Christmas Lights #2

Last week we saw Jesus declared himself to be ‘the light’, or He is the fulfilment of all the   Revelations of God.

Now, get ready for this:

Right in the middle of His ministry, Jesus looks at His disciples and He says:

you are the light of the world”

 What is He saying? He is saying that you and I are meant to bring a revelation of God into the world!!

We are to let the light of Jesus shine through our changed lives as a witness to the ‘true light that gives light to every man’.

How am I supposed to do that?

We are to testify concerning the Love of God and then be seen as loving our God with all of our hearts, our minds and our strength.

Secondly, We are to demonstrate that love, by loving our neighbours as ourselves.

That’s the reason we traditionally give gifts at Christmas, we are demonstrating how God has loved us by giving the gift of his Son, and therefore we are giving a gift to demonstrate our love for God and our love for our neighbour.

Let’s view this Christmas as a reminder to continually let the light of Christ shine through our lives for the world to see Him.

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Christmas Lights

Light played an important role at the birth of Jesus. Remember the shepherds “the glory of the Lord shone around them”, or the Magi who were guided by the light of the star

So we appropriately use lights as a symbol of the light of God coming in the person of Jesus. But, also, light is often used metaphorically in Scripture

John’s account says that the true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. Another verse that can help us is 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. Light is being explained as ‘knowledge’ (like the light bulb went on), or we also could say: ‘revelation’.

For example, Genesis 1:2 says: “In the beginning let there be light”, or could be translated “In the beginning God said; Let there be a revelation of myself”.

Isaiah prophesied; “the people walking in darkness have seen a great a light”.  Or we could say: “The people walking in ignorance of God have received a great revelation of who God is.”

In John 8:12, Jesus proclaimed that he is the light, or, that he himself is the culmination or fulfillment of all revelation concerning God.

So when we see the lights of Christmas, let’s be reminded Christmas is the celebration of the revelation Jesus Christ.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.”

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The Call Detroit 11.11.11.

NHOP is going to The Call in Detroit and we have chartered a bus to leave from Ottawa.  If you live in the Ottawa area and would like to reserve a seat on the bus, contact us at info@nhop.ca . Visit www.nhop.ca for more information.                                                            Check out the below video to hear more about the vision.

Posted in 24-7 prayer, Events, Global Missions, Houses of Prayer, Interns at NHOP, Prayer Ministries, Prayer Networks, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Occupy Protesters, on the right track?

Perhaps you have been following the occupy Wall Street protest which have sprung up now in many of our major cities around the globe.

What’s their message? – Well things are broken, our economy, the environment, society, government, it’s a long list really.

There is little by ways of solutions offered other then abandoning life as we know it and embracing a new way of life altogether.

Human history especially the 20th century is a great example of people trying different ideas in which to live by. For example WWII is not the story of Adolf Hitler, it’s the history of a society embracing an idea.

Democracy while not perfect is the best system we’ve got. No system can make amends for the fundamental problem, the sinfulness of man.

I would like to offer that it’s not the system that’s broke, but rather the people inside that need help. Our problem is moral not economical, unless we address the underlying moral and ethical shortfall in society we are doomed to repeat.

Where was the conscience of some of these Wall Street executives, lenders and borrowers that has lead to this economic down turn?

And who informs the conscience?  Well The Church is called to be the moral compass in society.

Or as Graham Cook say’s “When you enter a dark room its no good to shout at the darkness, you turn on the light”.

It is wrong to think that religion is simply a reflection of culture it’s the reverse. What you believe will be reflected in the way you live within society. “Cult” is the root word of culture; cult in its simplest form is a system of religious worship.

To illustrate this Charles Colson writes; Oysters make their own shells, so if the shell is badly formed, the problem is not in the shell but in the oyster. Likewise when a culture deforms and decays, don’t ask what went wrong with the culture; ask what went wrong with the cult. Or as Russell Kirk say’s; “The material order rests on the spiritual.”

The light of the presence of Jesus shapes lives and transforms culture in turn. The hope of today’s world rests solely on the transformative message of the gospel. A renewed and vibrant Christianity living as the true Church always leaves a renewed culture in its wake. Its time to live out the gospel in all its fullness, and offer a real hope in a world of fading dreams that is ready to grasp a hold of anything.

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Supreme Court and our Religious Freedom

In Acts 17 we read of Paul reasoning with the Jews and the philosophers of the day. This is a great chapter and it indicates that men were hungry for the truth, to hear of “new ideas” v.21 and to reason amongst one another.

There is something so healthy and “human” in a passage like this.  We reason with friends and family in conversation and gatherings,  especially if what we believe we feel is important and life changing, its a natural part of life. I remember listening to a man at the public rec center in the sauna telling everyone the merits of his financial institution and why we should all join. At the time I just wanted to relax, but the fact is the man believed what he was saying and for all I know it may well have been a good financial move, it’s just the human instinct to campaign for your beliefs.

Can you imagine a world without free discourse?  Where if something we believed was limited in what we could share if it differed from another’s belief and had the potential to offend.  It was offensive for the slave traders to hear that their belief in the inequality of human beings was wrong, but it was debated freely, truth was found and we are better for it.

In a day where relativism is the norm and tolerance is king, we are losing what it is to reason with one another in a common search for truth and purpose. Any truth claim is immediately met with opposition, because if it is indeed “truth”, it therefore has implications for everyone. So it’s just easier to make everyone an island with the only knowable truth being “there is no truth” (which in itself is a truth claim).

This is what the men in Acts 17 were eager to know, “what is this truth you claim to know Paul?” Even the Jews living there searched the scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was true.

The great thing about it was there was free open discourse, Paul never ended up at a human rights tribunal for offending someone’s fragile personal bubble (not in Athens anyway).

If as a society we begin to limit ones ability to act on their convictions to present truth in the public square we legislate against being human, our drive to know truth and to search out the deepest desire of our heart – to know God.

This Oct 12th the Supreme Court of Canada is going to hear a case that deals with religious freedoms. The Court will be asked to decide whether it is permissible in Canada to express religious convictions that others find offensive. Can we enter the public square with our beliefs in biblical truth or will we be restricted in the name of protecting freedom? Where’s my freedom? Do we really have religious freedom to belief and act according to these beliefs, or are we in danger of a reality where these beliefs will be enforced by law to remain private?

To read more about this case check out the EFC page. Please pray for the members of the EFC as they will be presenting the Supreme Court with a case for freedom of religion. I find it interesting that my last post was about persecution, we have as Christians been blessed with relative freedom in Canada free from persecution. Lets us pray for the judges and all lawyers involved, that they will be given wisdom and God would give grace to our nation that religious freedoms will be protected in Canada.

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Persecution – A part of the Christian life?

This last week our NHOP interns and my myself had the privilege of receiving some amazing teaching from Sudhakar Mondihoka from Hyderabad Institute of Theology and apologetics in India. The topic of the meetings was the theology of discipleship and persecution. In a western Christian culture so often dominated by health and wealth gospel Sudhakar’s teaching stands out remarkably. Honestly I assumed it would be a time of informing us about some of the ways the Church of Christ was being persecuted in some far off place. Actually that was far from the mark. Sudhaker systematically walked us through how persecution was part of the normal walk of any Christian and we should expect it.

That hit closer to home then hearing about some far away land.

Think about it for a minute. How often do we as Christians avoid conversations or giving an opinion counter to that of the prevailing cultural opinion simply because we are afraid of a potential backlash.  Persecution does not have to be physical, (however, for many it sadly is) it can mean being ostrasized for our beliefs, outcast from social groups and being the brunt of cruel mockery.

The thing that really convicted me was that this is as Sadarker put it, “a spiritual measuring line for where you are at in your own walk with Christ”. If your not encountering any persecution, chances are you are not stepping out in the call to bring the gospel to all the world.  Suffering for the name of Jesus is what it means to be persecuted. We all have regular trials and tribulations of life that we encounter everyday, maybe sickness, a rude person in the checkout line or impatient work colleagues.  That’s just life. Persecution occurs when we, because of the name of Jesus, are singled out for persecution.

Standing up for what is right will automatically put us into conflict. Jesus warned his disciples that they would be persecuted. In Luke 9:22-23 Jesus says that to follow him we must “deny ourselves and daily pick up our cross”. The Christian passover is often the “daily” portion of this passage.  To daily choose the way of the cross – Self denial, serving the needs of Christ and putting him before our own desires.

I have often wondered how Paul and Silas, there in the prison cell in the book of Acts were able to sing praises and hymns to God in spite of being brutally beaten. They knew in their hearts what James tells us in his first chapter, “Consider it pure joy when you face trails of many kinds”, they were rejoicing because they were suffering for Christ and because the gospel message was going out into the world.

1Tim 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. The Christian life and walk of the believer fully sold out to the things of the kingdom will be persecuted. But we should be able to know that we are suffering of the highest cause and ultimately our hope is found in the greatest hope of all Jesus Christ.

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Praying God’s original intent.

The whole concept of praying for our leaders and government can be daunting if you are not maybe familiar with God’s purpose for government. I thought it would be worthwhile through the next couple of posts to look at a few different aspects of praying for government by beginning with just that; God’s purpose.

According to Romans 13:4 one intent of government is a restraining influence on evil and to bring punishment to the wrongdoer.

We know that Government is not a remedy for sin but has a restraining effect against it.  The church is meant to bring the remedy for sin into a society, faith in Jesus Christ.

So what does this restraining effect look like?

It looks like laws in our land that our police and even military apply that protect the rights and freedoms of every citizen in Canada.

Without government society would become a place of chaos and anarchy, but by restraining evil government provides safety and order where we are enabled to live peaceful and quiet lives according to 1 Timothy Chapter 2.

Because God cares for every person in any nation, he hates to see people treated unjustly and therefore expects government to protect the people.

Once we know that this is one of God’s original intentions for government, it is also a great way to know how to pray for our leaders according to God’s will.

So, lets remember to pray for those that serve our government by enforcing and applying laws within our land thereby praying God’s original intent for government.

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Doing the Right Thing Webinar Sept 24th

NHOP is pleased to be a host for Doing the Right Thing, an important initiative with Godly truth’s being communicated in an excellent produced and Biblically sound presentation. We encourage you to check out the Doing the Right Thing site for information on how you can be involved, if you are in the National Capital region please join in with us Sept 24. 9am -1:30 p.m. at the National House of Prayer.

Below is a trailer for the event.

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Prayer for Jack Layton

I’m sure that you have already heard that Jack Layton the 61- year-old leader of the
New Democratic Party of Canada has had to temporarily step down from the party leadership as he has once again been diagnosed with cancer. Mr. Layton was
diagnosed with cancer in December of 2009, and has been undergoing treatment since. This new diagnosis seems to be unrelated.

At the National Prayer Breakfast in 2010, Mr. Layton testified to the power of prayer and how he believes that prayer has worked for him. Now this is a time when the Church of Canada can once again tangibly demonstrate God’s love for Jack Layton, his wife Olivia, and his family as we pray for them during this difficult and stressful time.

Pray that Mr. Layton and his family will turn to God for His healing and His comfort
and that God will reveal Himself as the God who answers prayer.

Also pray for Nycole Turmel who will likely be stepping in as Intern-Party Leader.
Pray that she will be able to quickly rise to the call and that God would give her guidance and wisdom to lead the Official Opposition Party.

Rob Parker

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Right Belief – Clear Conscience

I thought it would be good to dive a little deeper into this thought about being lead by the Spirit of God and not out of our flesh as we looked at in the last blog.

If right belief leads to right action and right doctrine leads us to prayer according to God’s will, what are the variables that lead us in our beliefs?

What we believe about something is often steered by what our conscience tells us. I think the concept of a conscience these days in our relativistic culture has become lost.  Many people would surmise that conscience is a feeling or emotion. I’m sure you have heard of the saying “let your conscience be your guide”, but this clearly would be a dangerous pitfall if conscience were merely our emotions or feelings about a particular issue. Life lead around by our ever-changing emotions and feeling would be a scary thing.  Horrible things have been done simply because someone’s conscience is okay with the action.

So what is conscience? The word finds its roots in the Latin word and means ‘with knowledge’. This is clear according to its meaning that there is knowledge that is being taken into account, a objective knowledge of ‘right and wrong’.

Now if we have a conscience that needs to be informed with ‘knowledge’ , where is our source of knowledge and therefore our guidelines for our conscience being derived from? Paul is clear in Romans that we can suppress the truth of right and wrong that is inherit in all people and our minds and thinking can become darkened because of our wickedness. As well in Romans 12:2 Paul writes, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will”.

This ‘pattern of the world’ is to have a conscience as I mentioned above, formed by emotions and feelings, Paul exhorts us to transform our thinking – to have a mind renewed and aligned with God’s purposes.

Praying according to the will of God is daily having our minds renewed aligning us to God’s will and therefore we are lead by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit not our emotions or feelings.

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