Would you say you are a good person?

Greetings and grace to you in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are certainly living in unchartered days. Let us be reassured of the faithful love of our Heavenly Father as well as His sovereignty and let us be continually in prayer at this time. Let us be reassured that we are here for one another; I am here for you, if you have a need at this time please contact me (256)777-7734.

ERBC leadership is actively staying informed and seeking wisdom and discernment from the Lord during this time. Please pray for us in these areas. We are praying for your health, God's protection and provision to be manifested in accordance with His will and glory. I would like to personally thank our staff and deacons for their support and faithful dedication to the Lord. We are planning to comply with Gov. Ivy's order through April 5 of no gatherings and will be live streaming on Sunday's @ 10:30am and Wednesday's @ 7pm via the church's Facebook page. Please join me in a big thank you to and in appreciation of Mark Ebert, who has made the live streams possible. We are prayerfully seeking the Lord’s direction as to how to plan and proceed after April 5. This will be affected by how the Lord leads, what's best for our health and the orders of the state. Easter is April 12 and as the situation dictates, we will celebrate our Lord’s resurrection accordingly. We are currently working to get Realm Connect completed and available to launch. This is a cloud-based church database which will be available through a secure website or phone app. This would also make online giving available. Please stay alert for announcements via email and Facebook.

I would like to share my outline and some thoughts from the sermon which was preached on March 15, 2020. All that week I had wrestled with continuing in 2 Timothy or speaking to our current situation. Not having received peace and clear direction from the Lord on addressing the Covid-19 situation, I prayed and prepared for 2 Timothy 4:1-5, which was preached on 3/22. When I awoke earlier than normal on 3/15 the Lord had my heart heavy and the following outline and thoughts came through a time of prayer.

I am grateful for President Trump calling for a National Day of Prayer, but please know that prayer in and of itself is not the answer. God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ is! F.B. Meyer truthfully wrote years ago, "Prayer changes us more than it changes God." Prayer is not the cure all, except prayer cures us first. This is the truth revealed in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14.

"If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

The Cause of Prayer - 2 Chron. 7:13 - King Solomon has built the Temple and the glory of the Lord has came down and filled it, and it is the Lord Who speaks directly to Solomon at this time. Solomon is the first king which will not have a prophet to speak for God during his reign as king. Saul had Samuel. David had Samuel and Nathan. But, after Nathan helps Zadok anoint Solomon as king there is not a mention of him or any other prophet speaking to Solomon again. Could it be that God was preparing Solomon to understand if He speaks not by the prophet He will speak through problems and pestilences? God has His way in the whirlwind (Nahum 1:3) from which He even spoke to Job (Job 38 & 40). Yes, whether through a drought or a flood, swarms of locust, even as in Africa presently, wildfires, pestilences (sicknesses, plaques, illnesses, national problems) God speaks to get the attention of His people. We must understand that without Christ we can do nothing. Man is not the answer. A religious act, prayer, is not the cure all! Problems, pestilences and even times of plenty should be times of prayer as an expression of faith and dependence upon our Lord.

The Children of Prayer - "If my people, which are called by my name" - Prayer is the privilege of relationship! Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven..." (Matt. 6:9). Again, let me reiterate that prayer is not the cure all in and of itself. Prayers of someone that is not a born-again child of God has no promise of effectualness. God's people must pray in accordance with God's will and way for there to be an effectualness in prayer (James 5:16; 1 John 5:14-15).

The Condition of Prayer - "shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways" - Prayer should change us! You cannot draw nearer to God remaining in sin. First, pride must be dwelt with, as we humble ourselves unto God. Second, prayerlessness must give way to actual praying, not talking about prayer. The third and fourth conditions go hand in hand. You cannot seek God's face while still being turned toward your sin! It is more important to seek God's face than His hand, and in order to draw near we must cleanse our hands of sin and our hearts of distractions and unbelief (James 4:8). If you continue in sin, you have no guarantee that God will hear your prayer (Ps. 66:18; Isa. 59:1-2). If we meet God’s conditions of prayer, prayer will thus cure us.

The Consolation in Prayer - "then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." - There is a great comfort and strength that can be ours as the Children of Prayer meet the Conditions of Prayer during any Cause of Prayer. It is God that has committed Himself to be the answer. Therefore, let us take God at His Word and pray (Philp. 4:6-9; Heb. 4:14-16).

By His grace,

Toney

 

 





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