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Prayer Blog

March 21, 2023 Prayer Blog

Posted by Carol Gilbert on

Revelation 2:12-17

Pastor Dave introduced Pergamum as a city renowned for its pagan worship. In this week’s passage, the Lord Jesus describes it as the dwelling place of Satan. Jesus commends the church in Pergamum for holding fast to his name even in a place where Satan is obviously active. But he also has a few things against them. One is, “you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel.” When the pagan “prophet” Balaam was unable to directly curse the Israelites, he advised Balak, the king of Moab, to bring down the men of Israel by enticing them to participate in feast days for little-g gods and in sexual immorality.* Satan employed the same back-door strategy in Pergamum, and he’s doing it again in the church in our time. “We’re Christians! We’re saved! Praise Jesus!” the church says, dabbling in idolatry and sexual immorality all the while.

It’s easy to point the finger at liberal churches that embrace homosexuality and transgenderism instead of calling it sin or super-seeker-friendly churches that “make the damned feel comfortable in God’s presence,” to use Dave’s words. It’s easy to feel smug that we at Calvary aren’t “that kind of church.” But we need to heed what Paul told Timothy: Watch your life and your doctrine closely. (1 Timothy 4:16) Pray that our current leadership and future leadership will diligently guard against diluting true doctrine and never cater to “itching ears” in an attempt to be relevant, and pray that the rest of us will support them in that.

Before the Lord, bring Jesus’ condemnation of the teaching of Balaam even closer to home, to your own life and your own circle of influence. Am I an idolater? Is anything or anyone more important to me than the Lord? I don’t get invitations to feasts with food offered to idols, but what about parties with flowing alcohol? Am I intemperate in my use of alcohol? Am I guilty of sex outside marriage? Do I engage with pornography? Do I enjoy mainstream movies (or music) that titillate? Am I friends with, or the parent of, a person who claims the name of Christ but gets drunk or is sexually promiscuous or into pornography … and I say nothing? (This is hard to read, and hard to write, too.) Jesus says, “Repent!” Repenting is more than confessing and more than saying sorry. Repenting is lamenting over sin, turning, taking drastic action – cutting off your hand, gouging out your eye – to affect change in your life. If a church is to stand firm against the wiles of Satan, we individuals who make up the church must be willing to invite Holy Spirit examination and then repent as He convicts.

Calvary Family

Lift up Lynda and Butch Pash as they mourn the passing of their son Rob last week. Lynda found comfort in the fact that he died with a smile on his face. “God was with him,” she told me.

Calvary’s kids – 4’s and 5’s through 6th grade – will be singing in both services on Palm Sunday, April 2. I was a helper during their rehearsal on Sunday and was impressed by the kids’ enthusiastic singing and by the leaders’ emphasis on the importance and privilege of worship. Pray for these children as they learn what Good Friday and Easter are about and learn to respond with praise.

I talked to Diana Aksel, our Children’s Director, on Sunday to ask how we could be praying for the children’s program. Join Diana in asking God to raise up more Sunday School teachers to minister to the growing number of children on Sunday mornings. Right now, two classes serve the elementary school ages: grades 1-3 and grades 4-6. Because the classes have gotten quite large, Diana would like to divide the kids into three classes – grades 1-2, 3-4, and 5-6 – starting in June. Pray also that current teachers will not grow weary but rather be strengthened and encouraged. Finally, it’s not too early to be praying for VBS! It is three months away, but preparations have already begun.

In Christ,
Carol Gilbert

* Numbers 22-25 + 31:16