Monday, November 15, 2021

Monday, November 15, 2021
The apostle Paul writing about the security Christ-followers have in the Savior.

Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NASB)
Any number of situations can make you feel very alone and abandoned. At times like that it’s important to be intentional about choosing to believe what God said in His Word about you and His love. No disappointment, no failed relationship or job can separate you from God’s love.
Human friends come and go. Some are there when things are going well but are nowhere to be found when the chips are down. Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Friday, November 12, 2021
The apostle Matthew records Jesus words of prayer from the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 7:7-8 [Jesus said] Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Ever hear of a person living abject poverty who died leaving behind millions of dollars they hoarded . . . but never used! Christ-followers scrape along with their sins forgiven – and yet experience no power for daily living because they never pray for it. Grasp the reality that everything needed for living a godly life has been provided to the Christ-follower — but we must take some of that spiritual capital and use it!

Let’s be more specific: the God of infinite power is bending over backwards in this portion of Scripture asking His followers to pray. When the Bible or our Lord repeats something it’s for emphasis! He says: “Ask”, “Seek”, “Knock” Three times God invites us to talk to Him. God wants . . . no, commands us to pray! No, every prayer is not delivered on your door exactly as you requested it! God already knows what some of us have learned — that not every prayer request is best for us. God is not a divine vending machine: but if you’re willing to trust Him when He says “No” or “Not now” then you will find He is far more willing to say “Yes” than you could imagine!

The image in the verses that follow is that of God as “our heavenly Father”! Does a loving earthly father give you everything you ask for? Of course not. But do they long to answer your requests? I believe the key is to surrender your desires to God . . . trust Him . . . want what He wants . . . and the scope of your prayers will be more aligned with what God wants to give you and your prayer life will take off!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Thursday, November 11, 2021
The apostle Matthew record’s Peter’s audacious prayer!

Matthew 14:26-28 When the disciples saw [Jesus] walking on the sea, they were terrified . . . Peter said to Him, “Lord. If it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (NASB)

Have you ever found yourself squarely in God’s will . . . doing what He wants you to do – and the bottom drops out of everything! Christ-followers in the 21st century
want a God who will keep them healthy, help them retire comfortably, and enable their kids to turn out alright! God is committed to one thing when it comes to His followers . . . making them like Himself!

In this passage, Jesus sent His disciples ahead of Him across the Sea of Galilee. When they obeyed, they found themselves in a terrible storm: a journey that should have taken an hour took 8 hours!! In Mark’s gospel it reveals, meanwhile, Jesus was on a mountain nearby praying and watching their toil. Finally, between 3 and 6 am He came to the disciples walking on the water! They were terrified and Peter, who often spoke first and thought later, is at his best and asks that he might come to Jesus walking on the water!

No one else in the boat exercised such great faith . . . and make no mistake Jesus loves it when we pray big! Having faith to walk on the storm-tossed sea, Peter, went wrong when he got his eyes off Jesus, and onto the winds! Perhaps Jesus knew all along Peter would sink? But I believe the disciple was a different man that the one who stepped out into the tempest! He had walked on water – unforgettable – but believe me if there was ever a next time, he would remember to keep his eyes on Jesus, who reigned supreme over the wind and the waves!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
The author of Chronicles records one man’s bold prayer.

I Chronicles 4:10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” (NASB)

Prayer is the God-ordained means by which the resources of Heaven may be accessed to supply the needs and difficulties of life. Although Christ-followers are commanded to pray; it is a resource often left untouched. However, if prayers are lifted God always answers prayer: the answer may be Yes, No or Not now.

Jabez is a man whose names means “pain”. There are many reading these words that can identify . . . your life is marked by pain. What can be done? Have you spread your circumstance before the Lord and cried out to Him? I believe the pain of Jabez was the motivation God used to develop his prayer life.

First, Jabez leverages the Abrahamic covenant, by praying to the “God of Israel”. God’s promises are a great place to begin in prayer because whatever God promises – He fulfills. Next, Jabez prays that God would bless him . . . indeed! I take this to mean over and above what he needed that he might bless his family and needy friends. As Chronicles is the genealogy of Israel note there is a mention of a mother but no father. At the least it suggests a single parent family and Jabez wants sufficient blessing to stand in the gap and meet not just his need but those of others.

“Enlarge my borders”, commentators suggest that Jabez’s family may have somehow lost their families inheritance in the Promised Land. Jabez wants to reacquire what has been lost! Next, Jabez prays God’s hand would be with him
— something that was true of Joseph. Even in prison, falsely accused . . . God’s hand was with Joseph. So Jabez suggests that in-spite of the hardship that has befallen his family he desires God’s hand to remedy the situation: God’s way and in God’s time.

“Keep me from harm” This request reveals a play on words. “Lord, keep this family problem from being a ‘Jabez-kind-of-pain’ in my life. Jabez was drawing a line saying whatever sin or weakness might have beset my family – with God’s help it will not be part of mine”.

The result of this feisty man of prayer? “God granted him what he requested.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Tuesday, November 9, 2021
The apostle Luke records a Roman soldier’s request of Jesus for a miracle.

Luke 7:6-7 [The Roman centurion said to Jesus] “Do not trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. Say the word, and my servant will be healed.” (NASB)

When I was in high school during the 1960’s it was during the Jesus movement. You didn’t have to be in a church or dress a certain way to worship. People were having communion on beaches or attending church in sandals! However, God is great and mighty and while He is accessible no matter what your income or position in society . . . beware of becoming too “familiar” with God! Bible teacher Chip Ingram reminds us that Christ dwells in unapproachable light, He is not like the best version of the nicest man you know . . . He is completely other!
In Luke chapter 7, a Roman centurion, friendly to the Jews, had a beloved servant who was dying. This powerful Gentile sent Jewish friends to Jesus to request the Savior come and heal his servant. (The centurion felt unworthy to come to Jesus himself!) Jesus was willing and began the journey . . . when He was near the centurion’s home – the soldier again sent word saying, “I don’t deserve to have you come to my home — just speak a word — and my servant will be healed!” What an audacious prayer!!
What really set this man’s faith apart was revealed when a someone pointed out that the Roman not only asked for a miraculous healing . . . he asked Jesus to heal his servant long-distance! He was praying big!! Faith in a great God is evidenced by requests that are out of the ordinary. How often my prayers are those for the humanly possible. The things which require faith are the things that are not humanly possible. Jesus marveled and said, “I have not seen such great faith, even in Israel”. In Matthew it says, “And his servant was healed in that same hour.”

Monday, November 8, 2021

Monday, November 8, 2021
Moses recorded his experience asking God a very big request.

Exodus 33:18 Then Moses said, “I pray you, show me Your glory!” (NASB)

Have you ever been hesitant to pray for a certain request? Maybe it seemed too big or unusual. On the other hand, you know the Bible teaches that – with God, nothing is impossible! Never be afraid to pray a BIG prayer request or a difficult prayer request . . . God can handle it. Leave the answer up to Him!

Remember when Moses gathered the Israelites around Mount Sinai, and he went up into the cloud of God’s glory and received the 10 commandments? Remember, also, upon returning to the people Moses found they had created an idol and begun worshipping it! (How is it people can respond so differently to the visible presence of God?) Moses had to intercede on behalf of Israel to prevent God from wiping out the nation. Having secured a merciful forgiveness from the Almighty — Moses has something to request for himself!

Moses asked to see God’s glory. After all, he had spent a lot of time speaking to God; he was desirous of knowing more. The Bible says, “no one can see God and live.” So, God showed Moses as much of His glory as any mortal man could bear! Read about it for yourself in Exodus chapter 33.