Praying Those People Out Of My Life… or not

Picture 147Take it away Lord,” or even, “Take him away Lord,” is a probable response to those who resident our lives, those contentious ones who make living uncomfortable. We wonder why this person must occupy a space we’d prefer be vacant.

From Psalter it is evident Israel’s David contended with similar struggles, and yet, God chose to leave Saul in his life for more than a decade after making it known the shepherd boy was His man.

A favorite tweeting buddy of mine (well, actually he doesn’t even know I exist save for brief interaction occasion ago) spoke recently of an answer to this leaving people like Saul in our lives. Why was Saul left in David’s life for so long?

My self-decreed friend (who doesn’t know I exist) shares,

“Saul was left in David’s life to ensure his God got rid of all the Saul from out of David’s life.”

That my friends, is deep, so if it didn’t sink the first read, glance again. Of course, there is the question though of which side of this equation I occupy; Saul or David? Hmmm… could there be a little lot of both in all of us?

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Conflict in the Strip

GazaThe conflict in Gaza is no doubt of interest to much of the world. In this seemingly endless aggression between Israel and Palestine, we find side-takers excitedly promoting their causes for one reason or another, some to the side of the Jewish people and others to the side of the Palestinians. Sometimes, put mildly, these stances are sounded abusively.

One explicit case of this was heard in a crowd full of professing Christians and activists who went into a cheerful outburst at the words of an Israeli soldier, “Hamas started this war. The soldiers of Israel must smash their skulls and break their spines.”

To be fair, there is an equal, or probably more so aggressive stance from the world against Israel. A Belgian café owner displayed a sign denoting, ““Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Jews are not under any circumstances.”

It is not for me to say Israel is wrong in their efforts to find peace and protection for her citizens, as since reports seemingly agree the terrorist militants, Hamas, uses the innocent as death targets to promote an agenda, but there is the question of compassion for a people who were also at one time exiled from their homes, these Palestinian people.

I wonder what kind of stories we might hear if it were possible to speak personally with the elderly in Gaza; a young Palestinian child; those who have lost loved ones to retaliatory fire? I think, for me, it is worthwhile recognizing that this conflict, age old as it may be, involves complexities beyond the eschatological influence of recent generations, and I see no value in finding zest in the suffering of anyone.

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Knights of the Wrect-table

GOJWe purposed to read and hash about words penned by the disciple whom Jesus loved; we have and Lord willing will, yet even in this wrect-table mulling, a rabbit is sure to run occasionally. So it does.

Scurrying from my inept corner comes the comment-ish-question, ‘are we all supposed to be theologians?’

Focused remarks I think satisfied the hare’s tunneling, and yet, this thought lingered well beyond our time together, at least for me.

The term theologian probably stretches the web a bit, but the gist of the thought is to wonder have we become a bit infatuated with knowledge, having every possible tool known for study of the Word at our fingertips. Can I boast of a great deal of knowledge and yet fail to take the learning from page into street and alley?

Acts 2 along with a host of accompanying texts will make the neglect of study neglectful of duty at best, for we all are called to mature our diets; meat somewhere must replace milk.

Those kindergarten believers of Pentecost found it dutiful to balance their Word-meal with a couple other activities, not the least of which included prayer and fellowship. While culture stands still for no one, there is an apt realization of what works and why it works penned up in Luke’s narrative.

The believers devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching. The believers devoted themselves to the fellowship. The believers devoted themselves to the breaking of bread. The believers devoted themselves to prayer. 2:42

Peter’s sermon, the gospel, effectually produces body functions; a love for the Lord, a love for the Word, and a love for His people. It is in this bodily structure where God moves and resurrects new life day by day. So the Lord adds to the church daily those He is saving.

To love the Lord with my entire mind will leave me no grounds for backing away from the table of God’s Word, but as one at the wrect-table suggested, if the extent of knowledge travels no further than the mind, then it will have been no more profitable than left on a page.

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Dispatching Conversations

What is being said of Tim Keesee’s Dispatches…

Dispatches“Beware of Dispatches from the Front if you don’t like being moved and inspired and shaken out of the ruts of your life. These are kingdom stories that build faith in the present providence of God over his mission and stir up action for the sake of lost and hurting people near and far. I would love to see thousands of people mobilized as senders and goers for the sake of the glory of Christ and the relief of suffering on the frontiers, especially eternal suffering.”
– John Piper, Founder, desiringGod.org; Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary

Dispatches from the Front is a thoughtful, moving, understated, and ultimately convicting narrative depicting the work of the gospel in some of the most challenging corners of the world. It tells of brothers and sisters in Christ who in God’s grace display faithfulness and transcendent joy, unflagging zeal to share the gospel, and an unfettered allegiance to King Jesus. To read of the kingdom advance in the teeth of challenges is to learn humility and rekindle contrition, faith, and intercessory prayer.”
– D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Like a war correspondent, Tim Keesee has brought us to the front—to walk down bomb-shattered streets, along jungle paths, and into the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Their Christlike courage in living as ‘lambs among wolves’ is a striking witness to the power of the gospel.”
– Jim DeMint, President, The Heritage Foundation

“The Lord promised to call to himself people from every nation, tribe, and tongue, and few things thrill me more than seeing and hearing how he is fulfilling that promise. Tim Keesee has a remarkable ministry in traveling the world to seek out what the Lord is doing and to make these things known. Dispatches from the Front allows you to travel with him, and if you go along, you will be blessed, you will be encouraged, and you will praise God.”
– Tim Challies, blogger, Challies.com; author, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment

There is a special at Westminster Bookstore. Buy the physical copy and receive the digital for $1.99.

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Dispatches in a Read Manner

Crazy as it may sound to some I would much rather read than watch. What I mean to impart is a sort of ‘I prefer the book over the movie’ persuasion on my part.

A very excellent set of videos available for those mission minded folk is Tim Keesee’s Dispatches from the Front. I think they are currently on number seven and they are highly recommended from our home.

DispatchesToday though, an ecstatic shout toward my Kindle could be heard as I joyfully found that Tim Keesee has released a book of these adventures of his travels abroad into the lands where our missionaries serve. Can anyone say, “Wah-hoo?” Go ahead, you know you want to say it.

From intro… (By reading this book) you will see the curtain pulled back on the glorious and unstoppable advance of the gospel. This is a dangerous book to read, for you may never be the same. Come and see.

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