Ever since we started the renovations at our place in the country, it has always been a treat to go sit on the back porch and soak in the beauty of the Texas countryside. I can sit out there in the morning and listen to the birds awakening with the dawn and then enjoy the croaking of what must be ten thousand frogs and crickets in the evening. It is peaceful, quiet, and still – the way I long for my heart to be in the midst of the chaos of life. And it is in those quiet moments – when I am "still and know that He is God" – that God speaks to me and calms the storm within. That is what I want to share with you in these posts. I want to share my view from the back porch. Some of my posts will reflect a few of the things I have learned in my journey through life. Some will simply be statements of what I see in our culture and how we as Christians should respond. I teach a Bible study class each week to an extremely eclectic group of adults and some of the posts and videos I share will be taken from those lessons. I have no delusions of profundity but rather I hope to cause you to think, to laugh, to ponder anew your life as Christ would have you live it. Furthermore, I hope this will be a conversation and not just a monologue. I would love to hear your thoughts, hopes, fears and anything else you would feel comfortable sharing with me. It's wonderful to relax here on the back porch enjoying the view, so pour yourself some coffee (or the beverage of your choosing) and let's talk.
In this, the final lesson in this series, we look at the foundation of what it means to truly live Godly lives in an ungodly world. We look at what it means to subject yourself to the authorities that control the affairs of this world – what it means to live holy (separated) lives. We see what it means to live in a way which is obviously different from the world around us.
It’s counter-culture. It’s counter-intuitive. It’s abnormal in an abnormal world – a world in which up is down, wrong is right, and what seems logical defies all logic. In short, we as followers of Christ, must follow his example of how to live in this world which He created but which has wandered far from the design plan of the Creator.
No matter what happens in the world around us, we must not let the world shape us into its mold, but we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds – transformed by thinking with the mind of Christ. How do we live Godly lives in an ungodly world? We do it by living Godly lives no matter what happens in the ungodly world around us.
This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, April 16, 2023. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions entitled Living the Agape Life – a Bible study curriculum developed by Bob Young with input from the members of the Agape Life Class. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: email@example.com .
Handouts are also available at: fromthebackporch.org .
Tomorrow. the first Thursday of May, is the National Day of Prayer.
In 1952, Congress passed a bill stating that every president would proclaim a Day of National Prayer on a date of his/her choosing. The first Thursday of May was set as the National Day of Prayer in 1988, but days of fasting, humiliation, and prayer have been practiced since before our nation’s founding. John Adams, on March 23, 1798, issued the following proclamation.
“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed. . .
I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”
It’s almost mind-boggling that Jesus prayed. Jesus knew the Father more intimately than any other man who walked on this earth, because He and the Father are One. And still He prayed. If was so important for Jesus to pray it is even more so for us. We will be looking at the teachings of Jesus concerning prayer from Luke 11 & 18. At the beginning of Luke 11, one of the disciples came to Jesus with a profound request – teach us to pray. That should be our request as well. And so we say, “Jesus, Teach Us to Pray.” This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 5, 2021. Handouts with slide content can be requested at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. Perhaps we should take a page from our founding fathers and humbly seek God’s face in the face of injustice.
After the Boston Tea Party, King George punished the city by instituting the Boston Port Act, March 7, 1774, effectively closing the harbor to all commerce.
Upon hearing of the Boston Port Act, Thomas Jefferson drafted a Day of Fasting, Humiliation & Prayer resolution, to be observed the same day the blockade was to commence. It was introduced in the Virginia House of Burgesses by Robert Carter Nicholas, May 24, 1774 and was supported by Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and George Mason. It passed unanimously. It was to be “a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights.”
The King’s appointed Royal Governor, Lord Dunmore, was so angered by this Day of Fasting, Humiliation & Prayer resolution that two days later he dissolved Virginia’s House of Burgesses. Virginia’s colonial leaders went down the street and gathered in Raleigh Tavern, where they decided to form the Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia a little over three months later. About a year later they reconvened as the Second Continental Congress and one year later voted for Independence.