What a day the 18th has been for me. By the grace of God, I woke up this morning, at a little before 7, to get ready to attend a new church which also happens to be the first Presbyterian church I have EVER attended. I’d heard about it on OnePlace and really liked what I’d seen on the website, so I decided to go ahead and visit. The service was absolutely wonderful. We sang hymns – Before the Throne of God Above, Sing Praise to the Father, and All Praise to God Who Reigns Above. The sermon was short but very to the point. Growing up in Baptist churches, I am used to hour long sermons. My experience at PCPC was very different from any church I’d ever gone to. The drive wasn’t too bad, but I will say that I felt quite uncomfortable when I got out my car and walked into the building. Why? Well, I didn’t see any people of my own race. I’m so used to being around predominantly Black gatherings, whether it’s church, work, school, you name it. The Lord has definitely been taking me out of my comfort zone and I am thankful for it. While in church, I sat behind a wonderful couple that invited me to attend Sunday school with them. I really enjoyed my whole experience at Park Cities and I pray that the Lord would be kind in letting me attend again.
Going back to today’s sermon, it was entitled ‘Praying Boldly’ and based on Genesis 18:16 – 33:
Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.” So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
Genesis 18:16-33 ESV
The 3 points that Dr. Deison made:
1 – The Lord presents us with opportunities to pray.
2 – Abraham explores the Grace and Mercy of God and as he continues, he becomes bolder in his prayers.
3 – Lot’s safety hinged on Abraham’s intercession (Gen. 19:29)
Praying boldly has been something I’ve had a problem with, I must admit. With today’s sermon, I am encouraged to do the following:
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 ESV
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…
Ephesians 3:20 ESV
And to my great encouragement, I heard testimonies today of how people had prayed for YEARS for family members before they turned over their lives to Christ, so that gives me great motivation to continue to pray for the salvation of my parents and brothers. And after a conversation today with a longtime friend, I am encouraged to pray for her as well.
When I got home, I’d received an IM from a friend responding to a text message I’d sent her the other night. She’d written me saying that she was getting married to a guy whose name I’d never heard mentioned, so naturally, I was concerned. She’s the mother of a little boy that I call my godson. She’s been living with this guy for a while so I asked her — Why get married if y’all are already acting like it? She told me that was why – Since they were already acting like it, why wouldn’t they do it? I told her she needed to focus on her relationship with Christ because if He is not her center, everything else would fall apart. Our conversation changed from being about her future husband to salvation / false conversion. Yes, I know. How odd. She said they were going to Christian marriage counseling, so I asked her, “But are y’all Christian?” And she said… Yes. So, I laid out the things that her life consisted of and informed her that God hates that. She grew up in Catholic schools and churches, so, unfortunately, she thinks she is saved. I told her that doesn’t matter and that her life did not reflect one that was submitted to Christ. She said that she believed in God, but of course, I told her that Christ is the only way to God, and those who love Him will keep His commandments. We went back and forth and she believes that the Lord would not punish her for bad decisions she’d made in her life and that he would not send her to hell and that she got a great education in Catholic schools and would be sending her son there. This made me sad because I don’t want that baby confused. She said that she had to go, so I made my last message quick but meaty. I told her that Catholicism is not Biblical. Praying to saints (dead people), worshipping Mary, and the pope are not Biblical. I let her know I wanted her to know the Truth because I loved her, but it seemed to all fall on deaf ears because she believes that, just because she doesn’t believe what I believe (which is the Bible), that does not mean she’s wrong. I prayed and asked the Lord to open her heart and may she atleast think on what I told her.
Ever since I got Phil Wickham on Thursday, I have not been able to stop listening to it. I added 2 songs to the radio blog, I listen to it in the car, I listen to it at home, and I turn it on before I go to bed. I’d wanted the CD for a while, but was just now able to get it. I’m already anticipating his next release. It’s a truly beautiful CD and you can check out the lyrics here. Some of my favorite tracks are Divine Romance, Mystery, Always Forever, Messiah, and I Will Wait For You There. It truly is a beautiful CD.
I was very glad to be able to pick up a burrito bowl from Chipotle today, lol. So, today has been a cool day. I’m going to get into Matthew in a few. Since I don’t have a job anymore… Oh, yea, I hadn’t written about that! Well, I’d put in my 2 weeks notice at my job, but they decided to term me on Friday due to 2 things that were not really my fault that caused me to not be able to make it on time. However, my resignation came before their decision, so they didn’t really fire me. I’d resigned the week before. The corporate world is so cut-throat. So, until I am blessed to find another job, I’ll have all the time in the world to pray and study.