The Bible says, “Pray continually.” If you can worry continually, you can pray continually; you just have to change your focus! Try to picture this: an enemy army has arrived intent on wiping out Israel. So Moses says to Joshua, “Take your best soldiers and go fight them. I’m taking two men, climbing the hill that overlooks the plains, raising my hands toward heaven and praying for victory” (See Ex 17:8-9). As Moses’ hands stretched heavenward, Joshua’s troops prevailed. But when Moses’s arms grew weary and he dropped them to his side, the tide of battle shifted. Joshua’s troops were being struck down. Again Moses stretched his arms toward heaven, bringing the matter before the Lord. Immediately the battle’s momentum shifted back to Joshua. Then it struck Moses-He must keep his arms outstretched toward Heaven if he wants to open the door to God’s supernatural intervention here on earth. There’s a lesson here: if you are willing to invite God to involve Himself in your daily living you’ll experience His power in your home, your relationships, your career, and wherever else it’s needed. But the other side of the equation is sobering: It’s hard for God to release His power in your life when you just put your hands in your pockets and say, “I can handle this on my own.” If you do that, don’t be surprised if you get the nagging feeling that the tide of battle has shifted against you and that you’re powerless to do anything about it. To experience God’s power in your life you must pray continually, pray scripturally, and pray in faith.
When they were slaves in Egypt, the Israelites had to pump water from the Nile River to irrigate their crops and put food on the table. Can you imagine slaving every day on an old foot pump just to get by? But then things changed for the better. God told them, “Go in and take over the land…flowing with milk and honey…not like the land of Egypt…where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot” (vv 8-10 NIV). There’s a lesson here. You can reach a place in your walk with God where you get “off the pump and into the flow”; where you stop “sweating it,” because God’s goodness flows into every area of your life. But this promise is conditional–it’s for those who obey God: “Observe therefore all the commandments I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land” (v. 8 NIV). Obedience is like having the right access code. It enables you to make withdrawals on God’s blessing because you are walking in His will. We all want to live in the flow of God’s blessing, right? Yet too few of us do. Who are these “blessed” people? (1) Those who act on God’s instructions. (2) Those who confront the giants of fear in their life. (3) Those that refuse to be swayed by the “wilderness mentality” of others. (4) Those who have the faith to say, “The Lord…will lead us into that land…[He] will give it to us…do not be afraid (Nu 14:8-9 NIV). And you can be one of those people.
Satan is a deceiver, but Jesus is a revealer. So any time you bring Jesus into the situation, Satan is unmasked and his plans for your life are exposed and foiled. Satan is referred to in Scripture as “darkness,” and Jesus as “light.” The moment the light moves in, the darkness has to move out. So your first priority is not to conqueror Satan, but move closer to Jesus; to line up your will and your word with His will and His Word. Instead of just lying down, taking it, and saying, “I guess there’s nothing I can do about this,” rise up in faith and say, “Satan it is written.” Faced with a level of temptation none of us will ever be exposed to, that’s what Jesus did to Satan in the wilderness. And the record reads, “Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (Mt 4:11 NKJV).
Recently we witnessed bankers and brokers take people’s money, lose it, then later come back and say, “Here’s another good plan; invest it.” But now we know better, don’t we? We no longer believe an investment is good just because somebody says so. Don’t miss the spiritual analogy here. When you know the truth of God’s Word and you use it as a weapon, Satan’s walls crumble, his plans for you come unglued, and his schemes fall apart. When you understand who you are “in Christ,” you are more than a match for the Devil and he can no longer control your life.
Have you ever watched one of those TV shows where the police show up, surprise the criminal and say, “You’re busted,” then put them in handcuffs and take them off to jail? That’s what Jesus did to Satan. The word “destroy” implies “to come unglued,” or “to fall apart.” Imagine the mortar crumbling and the wall coming down, or the spool running out of thread so that when the garment is picked up it falls apart. On what basis would you like to fight Satan? By the power of your own intellect, or by the power of God’s Word? By your own will, or by knowing God’s will, standing on it, and enforcing it’s terms? Ever turn on the lights in a dark room and watch cockroaches run for cover? You didn’t do anything, you just turned on the light! Every wall Satan builds to keep you locked in crumbles when exposed to the light of God’s Word. Satan’s act literally comes unglued. And it happens fast, because light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Satan’s greatest weapon is your ignorance of God’s Word. That’s why he will fight you over Bible reading more than most other things. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32 NIV). The truth itself doesn’t set you free; it’s “knowing” the truth, standing on it in times of trouble and trusting God to do what He has said, that empowers you not only to survive Satan’s attacks, but to triumph over him.
I’d like to see this nailed to every teenagers bedroom door across the world.
TO WIN IN LIFE
William Arthur Ward wrote: “Believe while others are doubting. Plan while others are playing. Decide while others are delaying. Prepare while others are daydreaming. Begin while others are procrastinating. Work while others are wishing. Save while others are wasting. Listen while others are talking. Smile while others are frowning. Persist while others are quitting.” To win in life requires three things: (1) You must start. That may seem obvious, but many of us are stuck in the starting blocks waiting for something to get us going. What has God called you and equipped you to do? Step out and do it, and He will empower you! (2) You must give it your all. Divers in the Olympics don’t save all their effort for their final dive. They concentrate on nailing every single one, increasing their chances for a gold medal. Don’t settle for mediocrity at any stage of life (See Php 3:14). (3) You must never quit. In the 1992 Olympics, Derek Redmond of Britain was competing in the 400 meter race when he suffered a torn hamstring and fell. As the other runners breezed past him, he began to struggle to his feet. His father, whose face was covered with tears, suddenly ran down from the stands to help him up. Slowly, agonizingly, they made their way around the rest of the track and crossed the finish line as the stadium in Seoul burst into thunderous applause. Redmond didn’t win a metal, but he won something more important-the respect of the world. The Bible says, “Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
Having the faith required to get answers to your prayers is an important truth. But that’s not what Paul is speaking about here. He begins the chapter saying, “Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits” (1Tim 4:1 NKJV). He warns, “Stay anchored to the truth, or you’ll be caught in the undertow of error.” Here’s a fact that should alarm us: 90 percent of all those who end up in cults started out in mainline churches. How come? Because they weren’t grounded in the truth of Scripture! They are the like the guy who was asked, “What do you believe?” He replied, “The same thing my church believes.” When asked, “What does your church believe?” He replied, “The same thing I believe.” When asked, “What do you both believe?” He replied, “We both believe the same thing.” Bottom line: he didn’t know what he believed! You say, “But doesn’t God have more truth to reveal to us?” Yes. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Pr. 4:18). But God doesn’t destroy the foundations of truth, He builds on them. Sometimes Bible teachers with fresh revelation act like “the party started when I arrived!” That’s ego, not annointing! We are not called to be tasters of experience, but testers of truth. We must honor the ministry, but understand that just because a preacher says it, doesn’t make it so. The Bereans “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Ac 17:11 NKJV). You must do that too!
Something for you to meditate upon as you go through the day.
WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE ARE YOU (4)
Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be the sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful” (Lk 6:35-36 NKJV). Such words bring us to our knees, for we fall far short of practicing them. The pastor of a large church tells of being on an elevator with a drunk man who was throwing up. The pastor couldn’t wait to get off. All the way to his room he kept criticizing the man. Later that night God spoke to him and said, “You laughed at him, but I loved him enough to die for him.” Watch your attitude! The same sunshine that melts the butter hardens the clay. When you constantly deal with people’s problems, it will make you either callous or compassionate. In spite of his disappointment in people, Jesus never lost His sense of compassion. Love isn’t a virus you catch, it’s a virtue you’re supposed to practice every day. And there’s a divine dimension to this kind of love. “The love of God has been poured out in your hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Ro 5:5 NKJV). You can’t reach into the well of your own emotions to find such love; you can only take the love of God that’s been poured into your heart and share it with others. And if you are to serve God successfully you must have regular transfusions of his love.
Seneca, the Roman statesman said, “I govern my life and thoughts as though the world were to see one and read the other.” You can always predict what a person of integrity will do in two areas: (1) In business. Saying no to your boss usually isn’t a good career move. But when faced with a choice between his and his convictions, Daniel refused to eat the King’s meat because it was a violation of God’s law (See Da 1:8-17). Joseph refused to sleep with the boss’s wife (See Gen 39:6-12). Elisha refused to accept a rich man’s money in exchange for healing (See 2KI 5:1-16). Getting the idea? (2) At home. Noah saved his family from destruction by listening to God (See Heb 11:7). And the first thing he did when he emerged from the ark was to build an altar. Think about that! Noah had an altar before he had a home. Most of us have homes, but no prayer altar. And it shows. Lot, on the other hand, lost his wife and sons-in-law to the destructive influences of Sodom (See Ge 19:14-26). Today issues of character that once raised alarm don’t even raise an eyebrow. But they should. “I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Ro 12:1-2 NLT).
Remember it’s not you doing it, but God doing it through you. It’s about being willing. Please check out the new poll in the sidebar and vote, and leave a comment if you want.
Doing God’s Will
Often when we’re starting out, we dream of doing earth-changing things and the thought of tackling them intimidates us. That is yet another reason to start small. Don’t try to help everyone, just try to help someone! Do that, and in time you may find yourself living what St. Francis of Assisi described when he said, “Start doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly, you are doing the impossible.” Even if you never get to do big things, you can find great fulfillment in doing right things. Every act of kindness, no matter how small, is worth doing.
One leader writes, “”Little did I realize when I started with a desire to add significance to others, that it would add significance to me! Now I understand. We should not receive anything without giving, and we cannot give anything without receiving.” The truth is your dream isn’t worthy of your life if it doesn’t bless others. President Woodrow Wilson stated, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you improverish yourself if you forget the errand.” There’s an old Middle Eastern blessing that says, “When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. May you live your life so that when you die, the world will cry and you will rejoice.” And that will surely happen if you live by the scriptural truth, “I desire to do your will, O my God.”
I discovered this author quite by accident, but know that it really was no accident. Sometimes we need a little reminder. I did. Perhaps you do too.
MAXIMIZE THIS DAY
God determines the number of your days, but you determine how they are spent. The Psalmist said “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is all you’ve got. And you can begin your life over today, if you live by these words: “Today I will delete from my diary two days-yesterday and tomorrow. Yesterday was for learning; tomorrow will be a consequence of what I do today. Today I will face life with the conviction that this day will never return, that it may be the last opportunity I’ll have to contribute because there’s no guarantee I’ll see tomorrow. Today I will be courageous enough not to let opportunity pass me by; my only alternative will be to succeed. Today I will invest my most valuable resource; my time, into my most important possession the life God has given me. I’ll spend each minute purposefully, making today a unique opportunity. I’ll tackle each obstacle knowing that with God’s help I can overcome it. Today I will resist doubt and pessimism and warm my world with a smile. I’ll maintain a strong faith, expect nothing but the best, take time to be happy, see every task as an opportunity to honor the Lord, and endeavor to leave His footprints on the hearts of those I meet.” John Boykin wrote, “Time is your life-nothing more, nothing less. The way you spend your hours and your days, is the way you spend your life.” So pray, “Lord, help me to maximize this day.”