Psalm 34:4 – “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
When David wrote this Psalm, his life was in turmoil. David was on the run from King Saul who desired to kill him. David’s crime? He was chosen of God to be the next king of Israel, as God was going to dismiss the lineage of Saul from the throne. David, a man who had a heart for God, strove to behave himself wisely, but Saul’s jealousy could not be quenched. David found himself running for his life to the point he ran to the Philistines to find refuge a couple times with no avail! During this period of time though, God was making David into the man He wanted David to be so that he would handle the responsibilities & privileges of his future kingship in a righteous way.
We all experience fears from the trials we face. Maybe we are like David, trying to do right, but somebody is out to get us. Or maybe we are facing daunting circumstances or problematic scenarios that leave us awake at night. During David’s days of running, I believe David learned an important truth about God that he would have to use many times as a King. That truth was simply this; that God could be sought for relief! God doesn’t want us to live stressed out lives, instead he desires to aid us and deliver us from our fears. The Bible tells us 366 times, “Fear not.” If we’ll take our fears to the Lord, He can help us deal with them. Somebody once said, “God either calms the storm or calms His child.” Are you overrun with fears today? Then you are a prime candidate to find relief from the Lord. He wants each of us to bring our fears to him as David did and find relief in Him.
Matthew 21:21-22 – Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Sometimes we face daunting obstacles that appear impossible to move. These obstacles seem so overwhelmingly difficult that we sense our abilities and available resources are far from adequate to overcome them. Sadly, we often get discouraged, defeated and simply give up and just settle for “this is just the way its going to be.” We don’t recognize the great power our God possesses and the fact that we can petition God to use some of that power. We fail to understand that He can step into the most difficult of circumstances and make the impossible, possible.
In our text, Jesus states that if we have faith, we’ll in essence be able to “move mountains.” Mountains are symbolic in scripture of difficult and insurmountable odds against us. They are obstacles and challenges that cannot be moved unless God moves them. Only His supernatural strength can do so. Jesus here is trying to communicate our prayer’s potential in the fact it can “remove mountains” that we cannot do ourselves. When we pray, we see the arm of God move things for us we couldn’t do ourselves. So often, our unbelief limits God and we don’t diligently seek and wait for the Lord to fulfill His promise. But what would happen if we got serious with God about an obstacle in our lives and diligently prayed until the “mountain” was removed? Verse 22 says we shall have it. What obstacle are you facing? Can I encourage you today to making it the Lord’s business to remove your mountains? We don’t have to settle for anything less then that. God help us to believe and pray for those “mountains” to be removed!
Hebrews 4:15-16 – “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Have you ever had a burden or a problem that was hard to communicate to others? The people you tell just can’t seem to relate despite the fact they try to empathize with you. The Bible tells us here that we have a High Priest, Jesus Christ, who has felt those same infirmities we experience living in a sin cursed world. He never sinned, but certainly understands the pain associated with sin as He suffered immensely for the sins of mankind. Despite being God, Jesus came to this earth to experience human life first hand, having gone through every aspect of it. As a result, He feels our burdens and connects with our struggles.
Based on the Lord’s understanding, we are encouraged in verse 16 to come “boldly” before God’s throne for the grace and mercy we need. Most people are sheepish when it comes to asking for something. We don’t want to feel like we are imposing or we are asking too much of somebody. We fear how people will respond to our requests. However, God is much different. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” God encourages us to come anytime before His throne with boldness, in other words, with confidence that He’s hearing and will respond appropriately. We can bring anything before Him, regardless of how “silly” we may think the request is. We can pour out our hearts unashamedly before Him and never have to feel that we are asking too much of Him. God delights in hearing and answering the prayers of His children. Today, don’t be bashful before God’s throne, be respectfully bold, desiring that God hears and answers the requests that burden our hearts.
John 16:23-24 – “…Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
Over and over, the Lord expresses a great desire to hear our prayers so that He may answer them. He tells us that whatever it is, He’s willing to hear and respond according to His perfect will. God’s will always brings joy in the life of a Christian. Prayer is one of the great privileges we get the day we get saved and there is no limit to what we can pray about. God delights in blessing His people by showing His power in answering our prayers. Like a father who delights seeing the eyes of his child light up when a blessing is given, God enjoys seeing our hearts light up when we receive an answer to prayer. We receive great joy when God hears and answers a prayer that we have been praying. Sometimes, those answers seem surreal, but we have a God that can do anything.
We are often robbed of this joy though. The reason, we simply don’t ask! James 4:2, “…ye have not, because ye ask not.” God cares about you, your family, your every need, etc. Have we been bringing these things before Him in believing prayer? Or do we, but with a half-hearted unbelief that doesn’t really believe the prayers being prayed make a difference? The God of Heaven, the Creator of all, the Lord of all the universe, the Omnipotent Potentate has given us access to Him 24 hours/7 days a week and we don’t take advantage of it? I believe a Christian is missing some of the greatest joys they could experience by failing to bring their desires and burdens to God and seeing Him step in and respond. Too often we just don’t think God is interested or able, but that’s a satanic lie that robs God’s people of wonderful blessings God has for them. What would you like to see God do in your life? Heal your marriage? Help your children? Bring you a spouse? Lead you into God’s will? See a lost loved one saved? The list could go on and on, but ask, seek, knock and the answer will come that will be a joy to your heart!
Romans 5:10 – “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
The verse above makes a very powerful declaration of God’s love towards mankind. As sinners, we are enemies of God. Our sin nature puts us at odds with our Creator. We are on the opposing side of God. Yet, despite being God’s enemies, God sent Christ to die for His enemies that He might make us more then an ally, but a child of His, an adopted son or daughter. Its a great act of love for one to die for His friend, but to die for your enemy’s sake, that takes love to a whole new level. The sacrificial death of Christ for our sins proves beyond a shadow of a doubt God’s love for mankind, even though mankind in his natural state is an enemy. Its profound what God did for those who oppose Him!
Now consider this; if God did as much as He did for His enemies, how much more is He willing to do for us who are His adopted children? The day we get saved, we are adopted into God’s family. One interesting fact exists about an adopted child, they are always wanted and loved exceptionally! Sometimes birth children are not always wanted, but adopted ones are. I John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God….” Considering what God’s done for His enemies and our position as adopted children of God, it naturally leads us to believe that God desires to show even greater acts of love toward us. When we seek God in prayer, as He desires us to, its a chance for God to respond with these greater acts of love. God promises to hear and answer always with His best in mind. Considering how good God has been to His enemies, He’s got to be even better to His adopted children! As we approach the throne in prayer, keep this thought in mind, so as to inspire us to not be bashful before the Lord.
Psalm 85:6 – “Wilt thou not revive us again; that thy people may rejoice in thee?”
As you read the Psalms, you notice that many of them are in the form of prayers. This verse is a prayer point within the prayer found within Psalm 85. Its a prayer for revival. This revival was sought so that God’s people would rejoice in Him. Revival is often thought of as many people getting saved at one time or over a short period of time. However, that is only the byproduct. Revival actually is God’s people, the saved, getting a renewed heart for Him. Often there is repentance of sin which causes a refocus on the Lord, and a renewed passion for Him. Relationships as a result get restored, God’s love is expressed between believers and real power results in seeing lost souls saved. God’s people really do rejoice!
This next week, we are having a “Prayer Revival.” Its a time in which we want to ask the Lord to bring personal revival to our own lives through a renewed heart, a refocused heart, a recharged heart for Him. The greatest joy a Christian person can experience is when the heart is in tune with God and His power can flow through us. In this post, can I encourage each of us to pray and ask God sincerely to reveal to us the things that may be hindering revival in our hearts and ask for His grace to remove whatever it is so we can rejoice in Him? The Christian life is to be one of victory and sometimes, its just a matter of clearing up some things between us and God that is hindering it.
Ezekiel 22:30 – “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
The prophet Ezekiel ministered during a very difficult time in Israel’s history. Judah, the southern kingdom, had so corrupted themselves, that God judged the nation by an invasion of the Babylonians. The Babylonians conducted three major deportations of the Jews to Babylon, one in 606 BC, one in 597 BC and the last in 586 BC. The prophet Ezekiel was exiled during the second deportation. While in Babylon, God gave Ezekiel a message for the Jews who had been exiled to Babylon. This message was God’s reasoning for His judgment. In Ezekiel 22, God called out the corruption in the political sphere, the spiritual sphere and amongst the people in general. In the midst of this declaration, God states that “I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap.” What God was looking for was a person who would intercede on behalf of the people and give Him a reason not to destroy the land, but sadly, He could find none, thus His wrath was poured out for the gruesome sins committed in Judah.
God gives us a very unique privilege as His children, that privilege is the ability to speak to Him through prayer. As one studies scripture, prayer is a significant part of God’s orchestration in human affairs. In fact, its the prayers of God’s people that sometimes pushes off God’s judgement. Sometimes we don’t realize that God’s call to prayer may be the very thing giving our loved ones another opportunity to respond to the Gospel. Its our prayers for each other that may prevent somebody from falling out of the Christian race. Its our prayers that may be preventing the break up of a family. Its our prayers that God even uses to open closed countries for the Gospel’s sake. Our prayers are not meant to be a ritual we perform every day, but a means in which God intervenes in the lives of people so that sin does not destroy them both now and forever. Do we see our prayers as that significant? We can’t always see all that goes on in the spiritual realm, but God tells us plainly in James 5:16, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” May we recognize today the need to stand in the gap for our loved ones, community, country, & people groups around the world. We may serve as that stop gate of God’s wrath and a bridge of His mercy through our prayers. Keep praying!
Luke 18:1 – “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to prayer, and not to faint”
This verse precedes a parable regarding a widow woman and an unjust judge. According to the parable, this widow had a issue that only this unjust judge could solve. For the longest time, this judge did not care to do anything, but the widow would not stop pleading for his help. It came to the point the judge gave in and finally helped her. God however, is not an unjust judge, He is a benevolent Father who desires to hear His people’s voices. Luke 18:7 says: “An shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” Verse 1 summarizes the meaning of the parable to tell us to remain instant in prayer and not faint or give up until the answer comes. God will fulfill His promises to answer.
I believe we sometimes really struggle with praying through for an answer. Sometimes we find ourselves weary of praying for the situations that burden our hearts. As a result, we stop really believing that God is going to answer. We may continue for a time to “pray,” but we are riddled with doubt and despair doing it. We pray generically and half-heartedly. I believe the Lord wants us to pursue Him with a fervent belief that He is going to intervene on our behalf. When we struggle believing Him, then it would be best to tell Him that struggle. I’m reminded of another story in the Gospels of a man with a son possessed with a devil. All hope was about lost to see this son helped, but Jesus showed up and promised the man that anything was possible if he believed. The man responded, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Tell God you are struggling to believe Him for this answer, tell Him how you feel inside about what you are praying for, just don’t faint. When the prayer requests touch the innermost part of our being, they resonate strongly with God. When our requests bring us humbly before His throne, He does not turn them away. Can I encourage you today, don’t stop praying for whatever it is you are praying for, and when you feel like quitting, tell God how you are feeling inside. God will respond, He desires to respond, we just need not faint.
Judges 6:13 “…and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of…”
Judges 6 records a dismal time in Israel’s history. They were under severe oppression by the Midianites because of their sinful choices. Life was hard and the people of Israel could not imagine a time that existed earlier in their history in which they had triumphantly taken the promised land. However, when the consequences of sin take their course, they often serve as a tremendous tool to humble our souls and cause us to seek the Lord again, which happened. It was then that God went out and found Gideon to be the man He would work through to rescue the Jews from the oppression they experienced. When the Angel of the Lord visited Gideon, one of the first things out of his mouth was, “where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of…” Evidently, Gideon had been rehearsing in his mind how God rescued the Jews from Egypt, dried up the waters of the Jordan river, took out the impregnable city of Jericho, destroyed large armies that attacked Israel, etc. Where was that God that worked these great miracles? IN this case, God told Gideon that He was going to work a great miracle through him, and did. IF you know the story, Gideon lead a band of 300 men against an enormous Midianite army and won.
Sometimes life overwhelms us and it appears that things are beyond hope. We have heard of the “great workings of God” in the past, but wonder why they don’t happen now or at least why don’t we personally experience them. May I say, we still serve the same God, who can do the same things. However, we must determine to seek Him so that He does. Based on Gideon’s statements in Judges 6:13, it appears that Gideon was praying, was seeking answers from the Lord, and the Lord responded. We often think the great workings of God are just in the past, no, they are for now too. Matthew Henry wrote a full commentary of the scriptures. He once said this, ““When God intends great mercy for his people, he first of all sets them praying.” Could it be that God desires again to work the miracles of old, but is allowing the troubles of the times to send us to our knees first? May we not “cast away our confidence which hath great recompense of reward,” but may we in our brokenness, seek the Lord, pouring out our cares to Him and allowing Him to work the miracles He desires to work out in our lives!
Please take some time to pray today.
Psalm 62:8 – “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
Many times when we get discouraged and feelings of defeat enter our mind, I believe we sometimes feel that we cannot get back up. Our emotions seem to pin us down and hope for the future looks bleak. So many times in my Christian life that experience has hit me, and I believe every Christian battles with it. One of Satan’s most common attacks against God’s people is discouragement. Satan is quick to point out things that seem to be working against us, or at least appear that way. He’ll accuse us of our shortcomings and as a result, we sometimes find ourselves believing him to the point we disbelieve God! Its not that we want to feel this way, but we can’t seem to help it at times.
This verse has been a refuge verse for me over the years when I find myself faced with these types of spiritual attacks. The Bible says to first off, “trust in him at all times.” All times, means all times. Even when life seems upside down, even when nothing seems to be working out, even when pressing forward seems vain, we are still called to trust Him. But what’s even better is the verse goes on to tell us, “pour out your heart before him.” We can literally pour out our feelings to the Lord, we can be very honest with Him regarding our distress, God desires to hear it! Sometimes we will tell close friends our burdens, which is fine, but God is our closest friend who sticks closer then a brother! He promises, according to the end of the verse, to be a refuge, a place of safety, a place of security, a place of comfort. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When we humbly tell God the struggles of our hearts, His grace will begin to creep into our hearts and bear the load for us. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that are labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Let me encourage you today to find rest in the presence of God. Life is full of burdens, let downs, and discouragements at times, but we can always find rest in our God who will sustain us through them in order to strengthen us for great opportunities to glorify Him!