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REMNANT November 2011 Vol. 1 No. 8

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The Christian magazine for the rest of us.

why is it so hard to pray? what’s in your bags? do you love more than these things?

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November 2011 Volume 1 | Number 8

Me 8 more than these things?

REGULAR FEATURES: Questions of Jesus

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Portraits of Christ

20

The Last Word 22 What Must I Do to be saved?

23

REMNANT

why is it 13 so hard to pray? 17what’s in your bags?

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JOHN POWELL Publisher | Art Director | Webmaster john@remnantmagazine.com Find this issue and more at www.RemnantMagazine.com Also visit my sister site: www.JesusCaresAboutYou.net Access on your mobile phone: www.JesusCaresAboutYou.param.mobi

JesusCares_4u Dedicated to my sons Brandon and Caleb, to my Mom and mentor in the faith, and to

Jesus Christ

in whose name I cast this bread upon the water. www.remnantmagazine.com

give your Bible a workout

B1BLE

see page

5

Challenge Day

take 30-day the challenge! Follow this plan to read the entire Bible in 1 month.

Beginnings

BUILDING A NATION

Poetry and Wisdom

Prophets

New Testament

1

Genesis 1-11

1 Samuel 1-8

Psalms 1-8; Proverbs 1

Isaiah 1-8

Matthew 1-7

2

Genesis 12-20

1 Samuel 9-15

Psalms 9-16; Proverbs 2

Isaiah 9-16

Matthew 8-14

3

Genesis 21-28

1 Samuel 16-24

Psalms 17-22; Proverbs 3

Isaiah 17-24

Matthew 15-20

4

Genesis 29-36

k

1 Samuel 25-31

Psalms 23-29; Proverbs 4

Isaiah 25-32

Matthew 21-28

5

Genesis 37-45

2 Samuel 1-10

Psalms 30-34; Proverbs 5

Isaiah 33-39

Mark 1-8

6

Genesis 46-50

2 Samuel 11-18

Psalms 35-37; Proverbs 6

Isaiah 40-48

Mark 9-16

7

Exodus 1-11

2 Samuel 19-24

Psalms 38-41; Proverbs 7

Isaiah 49-57

Luke 1-6

8

Exodus 12-18

1 Kings 1-11

Psalms 42-46; Proverbs 8

Isaiah 58-66

Luke 7-12

9

Exodus 19-24

1 Kings 12-16

Psalms 47-50; Proverbs 9

Jeremiah 1-6

Luke 13-18

10

Exodus 25-31

1 Kings 17-22

Psalms 51-57; Proverbs 10

Jeremiah 7-12

Luke 19-24

11

Exodus 32-40

2 Kings 1-10

Psalms 58-64; Proverbs 11

Jeremiah 13-20

John 1-6

12

Leviticus 1-10

2 Kings 11-17

Jeremiah 21-26

John 7-12

13

Leviticus 11-20

2 Kings 18-25

Jeremiah 27-31

John 13-21

14

Leviticus 21-27

1 Chronicles 1-9

Psalms 73-77; Proverbs 14

Jeremiah 32-38

Acts 1-7

15

Numbers 1-10

1 Chronicles 10-16

Psalms 78-83; Proverbs 15

Jeremiah 39-45

Acts 8-14

16

Numbers 11-17

1 Chronicles 17-22

Psalms 84-89; Proverbs 16

Jeremiah 46-49

Acts 15-21

17

Numbers 18-27

1 Chronicles 23-29

Psalms 90-92; Proverbs 17

Jeremiah 50-52

Acts 22-28

INSPIRE

IGNITE

Psalms 65-68; Proverbs 12 Psalms 69-72; Proverbs 13

EMPOWER

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questions of

jesus

Where are your accusers? (John 8:10)

b y john powell

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he longed for love. To the nameless woman in the eighth chapter of the Book of John, love was fleeting, always escaping her grasp, like trying to catch the wind. “Perhaps, this time, with this man, things will turn out different”, she thinks. Suddenly, the door flies open, banging against the wall. Several men, dressed in priestly garments, come bursting into the room and drag her out of bed into the street. Sitting in the temple, Jesus is teaching the people when a sudden commotion outside causes all heads to turn. It’s the group of Pharisees, shadowed by an angry mob, dragging the woman caught in the act of adultery. These men do not really care about the woman. To them, she is just simply bait to trap Jesus. “The law says we should stone her,” their voices cry in unison, attaching the bait to the hook, “But what do you say?” Jesus acts as if He does not hear them and casually writes in the sand with His finger (John 8:6). Then they ask again, “What do you say? Tell us Master. What should we do with her?” Weary of their continued questioning, Jesus finally lifts Himself up and speaks, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” What follows is an awkward, deafening silence. Eyes glance around. Heads look downward. A throat clears. Feet shuffle. Finally, somewhere in the mob, a whiteknuckled grip releases a stone and it falls to the ground with a thud, breaking the silence. Then another. Then another. In unison the group had come, but now they turn and depart one at a time. As the last accuser leaves, what is left behind looks like a miniature graveyard, a field of stones each marking the place where grace won the victory over the arrogance and self-righteousness of religion. Jesus turns to face the woman, “Where are your accusers? Is there anyone here to condemn you?” Her body trembling in fear, the nameless woman’s voice breaks as she lifts her head to look around. “No one, Lord.”

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“Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus speaks. “Go, and sin no more.” What Jesus fingered that day in the sand was an essay on love and a silent rebuke against man’s arrogance and self-righteousness. Just a few days later, He would write another essay in the sand, this time loudly written in crimson. Each drop of blood which would fall from His wounds and splash upon the ground would be yet another essay on love, and a rebuke against religious arrogance. So don’t think it’s the nails which fasten Him in place on the cross. No, it’s love which holds Him there. And what Jesus spells out so plainly on the cross is the same message, “I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

When Heaven is Silent Finding Hope in Our Scars Read online or download a FREE PDF www.jesuscaresaboutyou.net/whenheavenissilent.html

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B 1 BLE Challenge Day

take 30-day the challenge! Follow this plan to read the entire Bible in 1 month.

Beginnings

BUILDING A NATION

Poetry andWisdom

Prophets

New Testament

1

Genesis 1-11

1 Samuel 1-8

Psalms 1-8; Proverbs 1

Isaiah 1-8

Matthew 1-7

2

Genesis 12-20

1 Samuel 9-15

Psalms 9-16; Proverbs 2

Isaiah 9-16

Matthew 8-14

3

Genesis 21-28

1 Samuel 16-24

Psalms 17-22; Proverbs 3

Isaiah 17-24

Matthew 15-20

4

Genesis 29-36

1 Samuel 25-31

Psalms 23-29; Proverbs 4

Isaiah 25-32

Matthew 21-28

5

Genesis 37-45

2 Samuel 1-10

Psalms 30-34; Proverbs 5

Isaiah 33-39

Mark 1-8

6

Genesis 46-50

2 Samuel 11-18

Psalms 35-37; Proverbs 6

Isaiah 40-48

Mark 9-16

7

Exodus 1-11

2 Samuel 19-24

Psalms 38-41; Proverbs 7

Isaiah 49-57

Luke 1-6

8

Exodus 12-18

1 Kings 1-11

Psalms 42-46; Proverbs 8

Isaiah 58-66

Luke 7-12

9

Exodus 19-24

1 Kings 12-16

Psalms 47-50; Proverbs 9

Jeremiah 1-6

Luke 13-18

10

Exodus 25-31

1 Kings 17-22

Psalms 51-57; Proverbs 10

Jeremiah 7-12

Luke 19-24

11

Exodus 32-40

2 Kings 1-10

Psalms 58-64; Proverbs 11

Jeremiah 13-20

John 1-6

12

Leviticus 1-10

2 Kings 11-17

Psalms 65-68; Proverbs 12

Jeremiah 21-26

John 7-12

13

Leviticus 11-20

2 Kings 18-25

Psalms 69-72; Proverbs 13

Jeremiah 27-31

John 13-21

14

Leviticus 21-27

1 Chronicles 1-9

Psalms 73-77; Proverbs 14

Jeremiah 32-38

Acts 1-7

15

Numbers 1-10

1 Chronicles 10-16

Psalms 78-83; Proverbs 15

Jeremiah 39-45

Acts 8-14

16

Numbers 11-17

1 Chronicles 17-22

Psalms 84-89; Proverbs 16

Jeremiah 46-49

Acts 15-21

17

Numbers 18-27

1 Chronicles 23-29

Psalms 90-92; Proverbs 17

Jeremiah 50-52

Acts 22-28

18

Numbers 28-36

2 Chronicles 1-9

Psalms 93-100; Proverbs 18

Lamentations 1-5

Romans 1-8

19

Deuteronomy 1-10

2 Chronicles 10-20

Psalms 101-106; Proverbs 19

Ezekiel 1-11

Romans 9-16

20

Deuteronomy 11-20

2 Chronicles 21-28

Psalms 107-110; Proverbs 20

Ezekiel 12-20

1 Corinthians 1-8

21

Deuteronomy 21-26

2 Chronicles 29-36

Psalms 111-118; Proverbs 21

Ezekiel 21-28

1 Corinthians 9-16

22

Deuteronomy 27-34

Ezra 1-10

Psalm 119:1-88; Proverbs 22

Ezekiel 29-39

2 Corinthians 1-13

23

Joshua 1-12

Nehemiah 1-13

Psalm 119:89-176; Proverbs 23

Ezekiel 40-48

Galatians; Ephesians

24

Joshua 13-21

Esther 1-10

Psalms 120-134; Proverbs 24

Daniel 1-6

Phil; Col; 1,2 Thess

25

Joshua 22-24

Job 1-3

Psalms 135-139; Proverbs 25

Daniel 7-12

1,2 Tim; Titus; Philemon

26

Judges 1-8

Job 4-14

Psalms 140-145; Proverbs 26

Hosea

Hebrews

27

Judges 9-12

Job 15-21

Psalms 146-150; Proverbs 27

Joel; Amos; Obadiah

James; 1,2 Peter

28

Judges 13-16

Job 22-31

Ecclesiastes 1-6; Proverbs 28

Jonah; Micah; Nahum

1,2,3 John; Jude

29

Judges 17-21

Job 32-37

Ecclesiastes 7-12; Proverbs 29

Habak; Zeph; Haggai

Revelation 1-11

30

Ruth 1-4

Job 38-42

Song of Songs 1-8; Proverbs 30-31

Zechariah; Malachi

Revelation 12-22

see reverse Download THE READING PLANside for other options using this flexible plan

other options letyou Read the bible in 2 months or up to 5 months.

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Remember what it was like when first called you to Him. Remember the fire that burned in your heart, and the joy that overflowed like a spring.

Jesus

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do you love more than these things?

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b y J O HN POWELL

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IGNITE

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You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (Galatians 3:1,3)

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rom her torment in the confines of a Nazi concentration camp, Corrie Ten Boom, the daughter of a Dutch watchmaker, penned these words, “You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.” So, I would like to ask you, adding a little twist to her statement, If Jesus was all you had, would Jesus be all you need? Never before has the Church been so active and so visible in America, yet what little influence the Church has had on our society. Not only that, but the same problems that plague our culture have crept into our churches. I read a sobering statistic recently that the divorce rate among Christians, and the percentage of active church singles having premarital sex, is nearly the same as secular society. Why no difference? Our nation’s problems, known and proclaimed by ministers for decades, have only grown worse. Why has there been no change? Why does today’s Church have little influence? One look at the modern church with all of its majestic music, choreographed services, slick presentations, meticulous media features, and standing ovations, speaks that something is off center. Something is not quite right. We are busy indeed, but I contend that due to misplaced priorities and focus, little is being accomplished. There is much noise, but little construction. We have, like the Galatians, quenched the fire of the Spirit and replaced it with works of the flesh. We have forgotten that God doesn’t work with methods, but He works with men. We have removed the shields of gold from the temple and replaced them with shields of brass, a cheap imitation. We are focused more on presentation than on Christ. We have set a pretty table, but the meal is undercooked and lacks nourishment. And Christians are leaving the table and nibbling at the things of the world trying to find satisfaction. Compare the Church in the Book of Acts with your own place of worship and you probably will see little similarity. Thousands of people were

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added to the Church and scores of souls daily, but we rarely see a convert each weekend. They turned their world upside-down, but we try to fit in and be accepted in our world. There was unity, but no microphones. There was revival, but no conferences and seminars. They went outside and compelled the lost to come in, but we sit inside and wait for the lost to come in to us. There was singing and praise, but no pastors of worship arts. Their worship was focused on God, but ours is focused on personal musical tastes. There was anointed and powerful preaching, but no polished Powerpoint presentations interlaced with video. There were graphic displays of the Spirit, but no creative directors offering spirited displays of graphics. They had all things common, but we desire all things. They had no Bible, but we have millions of Bibles, a library of books, an army of gospel publishers, millions of web sites, hundreds of Christian bookstores, and satellites beaming Christian networks and broadcasting Christian, uh, I mean, “family” radio across the land. And for all of our modern methods, what has been accomplished? How have we turned the tide of sin sweeping over our nation? We’ve seen it coming for decades now, but the barrier we’ve put up is full of holes. I would trade it all in for a single David Brainerd riding through the countryside on horseback, armed with nothing but his dog-eared Bible and the fire of the Holy Spirit on his soul. The solution is simple really. Before Jesus sent out the twelve to minister, He simply asked them to be with Him (Mark 3:14). Oh, just to be with Him! To learn His heart, to know His desires, to hear His voice. The consuming passion of the apostle Paul was simply that “I may know him!” But we have not given this all important step the attention we should. We rush through it so that we can go out and start working, like giving our spouses a quick “Good morning!” and kiss as we head out the door. We know the Word of God, but do not know the God of the Word. We praise and worship and sing to a God we rarely pray to. We are burdened with the work of the Lord, but don’t really know the Lord of the work. There are many

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“Marthas” among us, encumbered and troubled with many things, and burdened with the work of the Lord (or what we think is His work). But where are the “Marys” who take time to just simply sit at His feet? John the Baptist thought he knew Christ. He heard the voice from Heaven and bore witness that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Yet, as the sun was setting on his ministry, sitting alone in a prison cell with nothing but his thoughts, he wasn’t sure if he really knew Christ after all. He sent a message to the Savior, “Are you the one? Or do we look for another?” Jesus responded in kind, “Go and tell John all that you have seen and heard.” Peter thought He knew Jesus too. Like John, Peter make a declaration of faith, “You are the Messiah! You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Yet, after the arrest of Jesus, Peter began to doubt and declared “I don’t know Him!” not once, but three times. In the restoration of Peter, the resurrected Jesus did something very beautiful for him. Peter, trying to get his mind on something else for a while, decided to go fishing. And after a night of failure, his shoulders and back aching, he was about to give up when he heard a strange yet familiar voice echoing from the shore, “Cast on the right side, and you will find.” Having nothing to lose but a little more time, Peter did as was suggested and nearly lost his boat to the weight of fish. This was another miracle, yet more than that. It was a reenactment. It was Jesus taking Peter back to the day they first met. If you have become disillusioned or disappointed in your ministry, or perhaps even with Christ, it is only because of one thing. Somewhere, at some time, something else became more important in your heart and life than Jesus. Something has taken priority over Him. Maybe it was your ministry or work or vision, however noble and worthwhile it may be. It’s not that you need more of Jesus, for He has already given Himself completely to you. You just need less of everything else. Like Peter, you need a new start. You need to be taken back to where it all began, back to when you first met the Master. You need to rekindle the fire again.

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Let Jesus do that for you. Remember. Remember what it was like when Jesus first called you to Him. Remember the fire that burned in your heart, and the joy that overflowed like a spring. Remember? Go back to the days before you were a pastor or worship leader or teacher; before you were witnessing or writing or blogging or feeding the hungry or singing in the choir or involved in ministry; before there was a vision or purpose or special calling. Remember the love you had for Christ, and the desire you had to just sit at His feet and get to know Him. Remember when you would sing the little chorus, “He’s all I need!” and the tears would flow down your cheeks. Remember? But, this time, don’t rush out the door. Don’t become involved too quickly in labor. It will come. For now, get to truly know Him. Talk to Him and soak up His Word like a sponge. Just sit at His feet and spend time with Him. It will change your heart, your focus, your thinking, and your vision. Jesus will question you repeatedly, “Do you love me more than these things?” He will search your heart and soul, and question your motives and priorities. And when you can look into His eyes and respond with all confidence, “Yes, I love you more than these things!” He will commission you, “Then feed my sheep!” When He, and only He, says it’s time for you to get up from His feet and go, then you will see the world around you turned upside-down. When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13) R

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“A GREAT MULTITUDE OF ALL NATIONS AND KINDREDS AND PEOPLES AND LANGUAGES” (REV. 7:9).

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V O L I I I / I S S U E 1 1 / N OV 0 7

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO PRAY? by Carter Conlon Why is it so hard to pray? Why is it such a constant battle to bend the knee to God and seek His face? Why is there such an ongoing spiritual resistance, a real force that comes against you when you make the decision to pray? With these struggles in mind, it is difficult to understand how to “pray without ceasing” as the apostle Paul clearly states we should in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. I believe the Holy Spirit would not have anointed this apostle to write these words if God had not intended for them to become a reality in the life of the believer. The apostle Paul goes on to suggest that you should be communing with God all day long, in every kind of situation. “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). So not only should you have the habit and pattern of going to your prayer closet to seek God, but you should be living every part of your day in an ongoing attitude of prayer. Pray everywhere— in the subway, in the workplace, even if you are being chewed out by your boss. Pray! The word “wrath” in this verse means to have a mind free from anger. More accurately, it means to be free from the desire to punish others who have done you wrong. So you can see God clearly intended for you to be able to pray for others with a clear conscience. Paul also said, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto www.remnantmagazine.com

God” (Philippians 4:6). Again, if you look at what the word “nothing” means in the Greek, you find it literally says: not one, not even one person. In other words, the Lord is saying, “Do not be worried about a single person. You put them into My hands no matter what the circumstance.” Regardless of whether it is a backslidden family member; an unbelieving co-worker; or someone in your life causing one heartache after another. Simply bring your requests to God in prayer and then immediately thank Him for giving you the answer. You are not bringing things to God that are unfamiliar to Him. You know what the Word says, so you are simply agreeing with what God has already said He would do. You are merely bringing back to God what He has promised. This is the reason we can immediately thank Him. Jesus said it this way: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22).

According to these scriptures then, prayer should be the natural expression of your life wherever you are. If this is true biblically, why is it so hard to pray? Please understand that what I am about to share with you is not all-inclusive, but simply what the Holy Spirit has laid on my heart for you. It is what I have known

to be true both in my own life and in the life of others. ■ SATAN OPPOSES PRAYER

What is vital to understand in the beginning, is that Satan will oppose prayer because he knows it is your lifeline to God. From the beginning of time, God has desired to have a relationship with man and, consequently, with you. Since this is God’s heart for you, the moment you try to come into the presence of God, Satan bombards you with accusations of failure and unworthiness. The devil’s ultimate lie is that “God has been watching you and observing all your failures; now, therefore, how can you go to Him in prayer?” If you believe any of these lies, he will turn up the heat and cause you to believe God is looking down upon you with an angry or disapproving countenance. The devil knows history; he knows there have been men and women who had the courage to go into the presence of God and receive promises from Him that destroyed his kingdom. He has been building walls around people for years, and the last thing he needs is someone who gets up and goes to God for answers. So he will accuse and condemn you and do everything he can to keep you from that kind of prayer. It is at this point, you need to remind the devil what the cross was all about. When Jesus Christ went to the cross, the wrath of God for the sin of mankind was poured out upon Him. If you trust in Jesus, you cannot be condemned. Jesus defeated him by being raised victoriously from the dead. You are

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WHY IS IT SO HARD TO PRAY?

now in Christ and seated in the same victory at the right hand of Almighty God. You are privileged to go right into the presence of God through prayer. Your works of righteousness do not give you this privilege; this honor is bestowed upon you by His mercy and His grace. Even if you have had the worst day of your entire Christian experience, you can still walk boldly into the throne room of God, and know you are fully accepted in Christ. This is why the Scripture says in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Who can condemn us if Christ has justified us? The Old Testament prophet Isaiah gives insight into the full rights you have in Christ. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17). When the

devil accuses you, you have the right to say, “Devil, I am not here because of my righteousness. I have trusted in Christ and He has bought my redemption. He has invited me to the throne of God, and because of His grace I am here to place my petitions before God with thanksgiving.” ■ POWER TO CAST DOWN EVIL IMAGINATIONS

You now have the power today to cast down the evil thoughts and imaginations of the devil. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, 14 |

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and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5). Even the weakest of saints has this power against the wicked strongholds of darkness; our profession is that Jesus Christ is our redemption, our righteousness, and our forgiveness. He is our direct access to the throne of God. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, invites us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). The word “boldly” could easily be translated as confidence. Jesus our High Priest says in essence, “Come with confidence to the throne of grace, and you will begin to know that I am God.” Hallelujah! ■ THEIR JOURNEY IS NOT IN LINE WITH THE WILL OF GOD

Over the years I have observed three reasons why people either can’t pray or they give up after they start. The first reason some stop praying is because their journey is not in line with the will of God. Many newly-saved believers start out their Christian walk with an incredible zeal. They attend every service and prayer meeting, laying hold of as many promises from God as they can. They come into the kingdom of God with a youthful innocence, and it is a delight to observe. However, God does not want them to remain in a youthful and unknowledgeable condition forever. In order to bring them into maturity He must take them on a journey with Himself. God has a plan to take the Gospel to all men and women around the world and He wants to use these men and women to accomplish this. The problem though, is that many begin their new walk in prayer but are not willing to undertake the journey God has for them. They are inwardly driven by a desire for personal reward and this influences them in their prayer

life. The consequence of this is that they never leave the realm of what they understand their life to be; they expect God to bless what they want and to add to their own perception. Let me explain it this way in the life of a man called Balaam. Despite his backslidden condition, God was speaking to him, but he was unwilling to walk on the path God had for him, which was to bless God’s people. Rather, Balaam allowed a foreign king to hire him to curse the Israelites while they journeyed in the wilderness. This man saw the opportunity for personal financial gain and he was not willing to lay it down. As he stood on the mountaintops looking down on the people of God, he had a vision of Christ and the victory of Israel. In this vision he saw no iniquity in God’s people, and the shout of a king was among them. But even with this vision, he refused to bend his own will and heart to say, “God, You lead me.” Since he would not yield himself to God’s purposes, he ended up seeing God’s blessing, but living on the outside of it (Numbers, chapters 22–24). You may have the same point of view as Balaam. You have an idea of what you think you are and what you think your life should be, and you bring this ideal into the prayer closet. In prayer you expect God to agree with it, bless it, and to go with you on this journey. Like Balaam, though, you will see the victory God would have for you but will end up living outside of His blessing. Eventually, you will stop going into the prayer closet because you are not willing to embrace God’s will. There is nothing more satisfying to the Christian than living in the will of God, but there is nothing as laborious as living outside of His will. ■ THERE IS UNCONFESSED SIN

The second reason people will eventually stop praying is because of unconfessed sin in their lives.

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Isaiah says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1–2). We are not talking about a person who is struggling in their life, but a person who is knowingly sinning and it is a willful practice. You know it is wrong, but you have determined in your heart to continue whatever has captivated your heart. You come into the prayer closet and wonder why you cannot get through to God. Your iniquities have separated you from the voice of God. David, the psalmist said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). God will continually bring you back to the area of your disobedience. You can push a certain thing out of your mind for years, but God has not forgotten. You see this depicted in the life of Jacob. He strived to attain the blessing of God; however, he was dishonest in how he obtained it. Jacob had lied to his father Isaac about being his brother Esau. As a result, circumstances led him to be sent away from home and he toiled for fourteen years before God called him into accountability. The Scriptures say he wrestled with God all night long. At daybreak, when Jacob was willing to be honest with God, he was brought back to the lie he had told years before. God never forgot the lie and now asks him what his name is. He said, “I am Jacob.” Once this lie was dealt with he was given a new name and entered into the blessings of his grandfather Abraham. Like Jacob, you need to be honest with the Lord and bring your life in line with what God says. Decide today not to embrace your sin or willfully continue in it. Even though you are feeling weak, you can still come boldly before the Lord, and ask Him to give you the power and grace to overcome. www.remnantmagazine.com

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO PRAY?

■ THERE IS A WRONG PERCEPTION OF WHAT PRAYER IS

The third reason people leave the prayer closet is because they have a wrong perception of what prayer is. I remember going to prayer meetings in my early years as a Christian where we spent hours laboriously crying out to God. This kind of prayer was laborious because of condemnation from the enemy, which resulted in a faithless begging of God. People got on their knees and ground their face into the seat, begging and whining, engaging in “holy prayer.” Afterwards, everyone walked out of the church looking like they had been run over by a truck. How was this going to witness to the community? How were they to see the victory of Christ in this kind of meeting? Yet, this is the way a lot of people pray. Prayer is knowing the mind of God. It is moving forward with God in belief and faith. It is finding out what He is thinking. Did you know God is thinking thoughts about you which number more than the sand of the sea? According to Scripture, in Jeremiah 29:11, His thoughts are good and not evil. The Lord desires to supernaturally and sovereignly sustain you. God begins to speak supernatural things to those who come into the prayer closet with open hearts, believing what He says. Therefore a continuous change will go on in the lives of those who are His. Others will observe the miracle taking place in your life. They will witness change in areas that you could not change: lying tongues becoming words of truth; selfishness becoming generous giving; and the fear man replaced by God’s peace. This will all happen from the least to the greatest—all will be changed. Hallelujah! ■ ADDICTED TO MINISTERING

The apostle Paul refers to some in the New Testament who were addicted to ministering to the saints. They probably had experienced the supernatural working of God in

their lives; perhaps they had been selfish and were now given the gift of hospitality. Because of the incredible change they experienced they subsequently wanted more of God. “Don’t stop now Lord, keep changing me, and take me where I could never go in my own strength.” Our prayer needs to be the same; “Oh, God! Why would we limit You?” Do not say, “This far God and no further.” We need to pray, “We want more of You working in our lives.” You will know God is real because the things that are coming out of your inward parts were not in you before. We are to be a supernatural church with abilities to do things that we did not naturally possess because we have the life of God inside us. In the book of Acts, when the believers came out of the Upper Room, the Scripture says they began to speak forth the supernatural things God was doing. Immediately, people’s hearts were stirred and convicted, and they wanted to know how they too could be saved. Beloved, that is what it is all about. It is about you and me going into the workplace proclaiming the wonderful works of God through our changed lives. ■ AN EXCITING LIFE IN GOD

What an exciting life! Look at David when he went out to fight Goliath. He was not a trained warrior; he was just a young man with a slingshot out in the field, tending sheep and communing with God. He had learned that God gives supernatural strength to those who simply believe and obey Him. He had been able to slay a lion and a bear with supernatural ability from God. So, when he walked into the midst of the army and saw this giant challenging the very honor and nature of God, I believe he began with a prayer. It is recorded as a statement, but David had an open heaven—he knew what God could do, so it was more a prophetic utterance. “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou

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WHY IS IT SO HARD TO PRAY?

■ GOD WILL WHISPER SUPERNATURAL PLANS INTO YOUR EAR

God will speak to you about things that are just as impossible as the walls of Jericho falling down. God might tell you that He is going to make you into a person of incredible compassion. Your whole family will be astounded when they see the walls of selfishness that once surrounded you come down. He might show you the power to speak good when everyone else is speaking evil in the workplace. Maybe He will show you how He is going to guide you into intercessory prayer for others. Perhaps you think that is impossible because you are such an angry person. God wants to take the root of anger out of your life because it is rooted in unforgiveness. People are going to look and say, “How did this victory

ever come about? What happened to you that you are speaking words of such incredible grace?” All they remember is that you were shouting for vengeance and retribution. Now you are talking about forgiveness, and not only talking about it for others, but you know you are truly forgiven. For others, He might show the victory He has for them, while in the natural their lives are still a war zone. This is the work of the supernatural that takes place in prayer. Hallelujah!

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TIMES SQUARE CHURCH Times Square Church was founded in 1987 by Pastor David Wilkerson, author of “The Cross and the Switchblade.” It is an interdenominational church located in the heart of New York City.

■ STARTING SMALL— FINISHING BIG

God says this is only the beginning. Do you have the courage to believe God? Do you have the courage to follow Him? Do you have the courage to put your life into His hands and let Him speak into your heart? There are steps to take; there are victories to be won. And it starts with asking God to give you the victory over strongholds in your life today. The Lord says, “Come boldly, I will help you.” As you begin to walk in His victory, you begin to realize there is no limitation to what God can do in the rest of your life. You have been delivered from having to live under the impression of what you think your life should be. Now, wherever God calls you, there will be a supernatural infusion of His life that will be evident to you and to those all around you.

Carter Conlon June 12, 2007 ©2007 Times Square Church

This message is an edited version of a sermon given in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website www.tscnyc.org or calling 1-800-488-0854. You can also write to: Times Square Church, Tape Ministry, 1657 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without written permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the King James Version.

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CARTER CONLON Carter Conlon is senior pastor of Times Square Church, where he has been on the pastoral staff since 1994.

Founding Pastor David Wilkerson

Senior Pastor Carter Conlon

Tel: 212-541-6300

Fax: 212-541-6415

Church Location: 237 West 51st Street, Between Broadway & Eighth Avenue

Mailing Address: 1657 Broadway, 4th Flr. New York, NY 10019

e-mail: info@timessquarechurch.org

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comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45–47). Beloved, this must be the cry of the Christian life, so those in the world will know God is alive and that He is living in us. This way the entire world will know Christ sits at the right hand of God, and has a church living in His power on this earth.


What’s in Your Bags?

by JOHN POWELL

Let us lay aside every weight. (Hebrews 12:1)

A

n airport is a great place to go people watching. As you watch the sea of people bustling about, you’ll notice that almost everyone has a bag or suitcase. Some people have only a small bag strapped to their shoulder, some drag a suitcase behind them, and some have so many bags they need a porter and cart to carry them all. I suppose that if you could look at the world around us through spiritual eyes, if you could see the things which are invisible and hidden from view, you would see a scene very similar to an airport. Whether in your neighborhood, in the office, at church, at the mall, or wherever you go, you would see people dragging baggage behind them. You might be surprised to learn that some of your friends even carry a bag or two. What is in the bags you ask? Over there is a woman smartly dressed in a business suit. She cheated on her husband, a cheap one-night stand, while away on business trip, and the guilt is about to tear her apart. She wants to tell her husband so badly, but she’s afraid. So she tucks the guilt into her suitcase and carries it around with her. Over here is a young Bible college student. He’s popular and looked up to, but no one knows his secret life, spending hours alone in his dorm room viewing pornography. No one knows how many times he’s cried himself to sleep at night, wishing he could stop. How can God forgive me of my lust? I’m so dirty and ashamed. So instead of going to God with his sin, he stuffs it in his bag and carries it around with him. And over here is a middle-aged man with graying hair. In his bag is a life-long collection of regrets and failures, his back bowed from carrying such a heavy burden for so long. He married the wrong person. Chose the wrong major. Got involved with the wrong people. Accepted the wrong job. Turned right instead of left. Life now seems to offer nothing but dead ends and there’s nowhere to turn. And what about you? Do you have a bag or two that you drag around with you? What’s in your bag? What is it that you refuse to let go of? Is it anger? Bitterness? Lust? Guilt? Regrets? Disappointments? Failures? Questions? www,remnantmagazine.com www.remnantmagazine.com

EMPOWER

You don’t have to carry around that bag anymore. “Come to me,” Jesus extends the invitation. “All of you who are weary and burdened, come to me and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus dared to look into the leathery faces of farmers and fishermen and offer them rest. He looked into the lonely eyes of a prostitute and the cynical eyes of a zealot and the disallusioned eyes of a religious leader and made this promise, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). They came out of their homes and businesses and synagogues and brought him their burdens, and Jesus gave them not religion, not doctrine, not systems, but rest. Are you weary from carrying your burden? Bring it to Jesus. It is no small wonder that Calvary was located on the old garbage dump of Jerusalem. It is the place to bring your trash, your refuse, those things you are tired of holding on to. Come and lay your bags at the foot of the cross. You have everything to lose, and everything to gain. R

For your personal journey

We all have things in our past we are not proud of. We all have been hurt or disappointed, or have struggled with besetting sins. These things, we if let them, can hinder our relationship with the Lord. They can cause bitterness or resentment to build up within us.

What are some things you may be holding onto? Take an honest inventory and make a list, be it a sin, disappointment with a friend, regrets over past choices, etc. Do any of these things require you to forgive, or to seek for forgiveness from another person?

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it has been said that we can be that we are of no

hea

but, can we also become s that we are o

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ecome so earthly minded

avenly good.

so heavenly minded of no

earthly good?

become worldly minded.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. —mark 16:15

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portraits of christ

Lily of the Valley

b y john powell

T

he white amaryllis or lily is suggestive of Christ’s character in several ways. With it’s drooping head, it is emblematic of the One who said, “Learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11:29). The title speaks of the beauty of Christ, for Jesus himself told of the lilies adorning the fields, too beautiful to even be compared to Solomon in all his glory. The white flower is symbolic of holiness and purity, and of our Lord who led a life without sin and without blemish. Finally, it is symbolic of the trials and tests each of us must face. In the deepest recesses of our valleys, when all seems lost and hopeless, there stands a lily, it’s radiant beauty giving us a ray of hope that we are not alone, and that God is walking with us. Matthew Henry writes, “What Christ is pleased to compare himself to; and he condescends very much in the comparison. He that is the Son of the Highest, the bright and morning star, calls and owns himself the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys, to express his presence with his people in this world, the easiness of their access to him, and the beauty and sweetness which they find in

him, and to teach them to adorn themselves with him, as shepherds and shepherdesses, when they appeared gay, were decked with roses and lilies, garlands and chaplets of flowers. “The rose, for beauty and fragrance, is the chief of flowers, and our Saviour prefers the clothing of the lily before that of Solomon in all his glory. Christ is the rose of Sharon, where probably the best roses grew and in most plenty, the rose of the field (so some), denoting that the gospel salvation is a common salvation; it lies open to all; whoever will may come and gather the rose-buds of privileges and comforts that grow in the covenant of grace. He is not a rose locked up in a garden, but all may come and receive benefit by him and comfort in him. He is a lily for whiteness, a lily of the valleys for sweetness, for those which we call so yield a strong perfume. He is a lily of the valleys, or low places, in his humiliation, exposed to injury. Humble souls see most beauty in him. Whatever he is to others, to those that are in the valleys he is a lily. He is the rose, the lily; there is none besides. Whatever excellence is in Christ, it is in him singularly and in the highest degree.” R

30 Days A devotional on Grace for each day of the month

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grace

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bible Promises When you need guidance And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21). Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6). For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” (Psalm 48:14). “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. (Proverbs 16:9).

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. (John 16:13).

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. (Psalm 37:23).

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33).

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in the paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16).

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalm 32:8). The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:11).

Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. (Psalm 73:23,24).

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Devotionals • Quick Studies Bible Promises • Heart to Heart Blog Psalms with Commentary and much more!

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last word

k

The

INSPIRE

b y john powell

the cup of grace Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. (Luke 6:36-38)

T

hey were from opposite sides of the tracks, these two people. Different lives, different circumstances, different choices, different worlds. Simon was a religious leader of Israel. She, a nameless woman, was a prostitute. He was looked up to. She was looked down upon. He followed the rules. She broke them. And this evening, Simon is throwing a dinner party for Jesus. And she is going to crash it. For they both did have one thing in common. They both wanted to meet Jesus. Simon, as it turns out, was not a very good party host. He did not offer Jesus a kiss of greeting. He did not wash His feet, nor anoint His head with oil. This was nothing unusual really, just the customary greetings. In today’s language, the passage would have probably read, “You did not take my coat. You did not shake my hand. You did not offer me a seat nor offer me a drink.” But the nameless woman done everything Simon could have—no—should have done. All eyes gazing upon her with contempt for her sudden intrusion, she has so much to say, but the words go unspoken. Trembling, all she can do is just stand there and weep. Kneeling and taking His feet gently in her hands, she has no water, but she does have tears. She has no towel, but she does have her hair. And she takes an alabaster jar of fragrant oil, possibly her only possession of any value, and massages it into His skin as its sweet fragrance fills the room. So, why didn’t Simon do this? What’s the difference between him and the nameless woman? When the Savior hands him the cup of grace, Simon takes a sip. He

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swishes it around in his mouth. He analyzes it. You see, he has come to Jesus only for a taste test. He has come to kick the tires and look under the hood and take a test drive. He doesn’t think he needs forgiveness. After all, he is a church leader. He would much rather debate grace, but request it? Never. But when Jesus hands the cup of grace to the woman, she doesn’t just take a sip. No, she takes the cup eagerly, with the wide eyes and excitement of a child receiving their first Christmas gift. She turns the goblet up and gulps and swallows like the parched sinner that she is, and grace flows over the sides of the cup and down her neck and chest until every inch of her hardened heart is covered and every stain is washed clean. What’s the final difference between Simon and the woman? While Simon has very little love to offer, she has an abundance of love to give. Why? Jesus explains: “Her sins—and they are many,” He states, “have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” I invite you to come to Jesus today. Not to debate. Not to analyze. But to just simply accept Him and His forgiveness. Take the cup He offers you. Come thirsty, and drink deeply. R

When Heaven is Silent Finding Hope in Our Scars Read online or download a FREE PDF www.jesuscaresaboutyou.net/whenheavenissilent.html www.remnantmagazine.com


What must I do

to be saved?

T

his is the most important question in human existence and one whose answer is clearly outlined in scripture. In order to be saved we must first realize our true state of sinfulness before God and know that He alone can save us, cleanse us, and give us eternal life. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the only way and we can not have access to God through any other means. In fact, in John 14:6, Jesus plainly stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” God loves you! God loves you so much that he made a way for you, through the shed blood of his son so that you might be able to spend eternity with Him. “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life” (John. 3:16). Man is a sinner, and sin has separated him from God! You may think you are a good person but being good is not enough! Every man has sinned and there is none that is righteous before God! “For there is not a just man upon Earth, that doeth good and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin! Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin. We can not be good enough to get into heaven, nor can our good works get us there. There was no other way for God to erase the effect of sin except by blood. The shedding of Christ’s blood indicated that the penalty for sin had been paid; a perfect sinless life had been sacrificed for the lives of all who have sinned. “. . .Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22) “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God . . .” (I Peter 3:18).

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“Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). You must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior To be saved, a man must confess that Jesus is Lord, while acknowledging in his heart that Christ must have full rule over his life. This confession of Christ as Lord assumes that it is Christ who will work and fulfill His own righteousness within man, as man is unable to attain righteousness of his own accord. Jesus calls this experience the “new birth.” He told Nicodemus: “. . . Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). We invite you now to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name” (John 1:12). Pray this prayer and mean it with all your heart Dear Lord Jesus, I realize that I am a sinner and have broken your laws. I understand that my sin has separated me from you. I am sorry and I ask you to forgive me. I accept the fact that your son Jesus Christ died for me, was resurrected, and is alive today and hears my prayers. I now open my heart’s door and invite Jesus in to become my Lord and my Saviour. I give Him control and ask that He would rule and reign in my heart so that His perfect will would be accomplished in my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Congratulations! If you prayed this prayer in all sincerity, you are now a Child of God. However there are a few things that you need to do to follow up on your commitment. 1. Get baptized ( full immersion) in water as commanded by Christ 2. Tell someone else about your new faith in Christ (including us!) 3. Spend time with God each day through prayer and Bible reading 4. Seek fellowship with other followers of Jesus.

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Pray for

America

“We are becoming the type of nation we used to send missionaries to.” —william

b e n n e t t , f o r m e r s e c r e ta ry o f e d u c at i o n


Remnant Magazine Vol1 No. 8