Thirty-five years ago, God put it on my heart to start a boys' home in Amityville, New York, on Long Island. I truly sensed the Lord was behind this work. Yet, after just a year and a half, state officials put impossible stringent regulations on the home. They told us we had to have a full-time psychologist on staff, as well as a priest or rabbi if we took in boys who were Catholic or Jewish. We couldn't afford to operate under those restrictions, so we simply shut our doors.
You know the story of King David - how he committed adultery with Bathsheba and secretly arranged for her husband's death. Yet, after the prophet Nathan exposed David's sin, holding it up before his face, the broken king repented of his horrible misdeeds. And he later wrote four psalms expressing the distress and terror he had felt as a result of his sin.
I want to talk to you today about a kind of prayer that is most pleasing to the Lord. You see, not all of our praying blesses the heart of God. Yet, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I trust that what I share with you here will change the way you pray - from now until Jesus comes!
"But the tongue no man can tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8).
In this verse from his epistle, James is talking about the tongues of believers. He is issuing a call to the church to gain control of their tongues — before they are destroyed by them!
How serious is this matter of taming the tongue, you ask? Can an "unruly tongue" really be that sinful?
"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14).
Beloved, if we did not know God's Word is absolutely true, I believe we would think this verse a mockery!
It is amazing to me how long people can continue living with hidden sin in their hearts. By putting on a good front, they can get away with it for a long time. They can hide their sin from their husband, wife, children, friends and pastor. But the Bible warns: "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).
The cloud, that misty covering that ofttimes falls upon God's people, is not a blot in God's handwriting. With Jesus, clouds come as a part of His train of glory. Clouds are really not our enemies; they do not hide His face; they are not warnings of an approaching storm. Once you understand that clouds are instruments of divine love, they should no longer be feared.
One thousand years ago, just about this time, the world faced it's darkest hour. According to Miller's Church History, the church was wicked, apostate, and very weak. In fact, it's very life was ebbing away. Mohammedanism was growing rapidly; Europe was being overrun by Hungarians who massacred multitudes; fear and violence were everywhere on earth. All mankind had become desolate and panic-stricken. There were multiplied calamities on all sides — terrible famines — indescribable disasters. Plagues and pestilences had killed countless millions.
I want to talk about a horrible abomination in the house of God that is not being dealt with. I have felt the breathing of God's wrath against this sin in my own life. The Holy Spirit has taken me into the depths of this hideous thing, exposed it to me — and called me to preach about it!
It has to do with the other side of prayer! The dark, evil, sinful side! The abominable kind of prayer! Prayer from the hearts and lips of unconsecrated, unholy Christians.
God's ways seem like paradoxes to the human mind. He says, To live, you must die. To find your life, you must lose it. To become strong, you must first become weak.
One of the greatest paradoxes of all is this — to be truly free you must become bound. To gain the greatest liberty in God one must give up all rights and become a lifelong bondservant to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a glorious love–slavery that leads to the highest form of freedom and liberty. It is a voluntary surrender born out of love and affection, causing one to consider servitude even greater than sonship.
I stood in the lobby of a hotel recently, watching singles file one by one into a huge banquet hall. The sign outside the hall read: Creative Singles' Party. It was a Sunday evening, supposedly the most depressing day for lonely people.