God first. Jehoshaphat's response is a good example for us to follow.
Jehoshaphat's prayer is recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:6-13:
"And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rules not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine had is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of the land before the people Israel, and gavest it to the see of Abraham thy friend for ever? And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy names in this house.) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help. And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them not; behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children."
This prayer reveals five steps for victoriously praying for the promises of God:
* First, the king began by praising God's attributes, especially those related to the problem he was facing (verse 6). When facing an attacking enemy, as Jehoshaphat was, it was encouraging for him to recall that God rules over all the kingdoms of the nations, that "power and might" are in HIs hand, and that no one can waistband Him.
* Second, the king recalled past victories, similar to the present victory Judah needed (verse 7). Recalling God's provision in the past,as related to our present need, reminds us of God's faithfulness and builds our faith.
* Third, he stated in prayer a promise God had made to His people in the past - a promise related to the problem he was facing (verses 8 and 9).
* After these three steps in prayer Jehoshaphat then stated the problem (verse 10-12).
* Finally, he praised God before any evidence of victory was seen (verses18 and 19).
Note the formula for praying God's promises - and not focusing on the problem: praise, past victories, promise, problem, praise.
Today, we start our 40 Days of Fasting and Prayer. Here are a few points that we shared in Prayer Meeting last night. Each participant must team up with a prayer partner for spiritual support. Sis. Hood and I will also be available via conference call every night at 7:00 pm at (712) 775-7035. Your entry code is 398110. Membership is not required to participate. Books are available at $12 each. However, you can still participate without the book. I've included a guide in this blog post that will provide additional assistance with fasting for the first time. I am not the author. I found it online and thought it would be great additional help.
The 40 day fast is broken down into 10 day increments which I call a graduating fast because you're adding something every 10 days until completion. If you have health issues, please consult your doctor. If you start to develop health issues during the fast, please consult your doctor.
We are refraining from desserts during the first 10 days. Please don't look for ways to cheat. For example, a milk shake during dinner is just as bad as having ice cream after dinner. We are seeking ways to live healthier during this season of prayer. It is better to avoid sweets with your meals altogether.
Days 11-20 - We'll refrain from viewing television for pleasure. Christian programming that draws you closer to God is acceptable. However, as much as you can, free up your time to commune with God. Watching the news is also acceptable if you need the weather report, etc.
Days 21-30 - In addition to the other practices, we'll eliminate meat from our diet. What do I mean by meat? If it has a mother and/or father, we won't eat it during this time.
Days 31-40 - for those who can, we'll replace one meal per day with a cleansing tea.
Please Note - for those of you who are vegetarians or vegans, ask the Lord what you should give up during days 21 - 40. Some examples would be salt, negative comments or anger. You may want to add something to your life such as a daily walk in the park.
I get really excited when we get to the evangelistic time of the year. There is no time to argue over petty differences of even to focus on our personal challenges. Evangelism time is about getting the gospel to the masses. It's a selfless service. Many of us struggle with this concept because we haven't been properly taught what cleanliness or holiness is all about.
A good example of this is found in 2 Kings 5 where a rich and powerful leper is asked to dip in the Jordan seven times. The Jordan was a difficult challenge because it's appearance was muddy and filthy. There were other bodies of water that seemed more acceptable. What Naaman didn't realize was that the Jordan had a history of obeying God. Although other bodies of water were more appealing, obedience was the key.
In order to be healed, Naaman had to dip all seven times. Six would not do. Many come into the church and get a discouraged after making a few changes in their lives. However, many challenges come because we haven't obeyed completely. Let's talk about it today. What does the saint do once they're clean?
Tomorrow, we'll talk about Bringing Back the Glory of God to our worship. In preparation for that, I've posted this interesting conversation between Barry Black and Wintley Phipps. Worth the watch.
As we say goodbye to this interesting series on the relationship between the false gods of Egypt and the God of the Bible, I[m posting this video for educational purposes. It's well produced and gives some insight to the creation stories of Africa that definitely affect the creation story of the Bible. Here is the YouTube link to watch the hour long documentary video http://youtu.be/xfRdmx8J_3g
I decided that it was time to freshen up the site a little bit. It's a work in progress so I'm open to your comments and suggestions on what you think should be here and how it should look. Once again, thanks to those who make donations that keep this site going. We praise God for YOU!
Stan has officially been pastoring since 2003. His current church is in the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. Sign up below to receive weekly blog posts automatically. Enter your first name and your email address. Click "Sign Up!" and you're on your way.