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Posts Tagged ‘2 Chronicles 16:9’

A Prayer Strategy

January 22nd, 2014

“After they prayed . . they were filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 4:31 NIV.

Prayer and faith are the door through which God enters powerfully.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a prayer strategy.”

There will be times when you have to do something, but don’t know what to do. You will experience situations, unfamiliar or even desperate. The Bible is filled with times and places when people have felt much like you do. Consider Moses facing an impassable Red Sea while pursued by Pharaoh; imagine Daniel awaiting imminent death from ravenous lions; the Apostle Paul endured a terrible storm in a ship being torn apart, and sailors ready to abandon ship; feel the isolation of the Apostle John, callously exiled to die on a remote island. Inevitably, they and others turned to God in their worst circumstances and God did not fail them. You are wise to study others’ faith and its results, and to learn from their experiences.

The Bible reports of Peter and John that the religious leaders, “took note that these men had been with Jesus.” If you spend time with Jesus, others notice a difference. Soon after Jesus’ ascension, Peter and John were arrested and threatened with worse if they dared speak of Jesus again. Read Acts 4:21-33 NIV. Jesus always had faced the opposition, always knowing what to do. But Jesus was no longer with them as before; they were on their own. “After they prayed, the place was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31 NIV. Like those early disciples, this is what you do when you don’t know what to do.

(1) First, pray with faith. “Lord, behold their threatenings.” Acts 4:29 NIV. Prayer is too often the second, third, or last thing you think of doing when facing threatening situations. Begin with prayer; then, you may not need to worry. Here is good advice, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer . . let your requests be made known to God . .” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV.

(2) Ask God for what you lack. “Lord . . enable Your servants . . with great boldness.” Acts 4:29 NIV. They had reason to be afraid, but fear like faith is really a choice. Fear thrives when you feel threatened. Faith grows when you choose to let God be God. Stop listening to your fears; listen for God’s assuring word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing [comes] by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 NKJV. The Word in your heart makes you bold in your faith.

(3) Expect God to do the extraordinary. “Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders.” Acts 4:30 NIV. Why pray at all, if you aren’t going to expect something spectacular from God? 2 Chronicles 16:9 KJV. Give God an invitation to display His power. Genesis 18:14 NKJV.

(4) Prepare yourself for things to change. “After they had prayed, they . . spoke the Word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31 NIV. More than expected happens when you pray; not a lot can happen until after you do. Prayer and faith are the door through which God enters a desperate situation powerfully. And His entrance is to fill you with His abiding Spirit. See Ephesians 5:18-20 NKJV. A Spirit-filled heart expects something marvelous and miraculous from God. “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you rely on the power of the Spirit in every situation.

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Purposeful

November 13th, 2013

“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”  Daniel 1:8 NKJV.

Consequential decisions are best made well before moments of immediacy.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “purposeful.”

Life will present situations confronting you with decisions which can impact and shape your future, for better or worse. Life is simpler when you predetermine what options are acceptable or unacceptable to you. Wise decisions are rarely made in the emotions of a challenging circumstance. Consequential decisions are best made well before moments of immediacy. There are issues of integrity, honesty, and morality that are best settled well before they are pressured by expediency.

After the siege and subsequent defeat of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, along with most of the best and brightest of his nation, were taken as captives to Babylon. See 2 Kings 24:10-16. Everyone has heard of “Daniel in the Lion’s Den.” There is much about prospering in adverse circumstances that can be learned from Daniel. There were subtle yet more dangerous things than lions that Daniel would face in Babylon. Daniel prospered without compromising either his faith or personal integrity. How did this young Israelite, taken captive in his youth, become a trusted counselor and confidant to multiple rulers of Babylon? Read Daniel 1:3-7 NKJV.

(1) Daniel experienced displacement – separated forcibly from every place familiar and everyone supportive. Nebuchadnezzar instructed, ”Bring young men . . who had ability to serve in the King’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.” Vs. 3-4. Your sense of place and person are significant. The intent was clear – eradication of Daniel’s history and radical re-education of his beliefs and behavior. See Romans 12:1-2 NIV/Romans 8:28-29 NIV. The issue is influence; stay connected to the people and places you know best and trust most. Wise decisions are best made in good company.

(2) Daniel refused to modify his appetites – provided with tastes and extravagance he could not provide himself. “And the King appointed for them a daily provision of the King’s delicacies . . and three years of training, so that . . they might serve the King.” Vs. 5/9-16. The issue is dependence; be wary of strong desires independent of Godly provision. The enemy will promise you what you don’t have; only later do you discover it was really what you don’t need.

(3) Daniel resisted a compromised identity – his name, connecting him to his family and religious heritage, was changed from Daniel to Belteshazzar. Vs. 6-7. The intent was diabolical, to alter his security in who he had been and establish a Babylonian identity. The issue is allegiance; do not be confused about your identity and destiny in Christ.

Faced with pressures to conform greater than will likely confront you or I, Daniel held a firm conviction, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself . .” Daniel 1:8 NKJV. Compromise is never an acceptable option. See 2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV. To succeed in your spiritual life, you have be purposeful. When you “purpose in your heart not to defile [yourself],” every other decision becomes simpler. As a teen, I learned to sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.” There is nothing behind – or ahead of me – that I desire more than Jesus.

My prayer for you today is that your heart will be set fully on pleasing God.

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