CALL TO PRAYER: Reveling in Christ; interceding to Christ
EDITOR'S NOTE: Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, has issued a call to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world during 2014. Baptist Press will carry First-Person articles during the year encouraging Southern Baptists to pray in specific areas and for specific needs as we petition the Father for spiritual awakening.
NASHVILLE (BP) -- In my Bible reading last week, I read through Song of Solomon (Canticles) and began reading Isaiah. So much is revealed in these pages that speaks to our current plight.
Canticles 1:6, "They made me a keeper of the vineyards, [but] I have not kept my own vineyard."
Is this true of you as we approach the final two months of the year? So busy with work, family and other responsibilities that you have fallen behind and forgotten the most important thing, to keep your soul before the Lord? How often do we tend to others and to life itself, and neglect the most important things. We know the Lord is neither happy nor pleased when we neglect the Bible, prayer, fellowship and intimacy with Him. Renew, confess and restore your walk even now and finish the year well.
Canticles 3:4, "When I found the one I love, I held on to him and would not let him go."
Here is the clinging passion of a soul that longs after Christ. Find Him, hold onto Him and never let go of Him, the One your soul loves. Reflect on all the ways that the circumstances of your life teach, remind and bring you close to Christ.
Canticles 4:16, "Blow on my garden, and spread the fragrance of its spices. Let my love come to his garden."
Let the wind of the Spirit blow upon us and upon His church and renew us once again into a right relationship with Him. Let Christ come abide with us and we with Him, knowing full well the promise, "Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8).
Canticles 5:10–16, Reveling in the beauty of God's Presence, reflect on His head, His eyes, His cheeks, His lips, His arms, His body, His legs, His countenance, and His mouth.
Let us look unto Jesus and His full image and rejoice in the Lord and His beauty.
Canticles 8:13–14, "Companions are listening for your voice -- let me hear you! Hurry to me, my love."
Come quickly Lord and cause me to know You more fully. Let your radiant glory shine upon me from each and every page of your divine Word. Let me experience your divine presence each day.
If time would only permit me to continue into the opening pages of Isaiah, continuing to revel in what God has revealed. Oh that my soul could pen it all! But allow me simply to share some updates and remind us of a few things to pray for in the coming months.
Our world had a 7.0 earthquake this month, actually two within a week. Such cataclysms serve as reminders of the earth's pangs, longing for Christ's return and the ultimate consummation of all things (Romans 8:18-23).
The United States Supreme Court refused to take up this issue, allowing a flood of circuit court rulings to stand, effectively ratifying judicial decisions that have reversed voter initiatives in many states. Failure of the church to intercede allows this and other evils to continue.
Thousands are dead, mainly in West Africa. With more than 10,000 affected -- and a 70 percent death rate of those that contract the disease -- fears in the United States continue to swell over the few who have contracted it in our country. With thousands dying overseas, we have an imbalanced perception of God's heart over and for the nations. It seems the church seldom cares until it hits home.
This radical Islamic group continues with its forward progression toward Baghdad and other cities. Thousands have been killed, tens of thousands displaced, and numerous acts of sin against women and children have been done by this well-armed, well-resourced extremist group. We must stand in prayer with our brothers and sisters.
In addition to Ebola, the Entero respiratory virus has affected numerous children across our nation and now Bubonic plague has been found in fleas, a major carrier of the disease, in Colorado and Arizona. Perhaps God is trying to get our attention?
The stock market experienced a wild ride in October, losing nearly 1,000 points, then rebounding to record highs. This volatility points to the uncertainty many people feel about their present and future circumstances. May we remember that God alone is our source of security.
Houston mayor walks forward, then walks back
The city's subpoenas issued for sermons and other communications from five Houston pastors was a direct assault on our religious liberty. This act is but the beginning of opening the door for what will come without the church's proper response.
This brief review of the progression of evil can terrorize us, or it can serve as a rally cry to us. May these events prove a rallying point for the church to get serious about being serious.
We must continue in prayer each day, celebrating who we are in Christ as we revel in His precious word, and interceding for what our world is (and is more rapidly becoming) without Christ.