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!