- Date: December 10, 2018
- Verse: “There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)
I just want to encourage us, when sometimes you think it's out of hand, sometimes when you think Satan is preeminent and he's in charge, when you seem to think that there's no way that these circumstances-all of these circumstances that demand failure, demand defeat, demand the loss of your job, demand the loss of your home, demand the loss of your life, whatever it might be, I want you to know something. Nothing happens if it's not in the counsel of God's will. So in the midst of it all, we give thanks.
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Devotionals by Date
- Date: April 4, 2004
- Verse: "And Elijah the Tishbite...said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."(1 Kings 17:1)
See what happens to Elijah, a true man of God that stands and proclaims the truth. Elijah the Tishbite begins to prophecy against Ahab. Remember that old Ahab and Jezebel are the bad guys. He says, "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand..." (1 Kings 17:1). The issue is whether God is alive or not; that's the whole issue of prayer. There are a lot of people on a Sunday barbecuing, playing basketball, going for their walks and jogs; everybody is going to and fro. They would not be doing those things if they believed that they were going to face a living God.
- Date: April 3, 2004
- Verse: "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."(Ephesians 6:12)
The woman that pressed in through the crowd and touched the hem of Jesus' garment said, "If I could only touch it, I'll be made whole." The great patriarch, Jacob, wrestled with the Angel and said, "I will not turn You loose until You've blessed me." Our lives need that kind of discipline. When we come for prayer into the presence of God, we have that mandate to enter boldly by the blood of Jesus. We come to receive of God. If we leave before we've obtained, we've left too soon. If we stop praying before we've received the victory, then we've left too soon.
- Date: April 2, 2004
- Verse: "But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us."(Matthew 15:23)
"And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word" (Matt. 15:22-23). As they're walking along, the disciples say, "Lord, send her away. She's wearing us down; she's crying after us. Tell her You're not answering her prayer."
She's hanging on, crying, "I'll not let You go until You bless me!" That's how we need to pray.
- Date: April 1, 2004
- Verse: "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"(Luke 18:8)
We're to pray in every situation and not faint. Jesus gives the parable: "There was in a city a judge..." (Luke 18:2). God is not the judge in this parable. When interpreting these parables, people get so carried away trying to symbolize everything and everybody that they miss the point Jesus was teaching. "There was in a city a judge which feared not God, neither regarded man." How could that relate to God or Jesus in any way? This is a wicked judge who didn't fear God or care for man.
"And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
- Date: March 31, 2004
- Verse: "...Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand,...thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words."(Daniel 10:12)
Daniel makes reference to praying by faith and waiting on the power and ability of God to manifest. Daniel 10:12 says, "...From the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard..." From the first day, thy words were heard. He will avenge us speedily (Luke 18:8). His ears are open to the cry of the righteous (Ps. 34:15). Many times the simplicity of these truths cause us to miss the magnitude of what's being said. We want things to be hard, detailed, and intricate;
- Date: March 30, 2004
- Verse: "And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy."(Matthew 26:43)
What does God expect of us in our attitude toward prayer? We see that Jesus prayed early in the morning, at the noon hour, at the evening time, and had all night sessions of prayer. After being exhausted from the busiest days, Jesus labored in prayer. Jesus prayed about the smallest things, and He prayed concerning the resurrection of Lazarus. In all of these areas, His life was saturated with the presence of God. We see Him coming into Gethsemane, the greatest hour and trial in His physical life. He came into the Garden of Gethsemane with the eleven.
- Date: March 29, 2004
- Verse: "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;"(Luke 18:1)
Why do we pray? We pray to practice His presence, to be changed, to get direction from God, to spend time with God. We pray because we're commanded to pray. As we pray in the Spirit, we're edified. We pray to know the Lord. All of these are correct answers. But the simplistic answer is this: we pray to get an answer. Do you think that's oversimplified? The sad thing is that many of us seem to think there is some merit in spending time in prayer. We don't pray to pray; we pray to get results. We don't just pray to articulate or because it's part of our dogma.
- Date: March 28, 2004
- Verse: "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak."(Mark 14:38)
"...Watch...and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak" (Mark 14:38). We say we need to pray but is the flesh truly brought under? Is the time you spend in prayer--the thirty minutes, the hour, the two hours--effectual time where the flesh is in subjection? It's not just the amount of time. You may have spent two hours in "prayer", but may have truly prayed only two minutes. The spirit is willing. The endeavor that we make is a spiritual endeavor. We want to pray, but all the while our minds are racing.
- Date: March 27, 2004
- Verse: "And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly..."(Luke 22:43-44)
As the revelation of taking the world's sin unfolds, Jesus sees its magnitude and becomes very, very sorrowful and heavy. He prays the prayer of faith, "Lord, not My will, but Thine be done." Then it says, "...There appeared an angel unto him from heaven," and began to strengthen Him. An angel appeared to minister to Jesus. Could you use that periodically? If you'll study out the angelic visitations, they come in the times that you've emptied yourself in service to God. The prayer Jesus is involved in is not a trite "now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep" prayer.
- Date: March 26, 2004
- Verse: "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."(Luke 22:41-42)
Jesus told the disciples, "Pray that you don't enter into temptation. Pray that you don't fail the test that's before you" (Luke 22:40). He separates Himself from them--that's the test. Do we pray only when we feel the presence of God or know that Jesus is there? We pray when we sense the unction or whenever God is speaking directly to our hearts, but He said we ought to pray always (Luke 18:1). If we don't pray always, we fail the test; we've entered into temptation.
- Date: March 25, 2004
- Verse: "Pray without ceasing."(1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Prayer is where our victory is. Instead of the mechanics of prayer, I want to deal with the intensity of our prayer lives that the Spirit of God calls us to. Across America, the average pastor of Bible-believing churches prays twelve minutes a day. The Church is in trouble. God is calling us to a lifestyle of prayer. As I read that statistic, it absolutely boggled my mind to think that the spiritual leaders of this nation may average twelve minutes a day in prayer. Then we wonder why worldliness is taking over the churches and why we depend upon psychology and higher education.
- Date: March 24, 2004
- Verse: "The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry."(Psalm 34:15)
Let's dispel a few myths so we can be effectual in our praying. We see the need for right relationship. Many of us have the fallacy that if we can get ourselves in enough trouble, God will be compelled to bail us out because He is loving, merciful, and compassionate. He is all of those things; but He's the faithful God to those who love Him and keep His commandments. God's Word tells us how He'll respond to us. If we love Him and keep His commandments, He will be faithful to us for a thousand generations. He will be there on our behalf.
- Date: March 23, 2004
- Verse: "...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."(James 5:16)
James 5 talks about the effectual, fervent praying of the righteous man. The effectual fervency is only a part; there must also be relationship. "Righteousness" means "right standing or relationship" with Father. The word "effectual" means "to be divinely energized." This passage doesn't say "an energized prayer" or refer to how sincere you are. Prayer has to be divinely energized with God as the source. Fervency is a true earnestness and understanding of who God is.
- Date: March 22, 2004
- Verse: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."(John 15:7)
Understand the day and the hour that we're in--we're at war. Our enemy, Satan, goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). If we're going to stand, we have to resist the devil, and he'll flee from us. To be victorious we have to take on the whole armor of God--the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, our loins gird about with truth, our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We need to understand what it means to have as our defense the shield of faith and as our offense the sword of the spirit.
- Date: March 21, 2004
- Verse: "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."(Mark 11:25)
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matt. 6:12). The greatest hindrances to our prayer life are selfishness and unforgiveness. Many of us are dealing with and battling roots of bitterness and unforgiveness. Many of us don't even realize that the greatest object of our unforgiveness is God, thinking that God has wronged us in the past. We may think, "If Father really loved me, I wouldn't be experiencing all this grief and torment. If God really loved me, He would not have let that father (mother, husband, child) abuse me the way they have.
- Date: March 20, 2004
- Verse: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."(Luke 12:32)
The most important aspect of prayer is having a relationship with Father, to be able to call Him, "Abba, Father." That relationship lets you know who He is and what He's like. You don't have to wrestle the blessings out of His hand because it's your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. "If [you], being [carnal], know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to [those] that ask...?" (Luke 11:13) Father wants to bless us with all spiritual blessings.
- Date: March 19, 2004
- Verse: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."(Mark 8:35)
"...Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and [for] the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what [does] it profit a man, if he [gains all of] the world [the world's recognition, fame, fortune], and lose his own soul? Or what [would] a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37) People sell out awfully cheap for a quick fix. We sell out cheap all the time.
- Date: March 18, 2004
- Verse: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:"(Deuteronomy 30:19)
Heaven and earth was called to record against us that God, being no respecter of persons, has set before each one of us life and death. God has called every one of us to life. He has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). We have everything we need, Peter said, to become a partaker of the divine nature.
- Date: March 17, 2004
- Verse: "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."(James 4:6)
John said if we'll keep God's commandments, they will not be grievous or difficult to us (1 John 5:3). The chastening of the Lord is grievous for the moment, but it works in us the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:11). God is working in our lives. These times of pressure, trial, adversity, and lack are the cross--the crucible--that conform us to the image of Jesus, which is a life of absolute dependence upon God. Are you independent or dependent? How much of your life is independent? How many decisions do you make independently? I'm talking about the little ones.
- Date: March 16, 2004
- Verse: "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle."(Exodus 33:11)
Are you confident in where God is leading you today? Are you confident in your steps being ordered by the Lord? Are you at rest today? Are you going to be obedient to do it God's way? Is His way not sufficient, sensible or fast enough for you? Man's wisdom is foolishness to God, and God's wisdom is foolishness to man. Which wisdom are you going to choose? The two wisdoms don't work together; they're totally, diametrically opposed. You can't amalgamate them. The double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).