Summary: Much of the Christian’s thinking and decision making today is based on the senses and not on the Scripture. The church has lost her preoccupation with Scripture. The church has fallen away from a passion and love for the Word of God.

Prayer and Fasting Message 2014 – A Preoccupation with Scripture December 29, 2013

Chuck Brooks, Pastor-Teacher, GraceWay Church

In 2014 we are going to increase our emphasis on Scripture, the Word of God.

• We will do this through our preaching and teaching messages

• We will do this through all of our ministry environments

• We will do this through LIFEGroups

• We will accomplish this through our worship and praise ministry

And most importantly, we will do this through personal application as we…

• Read, meditate and memorize more of the Scripture

• Talk to one another and encourage one another with the Scripture

• Study more of the Scripture

• Evangelize using more of the Scripture (romans 10:17)

• Sing more of the Scripture, and of course,

• Increase our obedience to the Scripture.

George Guthrie, the author of one of the books I recently read called, Read the Bible for Life, tells the story of traveling to China and teaching the New Testament books of Hebrews and James to a group of ministers from across the country.

While there, his wife, who was at home in the U.S., got sick and was struggling spiritually. Her thyroid had been radiated weeks earlier (essentially killing it), and she had gone "hypothyroid" while he was half a world away. With hypothyroidism, the body does not get the hormones it needs, and the condition wreaks havoc on various systems of the body.

He calls his wife Pat on a Tuesday evening, and she tells him about her illness, but she was also experiencing a deep sense of spiritual oppression, a dark cloud of anxiety and disorientation. Brother Guthrie says although such emotions could have been due to her physical condition, he and his wife both felt spiritual dynamics were involved, possibly related to his ministry in China.

He went the next morning to the twenty-five or so brothers and sisters in his class, most of whom were from western China. He asked them if they would pray for his wife. Immediately they all stood up, and one after another, for the next thirty-five minutes, they prayed powerful, passionate prayers for Pat. The professor said it sounded like they were bombarding the gates of heaven! Since he doesn’t speak Chinese, he asked the interpreter what they were praying, and she said their prayers were almost pure Scripture. Within twenty-four hours both the physical effects of Dr. Guthrie’s wife’s illness, which could not have been corrected that quickly by medication, and the sense of horrible spiritual pressure lifted from her.

Dr. Guthrie noted: “Our brothers and sisters in China are saturated with God's Word, and the Word is brought to bear on a wide variety of situations in life via powerful, Scripture-infused prayer. The house churches in China do not have buildings or resources or training like we have in the West. Yet they know God, they know how to pray, and they know and live God's Word.

Dr. Guthrie came back from China longing to be a person who knows the Scriptures more deeply and talks to God in prayer more faithfully. This is the kind of church I pray that God grows us to be through our fasting and praying and over the course of the up and coming year:

• A church who members whose hearts are saturated with God’s Word

• A church where the people apply the Scriptures to situations in their lives

• A church that practices powerful, Scripture-infused praying

• A church that knows and lives out God’s Word…no matter what the cost!

In the Pentateuch, which is the first five books of the Old Testament, we learn that God calls out a people for Himself from among the nations of the world. They were to maintain a distinctiveness—a uniqueness from the other nations. They were to be different.

Deu 6:1 "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess,

God’s Word was actually given to the people of God to set them apart from the people of other nations. Deuteronomy 6:2 tells us that they were not only to keep God’s Word but were to pass His commandments, statutes and judgments down to their children and children’s children.

The Bible tells us that as they kept the commandments of God, they would be blessed.

(There is a blessing to keeping God’s Word!)…Deuteronomy 6:2-3 says, "that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. "Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you; 'a land flowing with milk and honey.'”

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