Filling The Gap For God

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The following devotion comes from my email subscription to

Connection! Devotions for Every Day Life“.

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God Looks for Those Who Will Intercede

One of the areas that I believe is least understood by Christians is the partnership that God has called us to with Himself in the area of prayer. God, in His wisdom and sovereign power, has chosen to accomplish His will on this planet through the prayers of His people. God has decided not to arbitrarily move in and out of situations on earth, even though He is able to do just that.

Instead, He waits on His people to pray and then pours out His power in response to those prayers.

Ezekiel 22:30 is a passage of Scripture that illustrates this principle of how the Lord works. “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” God uses the illustration of a walled city to demonstrate His commitment to prayer.

The walls protect a city from enemy attack. But through neglect (sin), the walls can begin to crumble and a gap or opening in the wall can create a dangerous situation where the enemy can come in. God said of Israel in Ezekiel’s day, that they had allowed such a situation to develop. It was going to result in the destruction of the land, unless someone stood before the Lord in the gap on behalf of the land. This is a clear picture of God’s desire for us to engage in intercessory prayer.

What is absolutely heartbreaking is that God Himself was looking for an intercessor. He was looking for someone who would stand before Him in prayer on behalf of Israel so that He would not have to destroy her because of sin and rebellion. God’s desire is made clear here. He did not want to destroy Israel. He was waiting for an intercessor so He wouldn’t have to. God had chosen to reserve His power to save the nation of Israel for those who prayed. But no intercessor was to be found. Israel was defeated by the Babylonians and her people were in exile for 70 years.

–Adapted from the article Partnering with God in Prayer by Dave Butts.

Posted 15 Nov 2011

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I’ve heard this phrase used many times, that we need people to “stand in the gap”.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that the people who used this phrase always understood what the phrase meant.  But to be honest, I know there have been times when I have not applied this Scripture properly in my life either.

The idea presented to me when I was younger was that there are people who are lost and God is ready to pronounce His judgment upon those who are sinners, and so He is calling out for Christian workers to “stand in the gap” between Himself and those who are lost.  We are to pray for them and seek to evangelize them so that they might turn to God before judgment comes.

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But it is not the unbelieving heathen that we need to be praying for.  Rather we are to pray for God’s own people who have lost the way of the Truth, and especially for those who have been called as leaders of God’s people.  It is bad enough when those who are God’s children start to engage in ungodly practices, but imagine how much worse it is when it is the leaders of God’s people who go astray and teach others to do so too.

Look at the first words of the four verses leading up to Ezekiel 22:30.  Verse 26, “Her priests have done violence to my Law…”; verse 27, “Her princes within her are like wolves…”; verse 28, “Her prophets have smeared whitewash…”; verse 29, “The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery…”  No wonder God was going to bring punishment down upon the whole nation.

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But what Dave Butts reminds us above, is that God is looking for truly godly people to care passionately about God’s people and to make a difference through intercessory prayer.  What I see God doing here is asking for someone from within the nation to pray for the nation.

Now if I contextualize this message for today, I take it to mean that if we find ourselves in a church or some other Christian setting and we see moral and spiritual drift and decay going on around us, then we are called first and foremost to pray on their behalf.  To intercede on their behalf.

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But what do you think the tendency is for people to do today?  If things aren’t right, or even if it comes down to preference which can be defined as “I don’t like this church”, then the tendency is to go “church hopping”  (or should I say “church shopping”) until that person finds the church that they happen to like at that moment.

So what am I trying to say here?  Basically this: we need to honestly evaluate the spiritual health of the group we are a part of.  And if we find Scripturally that they may be lacking, then we have an important mandate given to us by God, namely to get on our knees and to seek God and to intercede on their behalf.  What an important ministry God has given us to do.  To “fill the gap” wherever He may have placed us.

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Pray For Our Government

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A Majority Government For Canada

Last week, on Monday May 2nd, Canadians went to the polls to elect a new government.  There it is.  A matter-of-fact and rather bland sentence.  And for the people who read this article who are not a Canadian, I would imagine that this event probably did not mean much to them, and in fact, they may not even have known that we held an election.  After all, it was only a 37 day event.

But wait, there is much more going on than many non-Canadians may realize.  Read the following news article that shows just how stunning and historically monumental this election actually was.

“Canada rarely gets earthquakes but it felt a big temblor on May 2. When the rest of the world was glued to news about Osama bin Laden, Canadians voted in an election that shook up their political landscape.

On the surface, the election simply saw more of the same: Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who took office in 2006, will stay in power. But wait, much more happened below the crust:

1. For the first time in Canada’s history, the Liberals came in third place, with only 19 percent of the vote. The party of Pierre Trudeau, Lester Pearson, and Jean Chretien that so dominated politics for decades and defined Canadian identity fell from grace. The loss forced its leader, former Harvard academic Michael Ignatieff, to resign. (He even lost his own seat in Parliament).

2. Bloc Quebecois, the political party that long championed separation for Quebec province, also lost big time. Its seat count went from 47 seats to 4. This will alter one of Canada’s long-standing debates about its unity.

3. A party with socialist roots in the Great Recession, the New Democratic Party, essentially grabbed the left-of-center votes from the Liberals. It came in second with 31 percent. The NDP, long a small minority, is now the official opposition party for the first time in Canada’s history, with the charismatic Jack Layton at its helm. Many of its MPs are fresh faces, some of whom didn’t even campaign.

4. For Conservatives, their victory was sweet and historic. The party has not won a majority in Parliament in 23 years. Mr. Harper has had to rule over a minority government for the past five years, forming coalitions to get anything done.

(Article Written by Clayton Jones)

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Most Canadians knew that there was a lot riding on this election for everyone involved, the politicians and their political parties, and the people of Canada as a whole.  It was crucial for Stephen Harper to win a majority government, after having only managed a minority government in 2006 and 2008.

If he did not get the majority, then most likely he would be removed as the head of his party.  And even if they had a strong minority, many people feared the rumor that the other opposing parties would form a majority coalition and throw the country into total chaos.

Thankfully (my opinion, and that of 40% of all Canadians), Harper did get a majority victory.  And a strong statement in and of itself is that the leaders of the parties that won 2nd place and 3rd place in the 2008 elections did not even win in their own personal electoral riding, and their parties were almost decimated.  The very next morning, both of these powerful political leaders officially resigned.  What a stunning realignment for the political makeup of our country.

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And now I reflect on what Scripture may have to say about all this.  I must confess that as a Christian I have not always paid a lot of attention to general politics.  I do obey the laws of the land, and I pay my taxes.  But until this election, I did not do a whole lot more.  But the Bible tells us that the should be more mindful of the people who will be the leaders of our countries.

In Romans 12:1, God says, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”  And in verse 4 it says, “The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.”

Even more importantly, Paul urges us to offer up prayers not just for each other or people in general, but for the men and women who are our political leaders.  He says in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”

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And so in light of the importance of this past week’s election, I know that many Christians were in prayer for a good outcome.  I was as well, and for the first time in my life, I contributed financially in hopes to help us gain a strong and stable government.  And one more unique thing for me and for my son Glen, we attended the political rally where Steven Harper came in and gave his victory speech.  (Glen is holding the ‘Harper’ sign by the reporter’s shoulder of this nationally televised event.)

It is my prayer now that all those who are now elected officials in the House of Commons for the people of Canada will heed the wishes of the people.  We crave a strong and stable government, but also one that will listen to what the opposition says, and will not forget the average Canadian citizen.  Most of all, I pray that the newly formed government will allow themselves to be used of God to be good servants for Him as they govern all the people of Canada.

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