Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You Need A Place To Pray

You need a quiet, solitary place to pray.
Once or twice each week, I go to Church, and into the Prayer Room, to spend time alone with God. Sometimes, I stay there for an hour. At other times, I may stay for three or four hours. It may be during the day time, or it may be at night, even in the wee hours. When I go to the Prayer Room, it is because I want to conduct serious business with God. That is one of my most valuable and intense prayer times.

In my fifty-nine years, I have spent literally thousands of sacred hours alone in Church houses - praying, reading my Bible, and seeking the will of God. And I will confide to you that the Prayer Room is the most luxurious amenity in my life. There is no place on earth more comforting or more sacred than the place where I get alone with God in prayer. I would rather have a Prayer Room than a luxury car, an RV, a yacht, or anything else I can think of.

Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah when He said,

"Mine house shall be a house of prayer for all people."

A Church is not supposed to be merely an assembly hall
where lectures are given. One large Church where I served on staff as a young man had as its motto, "Where People Meet God."
If people do not meet God at Church, then what is Church for?

Simeon and Anna were in the Temple
the day that Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to be dedicated. But that was no coincidence. Simeon and Anna were regulars in the Temple. Anna "was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day," Luke 2:37.

If you make a habit of seeking God regularly, it is certain that the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His Temple.

King David also had a deep love for the house of God. He said, "A day in thy courts is better than a thousand [elsewhere]." Psalms 84:10. In the great crises of his life, David ran to the house of God for refuge.

In the beginning, Churches were not Rock-and-Roll Concert venues. They were not Drama Theaters. They were not basketball courts. They were not community centers, soup kitchens, or recreation centers.

The house of God was, and should be, a holy, sacred, sanctified, consecrated house where people can always go to pray. Today's Churches are often multi-purpose, multi-cultural activity centers. In many cases, they are used more as gymnasiums for youth to hang out, or cafeterias for seniors to have pot-luck dinners, or sound stages for musicians to jam in, than for sacred purposes.

The sad reality is that many Churches are so much like Grand Central Station with activities, that it would be almost impossible to find a quiet, undisturbed place to pray. Why do we feel that it is so important to conduct our social activities in the Church building, yet we seldom think to use it for the far-more-important, divinely-ordained purpose for the house of God?

From the beginning, the Church was NOT such a recreational center.
People came to the house of God to spend holy, consecrated time in the presence of God.
Today, if you go to a typical Church house to pray, you may find that there is no privacy or no sanctity whatsoever. The Church house has been hijacked for secular purposes. We have forgotten that the most important furnishings in any Church are the ALTAR and the PULPIT.

That kind of invasion of the holy place was the cause of Jesus' outrage in John 2:14-16:

"And when he had made a scourge of small cords,
he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep,
and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money,
and overthrew the tables; And said unto them
that sold doves, Take these things hence;
make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."

More details of that scenario are recorded in Matthew 21:12-14:

"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them
that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables
of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, It is written,
My house shall be called the house of prayer
but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple;
and he healed them."

The Church must be first and foremostly a house of prayer.

Prayer has always been the precedent and prelude to every spiritual revival throughout the ages. When the Holy Ghost first began to fall in America, in 1901, it began at a small Bible School in Topeka, Kansas, organized by Charles Parham. For days, his students met together in Chapel for intercessory prayer, until on New Year's Eve, 1901, the Spirit came upon them, and several began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.

When the epic revival began in Los Angeles, at the Azusa Street Mission, pastored by William Seymour - that sweeping revival was preceded by weeks and months of intense prayer meetings by the people of that community. That revival in 1906 radically affected not only Los Angeles, but has also, since that time, spread literally to every nation on earth.

Revival does not come by basketball tournaments, or outdoor concerts, or free hot dogs. Revival comes by prayer. And that is true of both personal revival and Church-wide revival.

When we restore the priority of prayer in our lives, miracles will begin happening. Your life has never been so rich as when you regularly and habitually enter into the house of God to pray.

"They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint," Isaiah 40:31.

The next time you sense your need to get alone with God, go to the house of God, and pray.

You may find that it is your most cherished time of all. You may find that you want to make a habit of it.

For thousands of pages of FREE Bible Studies on every subject, including PROPHECIES about the last days, visit kenraggio.com now!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Church Has No Common Textbook Anymore!

(The Irrational Abandonment Of The KJV Bible)

The King James Version has been supplanted, to the tragic detriment of the Kingdom of God. Christianity no longer has a universally-acclaimed textbook! This is a SERIOUS problem!

By Ken Raggio

Rick Warren did as much as anybody to distract us from the King James Version of the Bible, when he consistently used a variety of versions in his "Purpose Driven" books.

Now, fewer and fewer people can actually quote scriptures. I am not blaming Warren alone, but the irrational abandonment of the King James Bible has cost Christianity more than can be measured.

I know - people say that the King James Version is too hard to understand.

Well, that is arguable. I first read the entire New Testament when I was about 10 years old. It never occurred to me that it was too difficult to read. I seemed to understand it very well. I could easily follow the stories of Jesus in the Gospels. I was excited to read the stories in the Acts of the Apostles. I read the Epistles, and even the Book of Revelation. At eleven years old, there were a lot of things that I did not understand, but it wasn't because of its readability. It was because those things required an adult mind to fully appreciate.

All of my life, I listened to preachers preach from the King James Version of the Bible. The KJV never discouraged me from trying to understand every story I heard or read.

Then, at about the age of 15, as a member of a Bible Quiz team, I memorized the majority of the Epistles of 1 and 2 Corinthians. Again, I was able to understand amazingly well all the things that were being taught in those pages.
I preached my first sermon at the age of 14, using a KJV Thompson Chain Reference Bible as my textbook. By the time I graduated from High School I had already preached about 100 sermons. Every sermon I prepared in those days was dug out almost solely from the King James Version of the Bible. I did not preach other people's sermons.

I prepared my own sermons directly from the Bible. I searched the entire Bible on various Bible topics. I learned how to find scores of verses on just about any subject that I wanted to develop. I was never hindered by "Thee" or "Thou" or the "Shalt" and "Shalt not." It doesn't take rocket science to know that Thee or Thou means you, or Shalt means shall.

By the time I was 21 years old, I could quote hundreds of scripture verses from all over the Bible. I could tell scores of detailed Bible stories and understand the underlying messages. The KJV never handicapped me. In those days, it was used almost universally.

But nowadays, you can scarcely find a King James Bible being used.

People who read the other versions almost never memorize verses. Even if they do memorize verses, nobody recognizes them, because there are so many versions out there.

And tragically, many people are not using other versions, but actual PARAPHRASES. No paraphrase deserves the appellation, "Bible." (How would you like for your love-letters to your spouse to be paraphrased by two dozen total strangers? You would certainly find many of their word-substitutes unacceptable.)
When it comes to scriptural ACCURACY - "THE MESSAGE" is almost entirely worthless. I have spent over fifty years studying the Bible from cover to cover, and I can tell you that if your primary Bible is THE MESSAGE - you won't have a clue what the Bible says. You may like the way it speaks to you - but that cannot justify its pernicious, inaccurate representation of TRUTH. In my book, an inaccurate TRUTH is a lie.

In my strong opinion, the biggest single reason why Christianity should cleave to the KJV is for the purpose of maintaining a universal standard in the English language. We have utterly shot ourselves in the foot. Almost nobody can quote scriptures any more. Almost nobody can recognize where a verse comes from. That is much more serious - even tragic - than anyone is admitting.

Every English-speaking person should be able to recognize the Word of God and quote it in a common version. Otherwise, the practice of scripture memorization will be almost entirely lost.

I do not intend to make this article a comparison of Bible versions, but it is not difficult at all for you to GOOGLE "what's wrong with other versions of the Bible" to discover how many critical Bible passages have been tampered with or completely eliminated from most of the alternate versions of the Bible. I have a HUGE problem with that. NIV, RV, Amplified, Duoay, and others - while having a limited usefulness - are NOT reliable versions of the Bible.

Great and primary doctrines of the Bible have been mishandled in the alternate versions. Several of the most essential doctrines have been almost completely eliminated in some versions, including the doctrine of the Blood of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, God's Plan of Redemption and others.

At the risk of sounding like a radical (anybody with firm convictions is now a radical), I declare that Christians everywhere need to own a quality King James Version of the Bible. The biggest single reason why you won't like it is an unfounded or irrational mental block.

I am warning you... if you do not learn the Word of God from the KJV, you are at grave risk for being deceived or misled by errant and inaccurate versions. READABILITY is NOT the most important issue. TRUTH is the issue.

Yes, I know that many people argue that we have a better understanding of the ancient Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages than the King James translators had. That is also arguable. Many of the modern translations have a definite agenda behind them. NOBODY needs a translation that is done by scholars working with an agenda. The Word of God must be PURE and untainted by men's opinions or profit motives.

The King James Version was the world-wide standard for centuries. That alone leads me to believe that Almighty God ordained it to be the primary English version of the Bible. Call me narrow-minded if you want to, but I am telling you anyway, that if we want the Church to be strong in this hostile generation, we need a COMMON TEXTBOOK.

No other English version of the Bible deserves to be the universal textbook than the King James Version.


MUST READ!  -  Here is another powerful article that explains
WHY you should ONLY use the KING JAMES VERSION.

For thousands of pages of FREE Bible Studies on every subject, including PROPHECIES about the last days, visit kenraggio.com now!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Pied Piper in the Church

In Hamelin, Germany, every Sunday during the summer, local villagers act out the folk tale of "The Pied Piper," which dates back to 1284.

Nobody knows with any certainty how the story began, but it is presumed that the old city suffered in those days from a rat infestation. As the story goes, a man dressed in red and yellow clothing presented himself to the townsmen, offering to rid the city of its rats. The men of the city gladly promised to pay him a large sum of money for his service.

The Pied Piper played an enchanting melody on his pipe, and immediately all the rats in town began to follow him. He led them out to the edge of town and into a river, where they all drowned.

When the Pied Piper came to the townsmen to collect, they felt that his task had been far too easy, and that they should not have to pay him the large sum they had promised.

In anger, the Pied Piper promised to punish them for reneging on their promise.

He went into the streets and began again to play his enchanting pipe. This time, the children of the town began to follow him. He led them far outside the town, and into a mysterious cave, where they were never seen again.

Because of the Pied Piper, the town's children were lost.

Of course, the fable is not true, but there are certain valuable morals in this story.

From that story, a famous idiom eventually came into being, namely,

"You'll have to pay the Piper someday."

There is a price to pay for enchantments, for quick fixes.

In the Church today, a similar story is unfolding.

As the Townsmen of Hamelin recruited the services of the Pied Piper, so now have the Preachers of the Gospel solicited the services of the Singers.

In Churches across America and around the world, an infestation of unbelief, atheism, agnosticism and cynicism plagued the Church. The Preachers no longer preached the pure word of God that could have rid the people of the scourge of unbelief. But instead, they called in the Singers and Musicians to fascinate and enchant their congregations.

The people were happy to be entertained by the Singers and the Musicians, so much so that they lost their desire to hear the Preacher. Instead of following the Preacher, the people began to follow the Singers and the Musicians.

The Singers demanded handsome fees for their services, and eventually discovered that they could earn more money OUTSIDE the Church. Many of them CROSSED-OVER to the world. They would sing for anybody who would pay them, in just about any kind of venue, and God, the Bible, and everything holy vanished from their lives. In their exodus, they lured the people of the Church away from the Preacher.

Now, multitudes who were once in the Church, following the Preacher, have been lured away from the Church, and their pseudo-religion is being led by the Singers and the Musicians. The Singers have no doctrine, so the Church is perishing.

Preacher, Pastor. God called you and anointed you to preach the Gospel. Your job is to preach the pure, unadulterated Word of God to the people. This is not a job for the Pied Piper.

The Pied Piper has no doctrine. He has not been called to do your job. The Pied Piper cannot and will not save the people. The Pied Piper will lure the people away from the Truth, away from the pure Gospel, and back into the world, where they will finally be lost.

For thousands of pages of FREE Bible Studies on every subject, including PROPHECIES about the last days, visit kenraggio.com now!