Oh heavenly Father, most gracious God, Father God we come before you once again boldly before the throne of Grace, but with a humbled heart first just to say thank you Lord. Father God I pray that all hearts and minds are clear to hear from what thus saith the Lord. That the word of God may come into good ground. Lord I pray for those who may be going through trials, to put all their trust in you. I pray for those who desire sound doctrine that you lead them to those who truly have a relationship with you Lord. I pray for those who are in a prison in their mind Lord, for you said in your word, that you came to set the captive free! I pray for the man of God who is bringing these on time messages, that he continue to stand on your word, neither moving to the left or to the right, but to stay steadfast in your presence. Let this word penetrate the very core of their hearts, and that it seize the mind and they begin to speak life into their situation. In Jesus name we pray. Amen
Prayer by: Pastor Chris Likely
I do not like funerals. I mean who would? A funeral indicates that someone who was loved or liked has died. They call it home going services. Forgive me, but at times I chuckle at the notion. At one funeral I was a part of, a young man in the community was shot to death. As I am looking in the pews, I see young men with shades on, and bling all over. They had them in their ears, mouth, on their necks, wrists, and of course fingers. As I am gazing and saying to myself, this man must have been an upright citizen (I said forgive me), I am able to over here a young lady saying that one of the baby mothers is in the back. I then glanced to the front row and seen a woman who I believe to be his wife or girlfriend, although saddened, but more concerned about that woman in the back. As the service began, and we were at the time of reflections, people were coming up sharing their recollection of him. On how he was a good man, and how he loved life, and so forth and so forth. It was very difficult to sit still, but nonetheless I endured. It was now time for my former pastor to bring forth the message. As he made it to the pulpit, his eyes met mine and I could see the discomfort. I was pleased with his message.
There was another where the man who had passed had throat cancer. He was up there in age, so it may be considered as expected. He was known as a two-faced person. He held an office in the church, and on many occasions that I have witnessed, he would speak praise to someone in their face, and cut them when their back was turned. In both cases, family and friends would express their disappointment on how they died so soon. How they were good people and they did not deserve this. Was it bound to happen?
I thank God for being saved, and I pray earnestly for those who have yet to get it right. However family, we inhabit a very evil and wicked world. If we are not careful, we can get caught up in the world and we are now at the mercy of what the world will deliver. God’s word states “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1Jo 2:15-16) This is not a mystery family. The world and God are at odds. It is further proven in Romans 12:2 where it reads “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Conforming to the world is not the will of God.
So family, why is the world and God at odds?
Joh 12:31 "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
Joh 14:30 "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
1Jo 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. The ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who works in the people of disobedience, and the wicked one, speaks of one being; the devil. That is why the world and God are at odds.
Now to the point I want to make. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU READ FROM THIS POINT ON, VERY CAREFULLY!!! There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East. And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. Why did Job do this? For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? "Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. "But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job1:1-12)
Fast forward now. Job began to lose everything. All that he had, he lost. His servants were bringing bad news after bad news, then the news no parent wants to hear. The bible states “While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, "and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" (Job 1:18-19)
You can tell me how much you love God, but your heart will tell the real story. Some of you know full well where you stand, and it is only because of the strength of someone sending daily petitions to God on your behalf, why you probably still standing. When you engage in things you are not suppose to, consider maybe that someone is praying for you. When you are out there getting that dough, and assisting in making people slave to that drug you are selling, consider that someone is praying for you. When you are in the club every weekend and drinking and partying like there is no tomorrow, consider that someone is praying for you. Was it fair what happened to Job? It is irrelevant! What is certain is you do not know when the devil is going to ask permission to test that person who is praying for you, and if it happens, where does that leave you?!!!!!!!! Job’s kids ignored what their father did for them. They squandered that blessing of protection, and when the cover was removed, boom, game over! It was bound to happen!!!!!!!!
I am very slow to say at a funeral on how good a person was unless I can prove they lived according to scripture. I am very slow to say how a person has died so young (not referring to infants or children) where I am not sure how they lived their life. Many of you know me. Many of you knew how I was, and by the grace of God, I was spared because people were praying for me, and I now can pray for myself. If I’d continued to engage in my foolishness, it would have been inevitable, that I was going to have a short life. As the scripture states “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.” (Pr 3:1-2) We tend to live our life as though it is a privilege for God to spare us. We carry on with wicked deeds without a sense of accountability. What we are not seeing is the devil and his hosts salivating at the chance to turn our lives upside down, and God hands on us, while His ears are opened to the righteous prayer of a loved one. However if we continue with the foolishness, unchecked, it is bound to happen. Amen!