Pastor Stevens

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So far Pastor Stevens has created 216 blog entries.

Zacharias: “Hallowed be Thy Name”

The failure to recognize that our prayers carry his name has brought much disaster to many Christians. His name is quite “unhallowed” in the way we see God in relation to ourselves, if the contemporary expressions of worship that we often engage in are any indication. This vacuous understanding of the sacred may be part of the reason for the collapsing foundation of Christianity in the West.

“Hallowed be your name” is the opening line of the prayer recognizing both the sovereignty of God and the character of God—a character that is holy and will not lie or deceive, in contrast to our own deceitful hearts. “Father” brings him near, while “hallowed be your name” creates the legitimate distance between a holy God and his creation. His love for us is balanced by his protection of us from that which will make us less than what God intends us to be. That is the pivotal first half of “the equation” of prayer: God is love and God is holy. – from “Has Christianity Failed You?” by Ravi Zacharias

Zacharias: The True Unity in Diversity

“Christian message has the only answer to the greatest question in philosophy, a question that has been asked since the time of the early Greeks: How does one find unity in diversity? Academics and cultures have both pursued an answer. But with the concept of three in one within the very person of God, we find that three individual wills aligned in one essence is precisely how God has disclosed himself—unity in diversity. And as we have been created in God’s image, it is precisely this relationship within the Godhead that provides the possibility of relationship among us.” from “Has Christianity Failed You?” by Ravi Zacharias

Gladness in My Heart

“Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increase”1

What a wonderful thought! David was in the midst of attacks from his enemies, they were turning his glory into shame. So what did he do? He turned to the Lord. And God put gladness in his heart.
Gladness means joy or mirth. The Lord had filled David’s heart with greater joy. Where did this joy of the Lord come from? In the previous verse, David speaks of the light of God’s countenance (literally face). God’s face speaks of God’s presence. When David went into the presence of God, his Lord filed his heart with gladness. And this gladness was greater than his circumstances.
So today, when I face trials, when I am oppressed, when I am depressed, or when I am discouraged, I need to go into the presence of my God, and allow Him to fill my heart with His gladness and greater joy. Then I can find as Nehemiah wrote,

“Then he said to them, ‘Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”2

  1. Psalm 4:7 []
  2. Nehemiah 8:10 []

A. B. Simpson: The Pressures of Hard Places

“The pressure of hard places makes us value life. Every time our life is given back to us from such a trial, it is like a new beginning, and we learn better how much it is worth, and make more of it for God and man. The pressure helps us to understand the trials of others, and fits us to help and sympathize with them.”

  • “Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
  • Pressed so intensely it seems, beyond strength;
  • Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,
  • Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
  • Pressure by foes, and a pressure from friends.
  • Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends. 
  • Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
  • Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.
  • Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
  • Pressed into faith for impossible things.
  • Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
  • Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.”

-From Steams in the Desert

Zacharias: Prayer’s Burden & Blessing (Part 2)

“On the heels of the Lord’s Prayer and as his conclusion to it, Jesus tells us that God will give the Holy Spirit, his indwelling presence, to those who ask for it. That is the whole point of the prayer. It is not spoken in the form of a question—it ends with an exclamation point. God will give the gift of the indwelling presence of the holy God to any who ask for it—this is an absolute certainty! You can count on it…

“…We hear so little of this today. In its efforts to make God relevant to modern men and women, the emergent church seldom emphasizes to its audiences that the ultimate result of prayer is that Jesus intends to make his home within the life of the supplicant. We have turned prayer into a means to our ends and seldom wait on God’s response long enough to think about what he wants for us in that very moment. By reducing the evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to one particular gift, we have robbed people of the Holy Presence that prompts us in prayer, prays for us when we don’t have the words to pray for ourselves, and comforts us in our times of need.

The paramount need in the church today and in the individual Christian is the indwelling presence of God. In an incredible twist, this indwelling presence of God, the Holy Spirit, makes God both the enabler of our prayers and the provider of answers to those prayers.” from “Has Christianity Failed You?” by Ravi Zacharias

Zacharias: Prayer’s Burden & Blessing (Part 1)

“I have absolutely no doubt that if you are a praying Christian, your faith in God is what is carrying you, through both the good times and the hard times. However, if you are not a praying person, you are carrying your faith—you are trying to make your faith work for you apart from your source of power—and trying to carry the infinite is very exhausting…

“…Conversely, more certainly than anything else, sustained prayer that seems to bring nothing in response can result in a sense of futility with life and an erosion of faith. Like the myth of Sisyphus, who repeatedly rolled a huge rock up a mountain only to watch it roll down again, unanswered prayer may well be where most of those who have lost their faith began that journey into unbelief.” from “Has Christianity Failed You?” by Ravi Zacharias

Morris: The Faith of the Evolutionist

The faith of the evolutionist…is a splendid faith indeed, a faith not dependent on anything so mundane as evidence or logic, but rather a faith strong in its childlike trust, relying wholly on omniscient Chance and omnipotent Matter to produce the complex systems and mighty energies of the universe. The evolutionist’s faith is not dependent on evidence, but is pure faith–absolute credulity.

–Dr. Henry Morris, Some Call It Science, 22

Zacharias: The Attitude of a Child

“Chesterton insisted that he learned more from observing a nursery than he ever did in studying philosophy. Jesus shocked his audience when he said that a child was a better representative of the kingdom of heaven than any one of his learned skeptics. Why is this so? Is it because children are gullible and unsophisticated in understanding? Not so, for I have been asked tougher, more honest questions by children than by most adults. It is because children are open to the truth and are not looking for reasons to believe a lie.” from “Has Christianity Failed You?” by Ravi Zacharias

Morris: No Creation, No Gospel

Any other gospel is another gospel and is not the true gospel. Without the creation, the gospel has no foundation; without the promised consummation, it offers no hope; without the cross and the empty tomb, it has no saving power. – Dr. Henry Morris, Some Call It Science, 50 (as excerpted from The Berean Call)

Having a Dismal Day?

No, not today with all its cloudiness and rain. But a day of ministry, a day of serving the Lord… a day of worshipping the Lord. Oh may my heart be lifted up to the Lord today, to the heights of His throne. I need a clear vision of Him, as He revealed Himself to Isaiah (Isa 6:1). Let me not be satisfied with just existing, but let me seek the Son-shine of my Savior’s face today with all my heart! (Ps 27:8)

Wiersbe: Our Attitude Towards Money

Money cannot conquer death, and money cannot go with us, but we can use it wisely while we have it. “For he sees wise men die; likewise the fool and the senseless person perish, and leave their wealth to others” (Ps 49.10).

The psalmist advises us not to trust in wealth but to trust in the Lord. It is not a sin to have the things that money can buy as long as you don’t lose the things that money can’t buy (eternal life). Don’t have any false confidence that simply because the bank account looks good you’re going to live. You can’t take your money with you, but you can use it today for God’s glory. When you do that, you are investing it in eternity. Make your wealth eternal by letting God direct your use of it.

 Warren W. Wiersbe, Prayer, Praise & Promises: A Daily Walk through the Psalms, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 130.

“Well Pleased”

“You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”1

This was the Father’s voice from heaven when Jesus was baptized. God the Father was taking delight in the life and the obedience of God the Son. I wonder, can God say the same of me? Does He take delight in my life, today? When He thinks of me, is it with cherished thoughts, or is He disappointed? “I pray, Father, help me to be the delight of Your heart, today.”

  1. Luke 3:22b []