When a nation falls into utter rebellion against God, people give themselves over to worshiping themselves, their sexuality, their immorality. They no longer simply practice these things themselves; they actively draw others into their sinful lifestyles.
The mentality in our culture used to be “Oh, I do this thing, but there’s some shame, so I hide it.” Now, warped and corrupted behavior is right out in the open. There is an unprecedented speed at which we are throwing off restraint. There’s a worship of self, a glorification of sin and an intolerance for the things of God in our current culture. Many of us have turned to wicked leaders. It seems as if, in this generation, we are going to be represented by someone who is immoral, ungodly and doesn’t know how to control themself.
Proverbs says, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (16:32, ESV).
We have people in this modern day who are ruling cities and whole governments but don’t even know how to rule their own hearts, behavior or mouth. I’m not saying that there is judgment on our country because we have wicked leaders. Rather it’s because the people want it so. We are given leaders after our own hearts.
Never once do you see Peter, James and John get out of jail all beaten up and go back to the church, saying, “We’ve got to change the court systems. We’ve got to change this government.” They never talked about a political answer to a spiritual problem. They always saw that it was a spiritual answer to a political problem.
The disciples stuck to preaching the gospel, loving people and putting all their hope in the Lord, their eternal king. So should we.
Anyone ever say to you, “I’ve got good news and bad news… Which one do you want hear first?”
I always say I want to hear the bad news first because I want to end on a good note. The bad news is we don’t know how to pray. Even the ‘best’ prayer warriors aren’t good enough. As for the rest of us, we may think, “I don’t have a good healing prayer. I don’t know how to pray for the Muslim nation.” If you’ve thought that, you’re certainly not alone. I’ve sat in prayer meetings, praying that they don’t ask me to pray! The Apostle Paul even said this, “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought…” (Romans 8:26, ESV).
The good news is that the Holy Spirit, God in us, helps us to pray. You could be saved 10 minutes and still be powerful in prayer, because it’s not up to you.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20)
Paul is saying, “This is not dependent on you. You don’t have to be eloquent or speak in Old King James. You can pray — say something, say anything — and God will get it right for you.”
We’re thinking, “If I don’t pray the right thing or mess up somehow, then nothing’s going to happen.” Nothing could be further from the truth. God goes beyond our simple words. God goes beyond your ask. He goes beyond the words that we don’t even know how to say. Even if our prayers don’t make the grade, God pushes them far beyond anything we would’ve thought to ask. God takes what we say, makes it right and then puts power behind it, which takes so much of the pressure off of us.
We pray, “Help,” and God thinks, “I know how to interpret that for them.”
After pastoring an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years, Pastor Tim served at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years and pastored in Lafayette, Louisiana, for five years. He became Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in May of 2020.
In the midst of this worldwide “shaking of all things,” what is God’s great concern in all of this? The Bible tells us God’s vision is trained on his children: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy” (Psalm 33:18).
Our Lord is aware of every move on the earth, by every living thing. And yet his gaze is focused primarily on the well-being of his children. He fixes his eyes on the pains and needs of each member of his spiritual body. Simply put, whatever hurts us concerns him.
To prove this to us, Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Even in the midst of great world wars, God’s primary focus isn’t on the tyrants. His focus is on every circumstance in his children’s lives.
Christ says in the very next verse: “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will” (Matthew 10:29). In Christ’s day, sparrows were the meat of the poor and sold two for a penny. Yet, Jesus said, “Not one of these small creatures falls to the ground without your Father knowing it.”
Jesus’ use of the word “fall” in this verse signifies more than the bird’s death. The Aramaic meaning is “to light upon the ground.” In other words, “fall” here indicates every little hop a tiny bird makes.
Christ is essentially telling us, “Your Father’s eye is on the sparrow not just when it dies but even when it lights on the ground. As a sparrow learns to fly, it falls from the nest and begins to hop along the ground. And God sees every little struggle it has. He’s concerned over every detail of its life.”
Jesus then adds, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (10:31). Indeed, he says, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered” (10:30). Simply put, the One who made and counted all the stars—who monitored every action of the Roman Empire, who keeps the galaxies in their orbits—has his eye fixed on you. And, Jesus asks, “Are you not worth much more to him?”
Jesus gives us more than one reason why we need his peace. Christ said to his disciples in John 14:30, “the ruler of this world is coming.” What was the context of his statement? He had just told the twelve, “I will no longer talk much with you” (14:30).
Jesus knew Satan was at work in that very hour. The devil had already enlisted Judas to betray him. And Christ knew that the religious hierarchy in Jerusalem was being empowered by the principalities of hell. He was also aware that a devil-inspired mob was coming shortly to take him prisoner. That’s when Jesus said to the disciples, “Satan, the wicked one, is coming. So, I won’t be talking to you much more.”
Jesus knew he needed time with the Father to prepare for the coming conflict. He was about to be delivered into evil men’s hands, just as he had spoken. And he knew that Satan was doing all he could to shake his peace. The devil would harass and attempt to discourage him, all in an effort to break Christ’s faith in the Father—anything to get him to avoid the Cross.
You may be in turmoil, thinking, “It’s over. I’m not going to make it.” But Jesus says “I know what you’re going through. Come and drink of my peace.”
Right now you may be going through the hardest time you’ve ever faced. Your life may be unsettled and things may look hopeless. There seems to be no way out for you and every avenue you turn to fills you with more stress, confusion and weariness.
It doesn’t matter what you’re going through. Your life may look like it was struck by a tornado. You may endure trials that cause others to look at you as a modern-day Job. But in the midst of your troubles, when you call on the Holy Spirit to baptize you in the peace of Christ, he will do it.
People will point to you and say, “That person’s world has come completely apart. Yet he’s determined to trust God’s Word, live or die. How can he do it? How does he go on? He should have quit long ago. Yet he hasn’t given up. And through it all, he hasn’t compromised anything he believes. What amazing peace! It’s beyond understanding.”
May I give you a word I believe is from the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit? It has to do with what I believe is one of the greatest needs in the church today. Indeed, it is a word every believer ought to hear.
This is the word: Growing numbers of Christians are no longer fully satisfied with Christ. He is being dethroned by what the Lord himself called thorns. Jesus defined thorns as the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of other things entering into the heart. Christ said these are the thorns that choke the Word and cause it to become unfruitful.
I ask you, is the Lord more on your mind than a year ago? Do you spend more time in his presence than a year ago? Is your passion for him growing or withering?
Many of those who once were passionately in love with Christ now run about pursuing their own interests. They’re burdened down with stress and problems, chasing after riches and the things of this world. They have grown cold or lukewarm, and they have less and less time for Jesus. The Lord and his church now get only an hour of their time, on Sunday mornings.
Jesus said, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6). In other words, that person is drying up, no longer drawing life from the true vine. He is deceived by thinking all is well, because he still speaks the language of the intimacy he once enjoyed with Christ.
I hear the Holy Spirit calling the Lord’s people back to their first love. Back to hungering and thirsting for more of Christ. Back to spending quality time in his presence. Back to loving his Word. Back to casting all cares upon him. Back to depending on him for guidance.
Christ desires intimacy with his bride. He yearns after his beloved to return to him with love and obedience. I humbly submit this word to you, trusting the Holy Spirit will stir your heart and draw you closer to himself.