July 07, 2015
Throughout human history, men and nations have risen to abort the activity of God. There is a deep agenda behind this and there is One who orchestrates such battles. It is not a flesh and blood attack and cannot be fought, nor won, with flesh and blood weapons. Read Ephesians 6:10-19 if you do not believe this.
OUR CURRENT CRISIS
We see in bold relief now that a battle is raging around us. It has always been there, but it seems clearer now. So, how do we approach the attack we see upon the name of God and His righteousness?
If we try to use the arm of the flesh, we will most surely fail. But there is another way. It is the way taken by all the great men and women of God who accomplished things thought impossible. David took this approach, and Nehemiah, and Hezekiah, to name a few.
Isaiah tells us Hezekiah's approach when the overwhelming armies of the enemy mocked his God and threatened the extinction of God's people.
Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.
Hezekiah prayed to the Lord saying, “O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who sent them to reproach the living God.
“Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated all the countries and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them.
“Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God."" (Isaiah 37:14-20)
WE MUST UNDERSTAND WHAT’S HAPPENING
Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it…(vs. 14a)
The cause of Christ is not well served by hiding our heads in the sand and failing to understand the current events swirling around us as a direct assault upon the Kingdom of God. We should be good students of our culture so that, like the men of Issachar, we can understand the times to know how to respond.
WE MUST RUN TO THE PRESENCE OF GOD
… and he went up to the house of the Lord… (vs. 14b)
We can run to all of the world’s best defenses, or run to each other, or run in fear. But our response should be like Hezekiah—we must immediately seek the presence of our God. God sees who we run to in crisis and He honors those who come quickly to Him.
WE MUST LAY THE ISSUES BEFORE HIM
… and spread it out before the Lord. (vs. 14c)
Coming to the Lord in honesty, with all of our fears and concerns and questions is the right step. Laying it all before Him with raw transparency is needed. God knows what’s happening more than we do, so we must get honest before Him in every detail.
WE MUST PRAY!
Hezekiah prayed to the Lord saying… (vs. 15)
Hezekiah’s response was not to turn to his generals or to the people. He went one place and had one response. He prayed “to the Lord.”
God always honors the approach that honors Him. Hezekiah would have nothing but God and God delighted in his faith. And He will do the same for us.
And notice the important contents of the prayer. Our prayers should be like Hezekiah’s if we are to receive the response from heaven that he enjoyed.
“O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.” (vs. 16)
Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who sent them to reproach the living God. (vs. 17)
“Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated all the countries and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. (vs. 18-19)
Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God. (vs. 20)
PRAYER CHANGES HISTORY
Isaiah assures Hezekiah that God will respond to the Enemy for one reason: “Because you have prayed to me…” (vs. 21)
Prayer accelerates God’s response. There are some things that God will do regardless of our prayerlessness. But there are other things that will never be accomplished if we do not pray.
Listen carefully: You can try every other response imaginable to our current crisis. None will work. Faith-filled, obedient prayer is God’s singular plan. Nothing else so glorifies Him. When will we learn this and begin to pray?
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June 08, 2019
June 07, 2019
… with most of us modern Christians is that we are stoppable. A little discomfort, a turn from our desired daily routine, or a little resistance from those to whom we’re witnessing throws us off. We have not settled the issue that our greatest joy and highest purpose comes from our witness, and so we are unwilling to push through in sharing Christ with others every day, even in the mildest environments. Even when persecution is not present.
June 03, 2019
These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer (Acts 1:14)
Prayer is the foundation for all of life. Imagine the emotions and sense of fear and expectancy when Christ had been resurrected, appeared to His disciples, and then ascended. They were instructed to merely wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit who would endue them with power to be witnesses to Christ all across the world (Acts 1:8).
So, what did they do?