319! 319! 319!

September 1, 2015

ABRAM AND HIS 318 MEN DELIVER LOT AND HIS FAMILY (Genesis 14; 319 warriors)

DAVID’S TABERNACLE OF PRAISE (1 Chronicles 25-26; 3 seers + 288 musicians + 28 gatekeepers=319 worshippers)

I. The Israelites execute the Lord’ vengeance on Midian–presumed two trumpets
Numbers 31:6
And Moses sent them to the war, 1,000 from each tribe, together with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, with the [sacred] vessels of the sanctuary and the trumpets to blow the alarm in his hand.

This passage doesn’t say how many trumpets Phinehas took to war, but an earlier passage in Numbers gives a clue:
Numbers 10:1,2,9 (AMP)
And the Lord said to Moses,
Make two trumpets of silver; of hammered or turned work you shall make them, that you may use them to call the congregation and for breaking camp. . . .
When you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then blow an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.

II. The fall of Jericho–seven trumpets
Joshua 6:4 (AMP)
And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns; and on the seventh day you shall march around the enclosure seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.

III. Ehud kills the King of Moab and the Lord delivers the Moabites into Israel’s hands–one trumpet
Judges 3:27 (AMP)
When he arrived, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down from the hill country, with him at their head.

IV. Gideon conquers the host of Midian–301 trumpets
Judges 7:16-18 (AMP)
And he divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all of them trumpets and empty pitchers, with torches inside the pitchers.
And he said to them, Look at me, then do likewise. When I come to the edge of their camp, do as I do.
When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, For the Lord and for Gideon!

V. Saul calls Israel to war against the Philistines–one trumpet
1 Samuel 13:3 (AMP)
Jonathan smote the Philistine garrison at Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear!

VI. Joab calls Judah to stop pursuing Israel–one trumpet
2 Samuel 2:28 (AMP)
So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still and pursued Israel no more, nor did they fight any more.

VII. Joab calls David’s servants to stop fighting Absalom’s servants after Absalom is killed–one trumpet
2 Samuel 18:16 (AMP)
Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the troops returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained and spared them.

VIII. Sheba calls Israel to rebel against David, and Joab calls off his pursuit after Sheba’s death–two trumpets
2 Samuel 20:1,14,15,22 (AMP)
There happened to be there a base and contemptible fellow named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjamite. He blew a trumpet and said, We have no portion in David and no inheritance in the son of Jesse! Every man to his tents, O Israel! . . .
Joab went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah, and all the Berites assembled and also went after [Sheba] ardently.
And they came and besieged Sheba in Abel of Beth-maacah, and they cast up a siege mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and all the men with Joab battered and undermined the wall to make it fall. . . .
And they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and cast it down to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his own home.

IX. Israel ambushes Judah
2 Chronicles 13:14-15 (AMP)–presumed two trumpets
When Judah looked, behold, the battle was before and behind; and they cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets.
Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as they shouted, God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.

The number of trumpets is not recorded. Based on Numbers 10, I am surmising two.

X. Nehemiah prepares to fight the Arabians, Ammonites, and Ashdodites while the wall is being rebuilt–one trumpet, never sounded
Nehemiah 4:18,20 (AMP)
And every builder had his sword girded by his side, and so worked. And he who sounded the trumpet was at my side. . . In whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.

The sum of the record of trumpets in war is 319.

O Lord, may there continuously be 319 intercessors warring for the establishment of Your kingdom in the United States as it is in heaven! Amen.

Excellent article on Prayer & Fasting (Justin Taylor / John Piper)

July 15, 2015

I tweeted about this earlier today, but think this is a really important article, deserving of a blog post.   In the wake of the brutally horrifying video exposé of Planned Parenthood’s butchery of babies to sell their body parts, Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition has posted a great call to prayer & fasting, reminding us of the role of spiritual warfare in the face of such evil.  There are battles in our culture that we cannot win by logical argument or legislative effort.  The battle against the evil of abortion may well be one of them.

His article largely draws upon writings from John Piper’s great (must read!) book A Hunger for God.


“Fasting,” Piper writes, “comes in alongside prayer with all its hunger for God and says,

We are not able in ourselves to win this battle.

We are not able to change hearts or minds.

We are not able to change worldviews and transform culture and save 1.6 million children.

We are not able to reform the judiciary or embolden the legislature or mobilize the slumbering population.

We are not able to heal the endless wounds of godless ideologies and their bloody deeds.

But, O God, you are able!

And we turn from reliance on ourselves to you.

And we cry out to you and plead that for the sake of your name, and for the sake of your glory, and for the advancement of your saving purpose in the world, and for the demonstration of your wisdom and your power and your authority over all things, and for the sway of your Truth and the relief of the poor and the helpless, act, O God.  […]

I appeal to you to seek the Lord with me concerning the place of fasting and prayer in breaking through the darkened mind that engulfs the modern world, in regard to abortion and a hundred other ills.

This is not a call for a collective tantrum that screams at the bad people, “Give me back my country.”

It is a call to aliens and exiles in the earth, whose citizenship is in heaven and who await the appearance of their King, to “do business” until he comes (Luke 19:13).

And the great business of the Christian is to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31), and to pray that God’s name be hallowed and his kingdom come and his will be done in the earth (Matthew 6:9-10). And to yearn and work and pray and fast not only for the final revelation of the Son of Man, but in the meantime, for the demonstration of his Spirit and power in the reaching of every people, and the rescuing of the perishing, and the purifying of the church, and the putting right of as many wrongs as God will grant.

I join Piper in commending this practice to you. What looks foolish to the world (forgoing food to pray for the protection of the unborn) may look utterly foolish to the world, but it will be pleasing to the God who sees and rewards in secret.

Please read it all, and please pray in the face of the present darkness in our culture and world.

Quotable: Liturgy conforms our bodies to truth

April 10, 2015

From a FANTASTIC article “Omnivorous Liturgy” by Peter Leithart at First Things – must reading for understanding the role of liturgy in forming us as Christ-followers:

We stand, we kneel, we sit, we stand, we kneel. The postures of liturgy write “upon the bodies of those who perform it frequently a habit of acting as an unworthy recipient of a prevenient gift” (Paul Griffiths, Decreation, 232).

By developing the habits that the liturgy impresses on us, we become “agents whose bodies and words are conformed to the truth that [we] are simultaneously capable of receiving the divine gift, and utterly unworthy to receive it.” This isn’t the result of “trying or learning to feel unworthy-and-worthy” nor do “worshipers knowingly perform liturgically before a mirror lined with your own eyes.” That would be an accommodation to the modern obsession with the inner theater, the concept that the inner theater makes our actions sincere.

Rather, we simply say what the liturgy teaches us to say. We do what the liturgy leads us to do. And by doing and saying over and over again, we develop habits. We become “the kind of person who does and says these things” (233).

YES!!! This is SUCH a powerful image, and so helpful to me!

Malcolm Guite: Prayer Walk – excellent poem and reflection on prayer

March 5, 2015

Malcolm Guite’s blog is one of my new discoveries thanks to Twitter, and I’m very much enjoying his Lent entries. I really appreciated his “Prayer Walk” entry yesterday, and encourage readers to go enjoy it in full.  I won’t post his poem here, but rather a portion of his reflection on how prayer walking has strengthened his prayer life.

I have noticed how often interesting footpaths and bridleways start just beyond the brambles at the end of tarmacked roads marked ‘dead end’. And it seemed, for me at least, that is very often where prayer starts too. I am sure that prayer should be a first resort, but for me it is sometimes the last resort when I’ve tried everything else! I’ve also noticed that the places in life where I get stuck and come up as it were against a ‘dead end’ sign, are inevitably the important places, the places where there is real stuff to deal with and that is precisely why I get stuck or find it difficult to move forward. Too often one simply shies away from these personal dead-ends and goes for the first diversion (usually Facebook!) to try something easier. But when I’m walking, the opposite is true. It gives me pleasure to walk down the apparent dead-end and find the hidden path where the cars can’t go, strike out across the fields and leave the traffic behind, so I have tried to apply this to my prayer life.

The full entry is here.

It’s interesting that he mentions George Herbert’s poem “Prayer” as his inspiration for the poem he posted.  I too have been reading and reflecting on Herbert’s poem, especially since I’ve been reading Tim Keller’s excellent book on prayer.  I’m hopting I’ll find time in the next day or two to post Herbert’s poem and some of Keller’s reflections and insights about it.

Lent Quotes. Martin Luther – Unworthy to pray?

February 23, 2015

Some say, “I would feel better about God hearing my prayer if I were more worthy and lived a better life.” I simply answer: If you don’t want to pray before you feel that you are worthy or qualified, then you will never pray again. Prayer must not be based on or depend on your personal worthiness or the quality of the prayer itself; rather, it must be based on the unchanging truth of God’s promise. If the prayer is based on itself or on anything else besides God’s promise, then it’s a false prayer that deceives you—even if your heart is breaking with intense devotion and you are weeping drops of blood.

We pray because we are unworthy to pray. Our prayers are heard precisely because we believe that we are unworthy. We become worthy to pray when we risk everything on God’s faithfulness alone.

So go ahead and feel unworthy. But know in your heart that it’s a thousand times more important to honor God’s truthfulness. Yes, everything depends on this alone. Don’t turn his faithful promise into a lie by your doubts. For your worthiness doesn’t help you, and neither does your unworthiness hinder you. A lack of faith is what condemns you, but confidence in God is what makes you worthy.

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Luke 18:13

Martin Luther; James C. Galvin, Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional

Picking up loose ends–a reflection on prayer for the Church of England

February 10, 2015

Remember when God didn’t let Moses enter the Promised Land because he struck the rock rather than spoke to it? (Numbers 20:2-20) The punishment seemed harsh, but I believe God was trying to teach Israel the power of the spoken word when instructed by God’s Holy Spirit. Joshua seems to have caught on, commanding the sun to stop in its course in the military campaign against the five Amorite kings. The speed of that military campaign was stunning. (Joshua 9-10)

Regarding the heroes and heroines of the faith, scripture says

Hebrews 11:39-40 (AMP)
And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,
Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].

God had us in mind for the completion of His promises to the heroes and heroines of the faith. In His eyes, we are connected to the generations.

In Revelation, John described golden bowls filled with incense, which are prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8, Psalm 141:2) Even though the saints have died, God can still use their prayers! The prayers have vitality. God says that when He sends out His word, it shall not return to Him empty, but accomplish what He purposed. (Isaiah 55:11) One wonders what the implications are for prayers guided by the Holy Spirit and birthed in scripture.

When we pray the prayer of St. Chrysostom, we cannot claim Chrysostom as a prayer partner because he is dead. What happens to prayers that have been prayed by many saints through the centuries? Is there a synergistic effect created by generations coming into agreement? Based on Hebrews 11:39-40, yes. When we join our voices to their prayers, we are helping to bring their prayers to completion, to perfection.

During the religious revival under King Hezekiah, the praise team was composed of the descendants of Samuel. The revival took place hundreds of years after Samuel died, not in Samuel’s life. The generations came into agreement, and a revival was born. Our God is a God of generations, of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.

The prayers through the ages are like beautiful threads of gold and azure and scarlet waiting to be woven into the tapestry of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The Church of England has a full repository of prayers for the church. In this season when the church is sore pressed, join your voices with the prayers of days gone by.

From St. Anselm, theologian and Archbishop of Canterbury:

“Hope of my heart,
strength of my soul,
help of my weakness,
by your powerful kindness complete
what in my powerless weakness I attempt.”

May it be so for Your servants in the General Synod and throughout the Church of England, dear Lord. Amen.

Some thoughts in this reflection came from “The Synergy of the Ages” by Dutch Sheets.

“Prayer in the Facebook Age”

November 19, 2014

I strongly urge all our readers to read and reflect on this article.  I know that as much as I enjoy seasons of blogging at L&B, and have been finding Twitter helpful for identifying new resources and important prayer requests, they DO make it hard to really enjoy solitude with the Lord and have a quiet heart to listen to Him through His Word.

H/T to Pat Dague who posted this at Transfigurations.

These sections of the article rang true for me:

First Things: Prayer in the Facebook Age

Too often the world draws you away from him, and so you must slough off your circumstances and address him by yourself, oriented toward nothing else, no outside distractions or commitments. The first commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Loving your neighbor comes second.

We are in danger of losing these replenishing, corrective moments of solitary faith. Silence and seclusion are harder to find, and fewer people seek them out.  […]

People awash in ­social media can’t get past the paradox that the best salve for loneliness is ­properly applied alone. They look for answers in added connections, and more-­emotional ones, but God isn’t a closer contact and better friend. He transcends the social, and you must seek him beyond the medium of “share” and “like.” In solitary prayer, the secular pleasures dissipate and the successes of social media melt into nothingness. You drop your social self. […]

[Heavy social media users tend to] spend fewer minutes alone with God, and, more damaging, they acquire a sensibility less inclined to seek him out.

Read the whole article!



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