The Sturggle To Pray

Many people feel insecure and ineffective in the prayer life. After spending 25 years in ministry I understand that many Christians struggle and even feel like failures in their personal prayer life. When believers feel as though they have failed in their prayer life, many will not practice spending time in HIS presence through prayer and Bible reading. Rather many believers today only pray the perfunctory mealtime prayer or when they are having a personal crisis. And even then most feel as through their prayers are ineffective. Fred Harley in his book “Lord Teach US to Pray” concludes that, “Prayer has caused more people to feel like miserable failures than any other Christian discipline. Even the Bible talks about our propensity to falter in prayer.” J. Oswald Sanders states, “Most of us find it hard to pray. We sometimes pay lip service to the delight and power of prayer. We call it indispensable, though we know the Scriptures call for it. Yet, we often fail to pray.”  I find it somewhat interesting and convoluted that the very thing that brings the greatest victory in the Christians life, is also the thing that most Christians either struggle with or neglect all together.  It is my desire to share a few post on the subject of prayer to elevate the dissatisfaction that seems to plague many of God’s Children.
 
Learning To Pray (together),
Bro. Clayton


80/20

In 1906 Vilredo Pareto created a mathematical formula when he discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Today it is known as the 80/20 rule or the Pareto Principle. And it basically states that 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the cause.

For instance:

  • 80% of the sales comes from 20% of customers.
  • 80% of problems are caused by 20% of a company’s staff.
  • 80% of production is produced by 20% of workers.
  • 80% of peas come from 20% of pea pods.
  • 80% of wealth is owned by 20% of population.
  • 80% of the time we only wear 20% of our favorite clothes.
  • 80% of health care is use by 20 of the U.S. population.
  • 80% of crimes are committed by 20% of criminals.

We could go on for quite some time giving examples of this principle, but I think you understand. This principle can also be found in the Church life. 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. 80% of the finances are provided by 20% of the people. 80% of the problems are caused by 20% of people. 80% of the praying is done by 20% of the people. 80% of the congregation gets about 20% of what the pastor says.  

As I pray for God’s wisdom and guidance; I am asking for God to change those numbers for us. We need to be running on all cylinders, we need all of our members hearing from God. We need to have more commitment to God’s agenda – to His plan. We all need to invest into His economy!  Some say that today’s church has a 80% chance at failure and a 20% chance at successfully reaching this generation. I believe God has a different principle; we find it in Matthew 6:33.

Please begin to pray for the presence of God to fall on our Church. We need his presence as we seek to do His business!
 
Seeking Him. Bro. Clayton


Make Hard Decisions.

On Sunday Mornings we have been in a series about Living in God’s Will. WE know that God has a perfect plan for our lives. Often as we go through life we are faced with decisions. How do we know we are making the right decision? Can we be assured that our choice does not take us outside of God’s perfect plan? The will of God is not meant to be some type of secret that we must uncover. God’s wants us to understand His perfect plan for us, in fact HE wants us to know and understand His Will even more than we do. He always makes His will clear to those who seek it with an obedient heart. The truth of the matter is; most of the real problem areas of God’s will are settled for us in the Bible. God’s reveals His Standard for knowing His Plan – Let me share four things That God says about His Will:
1. It is God’s Will that all be Saved!  (1Tim. 2:3-4 & 2 Peter 3:9)
2. It is God’s Will that The Saved also be Spirit Filled. (Ephesians 5:17-18)
3. It is God’s Will that The Saved be Sanctified. (1Thessalonians 4:3-7)
4. It is God’s Will that the Saved be Submissive & Humble. (1Peter 2:13-15)
 
Next time you are confronted with a decision as yourself these four questions and if all four of these things are present in your life then I believe you are safe to do what you want to do. Psalms 37:4 says “Delight Yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That means that if you are conforming to God’s Will in all four ways listed above, He will place in your heart desires that reflect His will.
 
This Sunday we will continue talking about Living In God’s Will.
With Love,
Bro. Clayton
 


Please Don’t Croak!

A farmer loved to sleep with his window open so he could feel the gentle night breeze and hear the soft noises of the night creatures. However, the night noises were getting louder and louder due to an invasion of frogs at the farmers pond fifty yards from his bedroom window. The noise of the frogs continually got worse each night. The farmer was not able to sleep because of those amplified amphibians. So, one morning the farmer got in his truck and drove to a nearby restaurant owned by a friend. They had a little business meeting together, shook hands, and the farmer left with a smile. He had convinced his friend in the restaurant business to add frog legs to the menu. The farmer guaranteed his buddy that he could supply him with a million frog legs. The restaurant owner didn’t need that many frog legs, so the agreed on a few thousand. A week later, the farmer returned to the restaurant with a bag of frogs. The restaurant owner met the farmer in the parking lot, excited to see the new addition to his menu.

“Well,” said the restaurant owner. “Let’s see what we got!”The Farmer let out a deep sigh and had an odd, sheepish look on his face as he reached into the bag and pulled two out scrawny frogs. “I thought my pond was overflowing with frogs. They were driving me crazy. These two little frogs were making all that noise! I never woulda guessed that two scrawny frogs could sound like a million.”

 

OH, but they can! The voices of those who “croak” defeat into your ears are few, but loud! Everyone has one or two croakers who make it difficult to hear all the other voices of encouragement and victory. Learn how to hear the hundreds beyond the croaking of a couple. Don’t allow a couple of scrawny frogs turn your attention away from the will of God for your life. Don’t allow your froggy friends to focus your eyes toward the negative things of life; rather set your mind and your ears to hear the higher, softer pitches of the goodness of God and His plans for you. 

And please… don;t be a scrawny croaker in anyone’s life. In spite of the fairy tale, people really do not go around kissing frogs. But they do like to GIG EM!
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton


A Wicked Mistake

Everyone makes mistakes, even the folks who print Bibles. Over the years, these people have made some mind-twisting typographical errors!
 
Please let me give a “sidebar” note: I am not saying that Our Bible has error in it! I believe 100% that the Word of God is without error… His Word is Perfect and Inspired; however the people who print the Bible have been known to make mistakes – the mistakes listed below were caught and corrected. Human error – NOT Divine Error – HE NEVER ERRORS!!!
We Know today that we have Divinely inspired, inerrant, infallible Perfect Word of God!

 

Here are a few errors that have turned up in (past) various editions of the Bible:

A Bible printed in 1562 contains the following mistake in Mark 5:9 – “Blessed are the placemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” The correct word, of course, is “peace-makers.”
 
A Bible printed in 1653 reads: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the Kingdom of God?” The passage, Corinthians 6:9, should read “shall not inherit.”
 

A Bible printed in 1862 botched a passage in Revelation, recording the number of the Beast, or Antichrist, as “999” instead of “666

A Bible printed in 1914 listed “Thou shalt kill” as one of the 10 commandments. The correct commandment, of course, is

“Thou shalt not kill.”

Oddly enough, a Bible printed in 1631 blew another commandment, which led to the most famous typo of all: “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

The 1631 Bible was Coined “The Wicked Bible”, it was meant to be a reprint of the King James Bible. The blunder was so severe, the publishers were punished with a hefty fine and their printer’s license revoked. King Charles I was incensed, and George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said:

“I knew the tyme when great care was had about printing, the Bibles especially, good compositors and the best correctors were gotten being grave and learned men, the paper and the letter rare, and faire every way of the beste, but now the paper is nought, the composers boyes, and the correctors unlearned.”

Almost all the Wicked Bible’s copies were burned, but eleven survived. One copy is in the collection of the New York Public Library and another in the Bible Museum in Branson, Missouri. I understand that a copy can still be bought for the low price of 90thousand dollars.

 

After reading about those mistakes – well, I don’t feel quiet so bad about some of the mistakes I make. As bad as these typos are, today most people do not even know about them. These blunders have not had a lasting effect on the view of the Holy Bible and I imagine that most of the mistakes you and I make today will not alter the course of history. 

And when we do blow it… the Word of God tells us that God is faithful and just to forgive!

 

With Love,
Bro. Clayton

 



The Seriousness of Living In God’s Will!!

Are you nervous about doing God’s Will? Have you ever talked yourself out of obeying HIS prompting? Let me tell you about someone else who found himself arguing with himself about talking to a certain young man, nervous to the point of passing up the place where the boy worked, he went back, took a deep breath, rushed in and made his case. The boy later said that this man he hardly knew was weeping for his soul, while he himself had never shed a tear for it. Edward Kimble led D. L. Moody to Christ, this day in 1855. Imagine if Edward Kimble had not obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Image who may miss heaven because you “missed” God’s will!
 
This Sunday we will continue the Sermon Series –
“Living In God’s Will”
 
See You Sunday,
Bro. Clayton


There Is A Purpose in Loss

I recently heard a story about a man who lived back during the great depression of the early 1900’s. The man was a humble carpenter who had 6 kids to feed. The man loved the Lord and often volunteered his time. One day he was working at the Church while his church gathered clothes for an orphanage in China. In those days they packet the clothes up in wooden crates to ship them. The man worked hard all day constructing the wooden boxes and then nailing the lids shut after other volunteers had filled them with clothes. Later that day on his way home he reached his hand to his shirt pocket to get his glasses. He realized that his glasses were missing. He had just bought these new glasses earlier that week. Now, times were very hard for him and his family; so it had been a sacrifice for him to buy the new glasses to begin with. Now he has lost them. It would be months may be even a full year before he could save enough money to buy a new pair. This old, humble poor, carpenter was very disappointed. He began to pray to God………”God I serve you faithfully, I share with others, I give to your work, etc…….. Why God… Why can’t I have the things I need??????????”

Several months later The missionary from the orphanage in China came to the states. The missionary began to visit the churches that support him & his work. He came to this mans church and began to thank them for the clothes and the support. As he spoke he said “but most of all I want to thank you for the glasses.” Everyone in the church looked at each other….. They had not packet any glasses, he must be thinking about one of the other churches. The missionary continued, “When our village was raided by the government they wrecked everything & in the process they destroyed my glasses. I could hardly see, I began to develop debilitating head aches. It was becoming very difficult for me to minister, to preach, to help the children, etc. I began to pray and beg God for some new glasses, The other missionaries joined me in this prayer. We knew it would have to be a miracle from God. We had no money to buy such things and even if we had the money there is no place to buy glasses in this part of China. When I opened the crate that you sent from your church, there….. right on top was a new pair of glasses, they were a perfect fit…. the prescription was just right.. it was as if these glasses were made just for me.”

Everyone in the church sat there looking around confused, everyone beside this little old carpenter who was sitting there with tears streaming down his cheeks as he prayed and said “Thank you God that there was a purpose in my loss!”

Remember – The peace of God is not the absence of trouble….The Peace of God is the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in your life.
 
With Love,
Bro. Clayton


Every Breath I Breathe

Do you know what happens when you breathe? Let me just say that it is a miracle of God every time you take a breath. When you breathe in your lungs expand. They expand because the muscles around your lungs, including your diaphragm contract and make room for your lungs to expand this sucks air in through your nose and mouth, The nose filters, wets, and warms the air. The air then moves down the larynx, trachea, and bronchial tubes in the lungs. At the same time your heart pumps blood rich in Carbon Dioxide and low in Oxygen into your lungs through your Pulmonary Arteries. These arteries end at a network of tiny blood vessels called capillaries which surround an air sac called Alveoli (which looks like a cluster of grapes) the alveoli are located at the end of your bronchial tubes. As you breathe air in the oxygen pass through the capillaries into the alveoli and hitch-hike onto the red-blood cells, at the same time carbon dioxide moves into the alveoli and out of the body as you exhale. The Oxygen rich blood is then pumped back to your heart and then to the rest of your body through blood vessels. At the end of the journey the oxygen adam enters into an individual cell and explodes into energy. 

I am sure I left some important facts & details out, but my point is -this process happens every time you inhale & exhale. It is a complex miracle every time we breathe. And we never even think about it. The only reason you are thinking about it right now…. is because I am talking about it. Let me give you some more information.

The average person will breathe around 23thousand times per day, and never think about it. The average person will move about 440 cubic feet of air per day, and never think about it. Did you know that the surface area of your lungs are about 40 times larger than your entire body? If we could take your lungs out & unfold them, they would unfold to be 40 times bigger than your body. And yet these lungs are tucked away inside your body, and are held in place by ribs and muscle. Did you know that the blood vessels that carry the blood and Oxygen adams through out your body; If we could take them out and line them end to end they would be long enough to wrap around the earth 4 times? All of this is packet up inside of you. You Didn’t Know You Were So Big – did you?

Those people who say there are no such things as miracles today…..They must not be breathing, They must not understand how amazing the human body is. And often, we do not even think about it.

Lord, I am sorry for taking your goodness for granted!
Bro. Clayton


How Dumb Can You Be?

Most of you probably remember former presidential candidate Ben Carson. Ben Carson vividly remembers a playground conversation during which his fifth grade schoolmates selected him as the dumbest kid in their grade. In fact, after some debate, his classmates decided he was probably the dumbest kid in the world. Looking back from his vantage point as a world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Carson can laugh at the memory. However, had he not been empowered as a young student, Ben Carson may never have shaken the belief that he was stupid.

Ben’s mother, Sonya Copeland, chose to marry at the age of 13 to escape an untenable family situation. The marriage eventually unraveled, leaving Sonya alone in raising her two sons: Ben and Curtis. Sonya noticed her boys were lagging behind academically, but she was convinced they had the potential to excel in school.

In an effort to focus her sons on their studies, Sonya curtailed their television time, ordered them to read two books per week, and made them submit book reports to her. After receiving the reports, she would mark them with red ink and discuss the reports with the boys. Ben had no idea that his mother was illiterate and that she only marked up the papers to give the appearance of having read them.

Through time, Ben’s steady diet of books paid off. Thanks to his new found study skills and increased reading comprehension, Ben’s grades improved, and perhaps more importantly his self-esteem was repaired. By the time he graduated, Ben had reached the top of his class, had received a full scholarship to Yale, and had been voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his classmates

After graduating from Yale University and attaining his graduate degree at the University of Michigan, Dr. Ben Carson quickly won acclaim for his skill as a surgeon. By age 33, he became the youngest ever director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In subsequent years, Dr. Carson empowered fellow surgeons to take risks by accepting seemingly hopeless cases. He resurrected an abandoned surgical practice of removing a hemisphere of the brain to alleviate a patient’s chronic seizures. Later, he pioneered methods to operate on brain stem tumors, and he became the first doctor to perform brain surgery on a fetus inside the womb. Most famously, he successfully separated conjoined twins in 1997. All in all, his courage led to empowering advancements throughout the field of neurosurgery.

I wish I was that dumb!!! The truth of the matter is that Ben had someone who believed in him. Ben’s mother encouraged him to work hard, to never give up, to achieve something that was out of his reach. She gave him a dream! That is what leaders do. Ben latter challenged others to excel against seemingly impossible odds.

May we be dumb enough to simply trust God and respond to Him in child like obedience,
 
Who Are You Impacting,
Bro. Clayton


Who’s Got Your Back?

In the Church world we often refer to the relationship we find in the Bible such as that of Paul and Timothy and we will remind people that we need relationships like they had; everyone needs a mentor and should also be mentoring others. Or we will examine the friendship that David and Jonathan had and stress the fact that everyone needs close friends. I often hear pastors ask who is your Timothy, etc.
 
I would like to share the same thoughts, only by using a non-Biblical comparison – Let’s compare Rambo and the Lone Ranger. “The differences and similarities are numerous between these two fictitious folk heroes. Both are champion warriors who always win their fights a la Hollywood. There the similarities end. Rambo ages and changes enemies. Early on he fights in Viet Nam, then he goes after terrorists some 30 years later. For the Lone Ranger, he never ages his enemies never change. He is fighting either outlaws or Indians on the warpath. The Lone Ranger was the hero of the Builder generation…Rambo was the hero of the Me Generation that has tried to be an Army of One. Rambo is a loner and the Lone Ranger always needed Tonto.

For many, today, the idea of having a Tonto (Timothy/Paul, David/Jonathan) is foreign…both for the Lone Ranger and for the one desiring to be a Tonto. We are fast loosing the art of knowing how to build deep lasting relationships that will fight and last to the death. We have never been taught how to build those relationships…they are awkward. The WW2 generation understood being in the foxhole together. Most of us don’t understand and have never been in a life or death foxhole. Much less totally dependent on another to “have our back”. Yet in every social setting we all need Tonto’s, whether it be at work, play, church, family, marriage, relationships…we find better success when have a Tonto. What father or mother doesn’t want their spouse to be his Tonto when he has to confront a rebellious son or daughter? What spouse doesn’t want their counterpart to be Tonto when getting crossways with in-laws? What executive doesn’t want his colleagues to have his back when dealing with tension in the Board of Trustees meetings? When the Boss is uptight, is it not good to know who your Tonto’s are?

Humor: There is an old story about the Lone Ranger and Tonto when they were being attacked and surrounded by an Indian war party. They are pinned down with arrows and bullets coming from all sides. The Lone Ranger looks over at Tonto and yells, “what are we going to do with all of these Indians?” Tonto replies, “What do you mean “WE” – paleface?”

All of us need a loyal Tonto. Who are your Tonto’s and will they really have your back during the battle? Will you be a good Tonto and have their back?

Lord, Help me to not be so prideful as to reject those who want to be my Tonto. Help me humble myself and acknowledge my need for a Tonto. At the same time, teach me how to be a faithful and loyal Tonto through thick and thin. May I have the joy of having at least one relationship in my lifetime like the Lone Ranger and Tonto where there is an unspoken understanding that we are in it “to the death”.–Amen”

It is my goal to gather men around me that will be my Tonto; and in return I will be both Tonto, and Lone Ranger to them. Or to bring it back to Biblical terminology I want to gather men who will be my Timothy as I am their Paul. I desire to create an atmosphere were men feel safe to have a David & Jonathan type of relationship. We all need each other; but I also understand that we want someone to lead.
 
Leading On Together,
Bro. Clayton  

 




Danville First Baptist Church | PO Box 877 | 1009 Main Street | Danville, AR  72833 | Phone: 479-495-2873 | Fax: 479-495-3095 | email:fbcdan@arkwest.com