Prayer Targets: Faith for Finances; Masterpiece Cakeshop; Taxes; Alabama; Bohannon, Citizen Voices
November 29, 2017
Dear Praying Friends,
George Müller (1805-1898), evangelist, founder, and director of the Ashley Down Orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime and helped thousands of orphans to obtain quality educations. Many of his students advanced to high places in British society. He founded 117 Christian schools which taught over 120,000 students, mostly orphans. Through his years, Müller's rule was never to ask for funds, rather he believed the promises of God's provision for his work, and when need arose, which was constantly, he withdrew to pray alone or with others to ask God to meet the need. His days were filled with last-minute arrivals of unsolicited checks, cash, unordered food and supplies -- just when his treasury or cupboard was utterly bare, often the moment his thousands of children were arriving at their mess halls, eager to receive their daily portion. God gave not only enough to meet his ministry's needs, but extra for Müller to help support missionaries abroad like Hudson Taylor who birthed the China Inland Mission and changed the methods of missionary enterprise forever. Below are some of the Scriptures that inspired Müller's faith to ceaselessly ask God to meet his gargantuan ministry's daily needs:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened" (Mt 7:7-8); "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son: if ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it" (Jn 14:13-14); "Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you -- you of little faith? So, do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Mt 6:25-34); "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zech 4:6); "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it" (Ps 81:10); "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mk 11:24); "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever" (Heb 13.8); and many more, among them, Ps 37:4; 1 Peter 5:7; Phil. 4:6; Jn 16:23; Ps 34:10; Ps 9:10; Is 26:3-4; Ps 84:11; Eph 3:20.
Friends, this is not a financial appeal, but a request for prayer -- I am doing what George Müller did when he solicited the prayers of his praying partners. FRC is facing a major budgetary crisis as we approach the end of 2017. Will you pray with us and believe God to meet this gargantuan need; that He would move men and women across America to give liberally? We need a miracle today, just like those George Müller prayed for in 19th century England! May we learn from his faith and may God be glorified!
Masterpiece Cakeshop -- Next Tuesday, December 5th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear one of the most important cases in Supreme Court history, perhaps the most important case pertaining to religious liberty in our lifetime. Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission will decide whether American Christians and others who believe marriage is a divinely ordered union between a man and a woman, can be forced to use their creative talents and energies to support a same-sex wedding ceremony.
It was not until April 2001 that the Netherlands became the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage. In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court became the first to rule that a state statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples was "presumed to be unconstitutional." Five years later, the people of Hawaii ratified an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. LGBT activists and moneyed donors made same-sex marriage their movement's chief objective across the land. Americans in most of the states responded with legislative efforts and citizen referenda to amend their constitutions to protect the institution of natural marriage between a man and a woman.
Christian thinkers, theologians, and pastors rushed to warn the American public of the societal consequences of redefining marriage in defiance of nature and the plain word of God. The social consequences to family, the church, education, business, and many other spheres of American life would be huge. But at the core, religious liberty, the foundation stone of all American liberties, was directly threatened. Without that liberty, believers would be hindered from speaking the truth about God's plan for human sexuality and marriage. Like abortion in the late 60's and 70's, this new battle raged and ultimately lawsuits made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In June of 2015, a slim 5-4 majority ruled that same-sex marriage was a protected right under the U.S. Constitution. Just as Roe overrode the many state laws that outlawed or limited the practice of abortion, the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges overrode state laws and presumed to override the voters of the 31 states that had passed constitutional amendments to preserve natural marriage.
Thus, the Supreme Court opened a Pandora's Box, just as Christians had warned. Advocates of the LGBT agenda are now using antidiscrimination laws to punish believers who refuse to bow to their ideology. The federal courts as well as states and local jurisdictions where liberal ideology prevails have been pushing hard against businesspeople in the wedding services industry.
Many on the Left have long insisted that LGBT rights outweigh the First Amendment rights of religious persons. They see LGBT rights as usurping and supplanting the religious liberty clause in the First Amendment. In case after case where wedding planners, florists, photographers, bakers, wedding chapel operators, and other business people who offer creative wedding services have graciously declined to employ their creative talents in support of a same-sex wedding (rather than violate their own Christian faith and conscience), they have lost. Such modern Daniels, Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos who have refused to bow have suffered their own lion's dens and fiery furnaces. For Christians, the institution of marriage is not only foundational to societal health and the nurturing of children, but is a God-given emblem in society, a picture of the covenant relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church.
Colorado baker Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was brought up on charges by the State of Colorado after he politely declined to design and produce a wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding ceremony of two men. They complained to a state agency. He offered to sell them any of his stock items, but declined to use his creativity to produce a custom cake. Other bakers were more than willing to accommodate the men. After the appeals court ordered Phillips either to begin producing same-sex wedding cakes or to cease from selling any wedding cakes, he ultimately lost 40 percent of his business and suffered death threats and other harassment. Jack's legal team at Alliance Defending Freedom is arguing that he not only had his religious liberties violated but also his freedom of expression -- that artists should not be forced to express what governments dictate. If the Supreme Court rules against Jack, the implications for every business and businessman, but especially Christians, are huge -- it could lead to the government dictating what businesses must sell and artists must create. The application of the idea that sexual rights trump religious liberty is a cruel irony in a nation that was founded on the principal of religious liberty. Take time to visit links to understand this critical issue. (Read Perkins: Most Americans Believe in Freedom of Bakers; Forced to Express what Govt dictates; Weber: Force Unnecessary; ADF Brief to Supreme Court; Videos: Road to The U.S. Supreme Court;Justice for Jack Phillips)
- May God preserve and protect the freedom of Christians and other Americans whose consciences say, "God made marriage between a man and a woman." May He powerfully anoint the briefs and arguments presented to the Court on behalf of Jack Phillips. May He specifically intervene to guide each member of the Supreme Court to uphold religious freedom for every American and to stop the widespread recrimination of LGBT activists against Christians. (Lev 19:15; Dt 25:1; Is 54:17; Dan 3: all; Acts 5:29; Gal 5:1; Eph 6:10-20; 1 Tim 1:5; Titus 1:15; Heb 10:22)
Finally, please continue to prayer for 1) the House and Senate tax plans & reconciliation; 2) the Alabama Senate race; 3) Air Force Colonel Leland Bohannon suspended from duty for refusing to formally "appreciate" same-sex marriage; 4) DOJ giving citizens a say in government regulations. As always, thank you for praying!