Tag Archives: Trials

Obeying to Perfection

Hebrews 5:7-9

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

The Garden must have been a gruesome ordeal for Jesus.  All His life, He had done what His Father had wanted Him to do.  He said so on numerous occasions.  His mission was to show us the father and He did so with compassion and grace.  For three years, he healed every sick, lame, blind, dumb and deaf person that came to Him.  Constantly “He healed them all” appears in the word.  He taught us great lessons that have and will endure the test of time.  He was loved and followed by thousands everywhere He went.  He got away to pray several times on His own, and this strengthened Him for ministry.

But now He was really alone.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, early in the morning (it is guessed around 1 am) He went there to pray, knowing the fate that lay ahead of Him.  He knew that Isaiah said he would be like a sheep taken to the slaughter and that He would be wounded and would take stripes.  He knew that they would mock Him, gamble for His garments and nail Him to a cross.  He knew this road awaited Him.  He desperately wanted His closes friends, Peter, James and John, to pray with Him during this troubling time.  But they could not stay awake.  They slept each time he woke them up.  He was alone.  Terribly alone in prayer.

It was a simple prayer.  “Not my will, but thine be done.”  But it was a big battle for Jesus.  All his life He had done the fathers will, never questioning.  But now, he really wanted this cup to pass from Him.  He really, in His flesh, did not want to go through the agony that lay ahead.  He knew he must, but he asked the father if there was any other way, to make it happen.  But there was no other way.  The father’s will would prevail.  He would do whatever He needed to do.  He would be obedient through the suffering.

I can’t help but think of another Garden experience so prominent in the Bible.  In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve are in the garden and they are faced with the same dilemma.  Should they obey God or listen to their flesh.  The enemy made giving in to the flesh real tempting to them.  But they knew what God had told them – they should not eat of that fruit.  It was the only thing they were told not to do.   They had to make a decision, and they made the opposite decision that Jesus made.   They decided to listen to the flesh instead of listening to God. Because of that decision sin entered the world.  Sin was passed on from Adam to all me through His seed.  It was a real bad decision.

But Jesus made the right decision.  “Not my will, but thine be done.”.  What a different world we would live in if Adam and Eve had made that decision.  Because of Jesus decision, he suffered unbelievable torture and pain, all for us.  But he was also perfected, and became salvation to all who will believe in Him.  He affected the lives of every person who every lived by making that one decision.  I’m so glad he chose obedience in the midst of the most difficult trial a man has every faced.  He saved us all!

What a different world we would live in if we would make that decision every time.  To do the will of the Father above our own will.  To obey no matter what the outcome might be.  Those of you who read my writing all the time know that I live by a verse and do my best to abide by that verse all the time, in good and bad. It is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your path.”  This verse has saved me from worry, sorry, storms, trials, troubles and all manner of things the enemy has put in my way.  It has also saved me during times when I have been the master of my own disasters.  I know that no matter what comes my way, no matter what trouble or storm, I can trust in Him.  I don’t try to understand why I made that dumb decision, or why this test has come to me, I just trust Him.  I acknowledge that he is working in my life even when I can’t see Him working.  I acknowledge He is there, somewhere, working on a better plan for me – His plan. I can praise Him in the midst of the storm because he will show me the way out of that storm.  In fact, I would not be surprised if this verse was in Jesus mind that night. James 1:2-4 tells us that we are made perfect by the troubles and temptations that come our way.  These verses have also become central to my philosophy.  Paul says that for the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross.  We must look at our troubles that way as well.  He works all things for our God – always.  Romans 8:26 tells us that we must know this.  When we know this, we will see our obedience to Him through our suffering will perfect us in the end.  And he will be exalted which is just as it should be.

Does the Lord Stand With Me?

2 Timothy 4:14-17

 

14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:

15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.

16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

There are a lot of people in this world who could care less if they hurt you or offend you.  They will gossip, backbite, slander and wish evil upon us because of the walk that we walk.  As Christians we should expect this.  We know that the world is against us and will do anything to bring us down.  Jesus told us we would have tribulation.  He told us we were like sheep among wolves.  Why would we expect anything different?  It is not personal! It is our enemy, going about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can destroy,  He will use any means to knock the glory of God right out of us and bring us down to his level.  This world is full of people who are unwitting messengers for the enemy.  They are only doing what they are told by him.  Let that dust shake off of your feet.

The unfortunate thing is that there are also Christians who do the same thing.  They act like the world as they demean and cut us down. They do the same type of backbiting, gossiping, slandering and thinking ill-will about other Christians.  This should not be so, and we are tempted to lash out at them, or discuss their evil deeds with others.  “Oh, look what so-and-so did to me.” “Did you hear what he/she said about you?”  It’s a sad state of affairs when the church acts like the world.  Paul had such a person in his life named Alexander.  And Paul leaves us a great example of how we should deal with such people – put them in God’s hands.  The word tells us that vengeance belongs to God, not us (Romans 12:19)   I pray you will allow God to deal with those who do such things, and will not stoop to their level.  Our words and actions should always be laced with grace

Paul knew about grace.  The grace that was afforded him on that road to Damascus was something he would never forget. He knew that God must have a big heart if He was willing to forgive all the horrible things he had done.  And he also realized that it was his responsibility to give that same kind of grace to those he came in contact with.  Treat others with t3eh same grace that God gave to you.  What a great mindset to have!  Paul says that even though all those people turned away from him, he desired that God would forgive the for ignoring the Gospel message he brought.  Isn’t it amazing that Paul speaks of all those who turned away from his words, yet still today we glean wisdom and understanding from those same words?  Paul’s legacy lived on way beyond his years.  In large part this happened because even though so many had turned away, the Lord was with him.

What a wonderful testimony that is to have.  The Lord is with me.  No matter what I go through, the Lord is with me. In the midst of my biggest battles, the Lord is with me.  In the crashing seas and the howling wind, the Lord is with me.  In the valley low or on the mountain high, the Lord is with me. In sickness or health, the Lord is with me.  In riches or poverty, the Lord is with me.  No matter what, where or when, the Lord is with me.  He is ny shepherd, and there is no need in my life He cannot fill when I trust in Him.  It’s easy to lose sight of that when the trials loom tall and the enemy is coming in on all sides to steal, kill and destroy.  But he is there, right by our side, helping us all the way.  He will guide me through when I trust in Him.  He will strengthen me that my life might shine as a witness to His love.

Those of you who know me well know that my favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your path.”  When we know God is with us, this is easy.  When we know God is with us, we can have complete trust that He is also taking care of us and will not allow anything into our lives that we cannot withstand.  I may not understand what is happening, or why it is happening, but that doesn’t matter.  I don’t need to understand.  My only task is to acknowledge that God will use this trial, or test, or sickness, or injury for His glory if I will just let Him.  Then, even in the midst of my struggles and storms, he will guide me through.  It’s not rocket science, my friend.  It’s very simple.  But I must know it!  I must know He is there, even if I can’t see Him or feel Him.  He is there. The Lord is with me.  Paul was in captivity in a Roman prison, awaiting his death, and He knew the Lord was with him even there.  Do you recognize that God is with you right now?  That He will strengthen you?  That He will bring glory to His name through this test if we will only yield and allow Him to do His will in our lives, and not turn to our own ways.

If you are in the midst of a difficult time in your life, know that the Lord is with you.  I am undergoing a huge financial struggle.  But I now God is with me and he will bring glory out of it.  Of this, I have no doubt.  I just need to trust her is there, which I do.  I need to listen to His direction, which I try my best to do.  I need to acknowledge Him even in this mess, which I do.  I know He will direct my steps and bring me safely through because I know he is with me.  Do you have this assurance today?  If not, just ask Him to speak to you and then quiet yourself.  It is in our stillness that we will know He is God (Psalm 46:10)

 

Fight the Good Fight

I Timothy 6:12

12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

I think this is one of the most important things we can do today given the deteriorating moral fabric of our society. Fight the good fight of faith. Be persistent and steadfast, always showing forth those things that let others see Christ. This is not a stroll in the park! It is a war against all the powers of hell that are stacked up against us and, even more so, against those who do not know Him. Our job is never done and should never be forgotten. Save the lost. Rescue the perishing. Set the captives free. If we do not do it, they will be eternally lost, never to find their way to heaven. If we do not fight this good fight, we may find ourselves approaching the wide gate, having given up on our own salvation. Don’t let that happen!

So how do we fight this fight? After all, wasn’t the battle won at Calvary? Yes, it was. He won the ultimate battle and we are free from sin when we acknowledge the price, He paid for us by asking His forgiveness and accepting Him as Lord of our lives. It is then we gain victory over sin and can walk in His grace and mercy. We do not need to fight the enemy to defeat all sin. Christ did that. However, Paul is very explicit when he says that we must work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12). He tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). He tells us we must put off the old man and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:22-24). He tells us we must walk in the spirit so we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Why do we need to do all these things if the victory is already ours?

The answer is pretty simple. We are still in our flesh and this flesh is the habitat of sin in the natural man. We have been raised in sin all our lives up to the point of our salvation, and we still walk in a sinful world where the enemy has his way. Old habits take time to get rid of and new ones even longer to work into our lifestyle. We still have to fight. The battle has been won and, in the end, Christ will stand as conqueror. We are caught on this earth and must battle all those things that come against us because the enemy still wants to defeat us and take us down to the pit with him. He can’t stand the fact that he was defeated on the cross so he will do everything in his power to take you and me down. Everything. He will use our minds against us so that we become boastful, prideful, grumbling, complaining, never satisfied and never happy. He will cause our bodies to lust after things just out of our reach and also those things that he had us trapped in before we were saved. He is evil and full of guile and if we are not engaged in the battle, we will fall captive to his ways.

So how do I fight this good fight? What does it take to continue fighting when it seems to me I have already lost? First, we must recognize who the enemy is. Ephesians 6:12 tells us “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” We must recognize that our battle is in the spirit realm, not in the fleshly realm. Yes, it seems it is our flesh that we are fighting all the time, putting down strongholds that have been there for decades, ridding ourselves of bad thoughts and trying ways. But it is the enemy who keeps coming against us, reminding us of our past and telling us we are trapped there. Remember that he is a lair and the father of lies (John 8:44). Since our battle is against powers of darkness and spiritual wickedness, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to aid us in fighting the battle for our souls. We cannot do it on our own, but we still must stay engaged with Him in order to win.

Then second weapon is found in Romans 12:1-2. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

First, our bodies are not our own. We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). We must present them before God while we are alive, ready to give them up to Him as a sacrifice before He can come in and help us. If we want to hold onto our own flesh as something worthwhile, we will have a difficult time getting through the battle. Our flesh on its own is week. But when we give it to God, He can strengthen our flesh to overcome the while if our enemy (1 John 4:4). After all, that’s the least we can do since Jesus, God’s only Son, gave His body as a living sacrifice upon the cross. He showed us the way. When we give up our bodies as a sacrifice, He will raise us up victorious, just as He rose victorious from the grave.
Second, it is the renewing of our mind that brings us to the place where we can walk in the place that is acceptable to God. If we are not being changed into His image, we have not been saved. If we stay stuck in the same mindset as we were before conversion, we will never walk into the perfect will of God. We will stay stagnant, and that leads to backsliding eventually. Our love for God will wane just like it had for the Ephesian church in Revelation 3. They lost their first love because they did not continue to renew their minds. That was the one thing n that God had against them and He urged them to return to their first love. The way we do that is to return to prayer, return to praise, return to the word of God. To be transformed by the renewing of our mind is to keep our mind stayed on God.
Another way to keep that transformation alive in our lives is to read and meditate on Philippians 4. There is so much wisdom in this chapter I can’t begin to write it all out in this post. But I will summarize for you and then let you take it in on your own, over and over again, which is what I do. Staring in verse 4, we will always rejoice in the Lord, no matter what the circumstance or trial you are facing. Paul’s double emphasis on rejoicing implores us never to get down, or to grumble and complain, but to always look to the heavens, even when things are at their worst. Verse 5 says let your moderation be known to all men. This word moderation means gentleness and kindness. We should always show a gentle and kind nature to those around us. This includes our manner and speech. I think of Ephesians 4:29 when I look at this verse. Always speak with grace! Verse 6 tells us not to worry but instead take everything to God in prayer, always being thankful. Verse 7 says that doing verse 6 says will bring us a peace that passes all understanding. Verse 8 says that we should think on things that are honest, true, lovely, just, pure, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. When we think about these things, negativity will be removed from our thought process. Verse 11 tells us that Paul was content in whatever state he was in. Paul was in a lot of very difficult situations, but he remained content because he always knew he was in Christ. Verse 13 tells us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. In the midst of the battle, he gives us the strength to continue to victory. Verse 19 says God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ. Needs, not wants. He will bring those things into our lives that will help us go through whatever comes our way. It doesn’t matter what those things are. When we are deeply in need, he will supply. When we don’t see a way out, He will make a roadway in the wilderness (Isaiah 43:19). When our finances are running too low to pay our bills, He will make rivers in that desert (same verse). There is nothing too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17).
The third part of winning the battle is putting on our armor (Ephesians 6:13-18). We must have the belt of truth the Truth of God’s word wrapped around us, holding up things that might hinder us, that we might run with patience that race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1). Wearing the breastplate of righteousness, Christ’s righteousness, which protects our hearts and vital organs from being wounded in the battle. We must walk prepared to share the gospel, prepared to give account for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). Having on the helmet of salvation provided only by Jesus Christ, which protects our minds and thoughts from the enemy’s attack. The sword of the Spirit must always be by our side and on our tongues. This is the Word of God that we should have embedded ion our brain. It is the only weapon of offense the soldier has in the battle, so you better know it well. Your faith must be strong enough to quench the devil’s attacks. We must not whither or fade at his evil snares. Above all we must tray, pray and pray again. Once we have put all this armor on, we can stand firm and see His salvation being worked out in us (Philippians 2:12). Then we can be still and know that He is God (Psalms 46:10).

I could continue on and on about ways we should fight the good fight but part of fighting that good fight is for you to be in the scripture studying on your own how to be prepared for the battles you will face. This is a crash course, or maybe the Cliff’s notes, to victory. Doing these things will help us lay hold on eternal life and give us a good profession before all men. This is our witness! Fighting through the difficulties in life will make us stronger and in turn give us a better witness. I pray that you will forever fight that good fight that is our faith. Never grow weary in doing well (Galatians 6:9)!

Guard Against Pride

Galatians 6:3-5 (KJV)

For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

For every man shall bear his own burden.

Am I deceiving myself? When anyone thinks that they am something special or that they have accomplished mighty things by themselves they are deceiving themselves. Others may think they are a special person, or have special gifts and talents, and that is fine.  They might see gifts flowing through that person and realize God has blessed them in certain ways, and in their eyes that person is special.  But when they start believing that in their special-ness, and start to verbalize that belief, they are in trouble. Everything good that we do and everything we have comes from God. When we start to take credit for it then pride is rising up within us.  Pride will always deceive us. We must guard against the appearance of pride in our lives.

You cannot get rid of this pride.  It is an element of our flesh.  You can only learn to control it, but first you must acknowledge it is there.  Until you do that, you have lost the battle.  Once you acknowledge it is there, then you can start to guard against it.  The best way to guard against pride is to have somebody who will help you watch for it. It must be somebody you can trust and that you allow yourself to be accountable to. It always comes down to your decision to listen or not to listen. In my case my accountability partner is my wife. She sees pride in me very quickly and very easily. She knows when it is rising up. When I went through my struggles years ago with pride I came home and I gave her permission to point out pride anytime it came up in my life and I promised her that I would listen. Through these last 10 years I can’t tell you how many times my pride has crept back up. And every time she has corrected me I have listened.

How can she tell that pride is creeping up? My pride will manifest in several   ways.  The first is know-it-all pride. I demand that I know better about something and I boast that I know the right way. I demand in my way be listened to despite her saying that it will hurt or it’ll do damage. Or I might diminish someone else’s ability.  These are all signs of know-t-all pride.  Plus there’s the most obvious one – the person who always says “I Know” when you are trying to help them correct something.   They think they know, but since they have not done anything about it yet, they really don’t know.  I was there and still find myself there a lot.  When I get in these situations, my wife is quick to point them out now.  When I listen to her I can look back and see how I was wrong and I go and ask her forgiveness. This is the one I struggle with the most.

Another area of pride is needing to be in control. I was always a very controlling person. I had to have my way, or I had to have my way followed.  I want to direct the choir, and I haven’t the foggiest idea what we are singing! But I’ve learned it it’s much better to roll with the punches so to say. It is easy for her to point out when I get controlling because once she says something I usually recognize it right away and I back off. In most cases I have not been given the authority to be in control. Turns out I’m robbing that authority from somebody else. I must guard against this all the time.

These are the two types of pride that I struggle with the most.  Some other types are vanity, a haughty spirit (arrogance),  unapproachable pride, spiritual pride, and so on.  I challenge you to ask God to show you the ways pride rises up in your life. I pray God will send an accountability partner to you that can help you with your pride so that you do not think you are something when you are nothing. The last thing we need to do is to be deceiving ourselves.  Because when we deceive ourselves, we certainly deceive others.  Deception is never God’s  way!

Proving your own work is not prideful. It is showing that we have done the research and done what God has asked us to do.  God desires to work through us to accomplish His means not our own. So when you are looking over the works of your hands, the words that come out of your mouth and the thoughts that are in your heart, who gets the glory for those? When you prove these things out, do they bring glory to you or to God? If they are bringing you glory then there is something amiss. But if they are bringing God glory then your work is proven and you can rejoice in it.

I often get many compliments on the beauty of the poems and songs that God gives me and I write down. It is imperative that I do not think these songs and poems come from me. I cannot start to think that I created them.  They are not the work of my mind and my words, they are God’s. When I start to think they are mine, I am in trouble.  It is then that I will start to accept the glory for myself. It is my obligation to deflect all the glory to God and let people know that these words were given by God and I am just a vessel. Even

Now we come to what seems like a contradicting from verse 2 where Paul writes that we should bear one another’s burden. He now says we should bear our own burdens. But both are true. We need to lift one another up with intercessory prayer and help others through the trials and tests that they face. That is one of our primary calls as Christians – top intercede.  Another is the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:11-21).  Both have to do with bearing the other persons burden.  At the same time we must make sure that we are walking on the straight and narrow. We must be doing what God is asking us to do and not becoming proud or boastful about it. Then we are putting the other person first and not ourselves.

If we are not bearing our own burden then we will find ourselves drifting away from God instead of drawing near to him. There is no middle ground. You’re always going one direction or the other and I have convinced that if you’re falling away from God you’re not bearing your own burden. You’re not studying the word as you should be or you’re not spending time with God In prayer. You’re not praising Him as you should be. You’re taking the glory for yourself instead of giving the glory to Him. That’s what happens when you don’t bear your own burden. These are all things that you should be doing on a regular basis. And you should be doing them with joy but God loves a cheerful Giver. He loves it when you give yourself to him wholeheartedly.

Through your day today remember to bear your burden and bear your brother’s burden. Imagine if you’re bearing his burden and he’s bearing yours on a daily basis!  When trouble comes, you are there to help each other through.  When the storms arise, you offer a safe haven to talk and weep about the pain and suffering that is going on.  When it’s time to rejoice, you rejoice together.  Neither of you think of himself as better or superior, and n either of you take credit for the success of the other.  That goes to God!  This is how it should be.  This is the love of Christ manifesting itself in our lives.

 That’s really all Paul is after here.  He wants us to follow Christ, and give of the love that He gave to us.  Let us all go and do so!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer : Chapter 1C – Prayer is Faith-In-Action

Our third definition of prayer is an obvious choice. When we pray, we are acting on faith that God will hear answer. Prayer is an action that we take, and the amount we pray, along with the fervency of our prayers, dictates exactly how much action we are willing to put into our praying. I believe God loves it when we really put a lot into praying. I have to admit that my prayer life is not where it should be in my mind. I am hopeful that doing this study again will re-energize my prayer life so that I am taking action when it is needed.

Let’s start in James 1:2-3 which says:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

This verse shows us that there is a purpose for every trial. That is why we should consider it joy when these things come up. One of the biggest benefits of a trial is that they exercise our faith. Now, we all know in the natural world that exercise will make one stronger in whatever area they focus that exercising. If I want to be stronger in my legs, I will walk or run. That is what we do!

And we also know that practice makes perfect, right? If someone wants to learn a musical instrument, they will never do it if they don’t practice (unless God decides to perform a miracle for them). If I want to be a doctor, I will have to spend a lot of time studying. If I want to do sales, I must find new customers, and that means knocking on a lot of doors and perfecting my skills. No matter what I want to do, it will take persistence.

I have been in sales for over 35 years. My current position is an Independent agent for Aflac Insurance. When I started with Aflac, I needed to find my own customers. What this involved was going to businesses I knew or didn’t know and trying to get an appointment with the owner. One of the big advantages I had was that I knew people in over 500 businesses due to my previous sales experience. We learned a script that worked, and we customized it to our own style. Even with the terrific contact list I had and the rapport I had previously gained with these businesses, I still could only get an appointment with about 1 out of 15. When I started knocking on doors where I did not know anyone, that ratio went down. It took a lot of exercising my sales skills to become successful.

Faith is no different. The more we put it to work – the more we exercise it – the better we get at it. Putting our faith into action trough prayer helps us make it through those trials and tests that come our way. That I why we should be joyful n trials – they are the best means to exercise our faith! We see this truth throughout the bible. Trials come upon a person or someone they know, they put their faith in action through prayer, and their situation improves. Let’s look at some examples:

Abraham was worried abut his nephew Lot. The young man had chosen the lush valley that was around Sodom, and had been enticed to live in that wicked city. God revealed to Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom. Abraham exercised his faith in conversational prayer with God. He kept asking for more and more mercy to be granted to Lot, and God honored Abrahams faith. He removed Lot from Sodom before it was destroyed. This story can be found in Genesis 18:16-33.

Another time, Abraham had caused a problem himself. It seemed he was afraid Abimelech the king would kill him and take his wife, so he told Abimelech Sara was his sister. Abimelech thought that was great and married Sara. God was quite displeased with this, so he made all of Abimelech’s other women barren. Upon seeing this, Abraham prayed to God, and God lifted their barrenness. (Genesis 20:17)

Moses interceded for the sins of Israel more than once. The most incredible one to me was in Exodus 32. Moses had been on the mountain with God for a long time, so the people enticed Aaron to make idols to worship. God was all set to destroy the whole nation and build a new nation starting with Moses. But Moses put his faith into action by praying to God, and the bible says “God repented of the evil he thought to do”.

Joshua was in the middle of a battle and wanted to finish it, but it was near the end of day. Joshua did the unthinkable – he asked God to extend the day so he could finish the fight. And God did so! He stopped the sun and moon in place for a day so Joshua would finish off his enemy. Now that’s a great exercise in faith! (Joshua 10:12-14)

Samson had been deceived and had lost his strength. They put his eyes out and ridiculed him. But in the end, Samson prayed to God that he could have his strength back one more time, and he pulled down the Philistine temple, killing over 1,000 of Israel’s enemies in one act. Supernatural strength through one simple prayer. (Judges 16:25-30)

Elijah prayed it would not rain, and it did not. Then he prayed it would rain, and it did. (James 5:17-18)

When Daniel was cast into the lion’s den, the king who cast him in actually prayed and fasted for him, and that prayer worked! (Daniel 6:16-20)

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Prayer – faith in action – gets God’s attention very time. The truth is that God rewards our faith. Hebrews 11:6 tells us:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Did you catch that – God rewards those that diligently seek Him. How do we seek Him – through active prayer! The Psalmist says in Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

The way I use my words with God are either praise or prayer.  When we pray in faith, believing that He will reward that faith, God is pleased.  We can make this Psalm a reality in our lives every day.  I don’t know of anyone who comes to God with prayer because they don’t think it will work.  That would be plain silly.  That would be like turning the oven on to bake something and expecting it not to work!  If it’s not going to work, why turn it on!  If prayer is not going to work, why pray!  That is why prayer is our faith taking action.  And it will produce results!

One more verse I’d like to take you to is James 5:16 which states

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

I covered this verse in a post a few weeks ago that you can find HERE. When we put our whole heart into a prayer it takes that prayer to another level. This may be a spur of the minute prayer in which you reach deep down inside yourself and reach the throne of God, or it may be a prayer that you have prayed for someone many times, desiring God to move. Either way, if it is with fervency – with action in your spirit, it avails much. To me that means it moves God.

I do not believe that it means a miraculous healing will take place immediately, although it may. God is, and always will be, in charge of the timing of answers. He will bring things about in His time. When I came down with cancer, many people prayed earnestly and fervently for an immediate healing. And He could have done that – I have no doubt. But so much good has come out of this fight, and so much more will. God knew what He was doing. He always does!

Faith-in-action – that is what prayer is. Our words take our faith to God. Then He moves! What a great gift He has given us in this gift of prayer. The next, and last definition of prayer is my favorite one. I hope you’ll stay tuned!