In days of uncertainty, we must anchor our souls and minds on what really matters. In speaking and hearing from many, some are derailed by COVID concerns and what is happening with changing governments. These are not the primary concerns of faithful followers and disciples of Jesus.
What is far more important is giving our full attention to what God is doing and being part of it. I have listed some very helpful Scriptures below that I invite you to read and meditate on. Let them refocus your attention on what is eternal and cannot be altered by the events of this world.
· God’s plans will come to pass – Isaiah 14:24
· God’s purposes are eternal – Genesis 50:8-9; Isaiah 55:8-9
· God is offering opportunities to join Him in His work – John 4:32-35; 5:30; 6:38; 14:31
· God is victorious ALREADY over Satan’s schemes - 2 Corinthians 2:11; Matthew 25:23
· God is at work! Join Him while it is still day – John 9:4
As a closing note, taking careful consideration of Isaiah’s words; “The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and He will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.” (Isaiah 33:5–6).
WHAT A PROMISE!
Thursday night we had a wonderful Zoom prayer meeting on Acts 2:1-13 regarding the coming or giving of the Holy Spirit. We mainly discussed the previous section of (1:12-26) which demonstrates that the disciples were already being influenced by the Spirit coming ‘upon them.’ Peter “stood up among the brothers” (1:15) and quoted Psalm 69:25 and 109:8 to support replacing Judas so the number twelve would be complete.
We saw a wonderful link between Luke 24:27; “He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” and John 20:22; “Receive the Holy Spirit” and Acts 1:15-16. Peter was allowing the Spirit to come upon him with clear recall of the Scriptures to guide them in prayer and preparation for the Day of Pentecost; being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The work of the Spirit on earth, which began before creation, is now through persons that He fills and has sealed (Eph. 1:13). I can think of nothing greater than being fully available and under His control.
We often project a very negative image of Peter because of all the ‘out-of-place things he said, but from John 21:15-19 on, Peter is a different man. Could that be said of us? We ended our time with fervent prayer that we would become more and more submitted to the Spirit. Will you?
EXALTING JESUS CHRIST ONLY!
PREPARE IN US FIRST A HIGHWAY FOR JESUS TO BE PROCLAIMED IN THE GOSPEL TO THE WORLD (MARK 16:15; LUKE 24:47)!
TEACHING/GIVING US UNDERSTANDING IN ALL THE THINGS THAT BELONG TO JESUS (JOHN 14:26)!
FILLING US WITH HIS POWER TO DO GOD’S WORK – GREATER WORKS (JOHN 14:12)!
YES! THESE ARE ALL POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
For too long He has been either ignored or attributed works that are not His. We must get back to a biblical, Scripture-taught understanding of the Holy Spirit and ask Him to take charge of our hearts and lives. This will bring revival through submission to His authority in us through the Word of God and humble dependence in prayer.
Be prepared for a radical work of the Spirit in you!
If you knew there is one thing you need to be extremely effective in ministry, would you ask for it?
Would you abandon tradition if this one thing brought the gospel to millions, would you receive it?
If this one thing produced total unity in the Church, would you submit to it?
How eager would you be to follow this one thing if it required you to be humble?
If the end of God’s work on earth depends on cooperating with this one thing, would you?
Come back to this blog tomorrow and find the answer.
Today was a good day for me. I began with extended prayer and then read Acts 1:5-11. My mind traveled back to the days when Jesus walked the earth He created which was not much different from today. There was political rivalry and a very hard time for all. Uncertainty marked every day.
There was one stable and constant in the midst of all the confusion. JESUS! He did not come to change or resolve unrest in or between nations. He came to turn the attention of individuals away from events in the world to Himself. Just before facing the most unjust trial and death, He left His disciples with words of strong comfort and encouragement.
“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
That was not all He left them with. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
This peace and power was not just for becoming “witnesses,” but for living faithfully in a Godless world. His plan and purpose WILL NOT FAIL! Be sure you are walking close to Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. The world is running to judgment. We are running for glory!
I was given a new book a few day ago written by Robert J. Morgan, On This Day in Christian History. Today’s account focused on the Puritans in the early 1600’s when they voiced their concerns to King James IV regarding the Anglican Church. While their grievances were not heard, they “began worshiping in small groups as they felt the Bible taught them.”
As Paul wrote the Philippians from a prison cell, he makes a very important statement; “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:12–14).
Look at all the good things that came out of Paul being in prison! Whether it is being forced to meet in small groups or seeing some come to Christ because of our circumstances, we need to be thankful for what God is doing even through the present pandemic. He is making us rethink how church is done, causing us to reexamine the Scriptures and follow the model of the Early Church.
We lose spiritual ground when we complain. We gain spiritual ground when we ask God what He is doing, and then join Him!
How should we connect with those who are being persecuted or in areas of the world where Christians are experiencing suffering and trying circumstances because of their faith in Christ? In the present situation, we are not able to go there and walk in their shoes and feel their pressure. We have been asking these soldiers of Jesus to give reports from the front lines.
Joel in Nigeria writes; “Greetings from Nigeria! Thank you for the email which is encouraging to hear from you knowing that people are praying for us over there. The prayer of God's people have been a major factor for the successes recorded this year. Thank God for the privilege to serve and for protection in all the trips we had this year for training and ministry. One great lesson I learned this year is to trust Him in any situation. At a point this year I thought it was over, the Lord proved to keep to His promises. Despite the difficulties, sicknesses and many other challenges the Lord has been with us.
As we begin the new year, pray that God will direct my steps towards His will for my life and family. I do not want to do anything on my own. Also pray that He will use me to impact the lives of many who are in need. Also pray for journey mercies as we travel for training and outreaches in the north east as the insecurity of our roads and communities are becoming so much worse. Pray for protection over our families and God’s providence.”
This should inspire each of us to pray diligently and often for those in Nigeria who carry the gospel of Jesus Christ across their nation and beyond. Physical harm and death may be in their path.
It always touches my heart when we are given prayer requests from those we work with, like this:
“I want God to enable me to be firmly rooted in Jesus so as to draw nourishment from Him to accomplish greater things for God and weather every storm and challenge.” What a request! This reminds me of Paul’s words to Colosse:
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6–7).
We can see from these verses that our brother’s prayer request is right in line with what God was teaching through Paul. Our WALK IN CHRIST should grow if our spiritual roots are drawing the nourishment we need. This comes from a daily commitment to feed on His Word. Maturity will result (“built up in Him”) as we take in the right kind of food. With this development, we become equipped to face the storms and challenges that God allows to come our way.
It is a great comfort to me that Paul experienced and felt many of the same circumstances and feelings we go through in the twenty-first century. Writing from prison, he did not concern himself with the conditions of his cell or the political battles that were current, but with the spiritual state of believers in churches he planted.
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ” (Colossians 2:1–2).
As I have shared with you the conditions and heart of some in Africa, we have this same yearning. We struggle in prayer because we are not able to be present with them. Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp and other communication methods are great, but they lack the personal touch that is gained by visiting in person. Discerning spiritual conditions is more difficult.
I want to know more of Paul’s attitude of “great…struggle” for those who are suffering and need our encouragement. Notice the purpose of Paul’s struggle; that they “reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.” Is this our desire for others in the body of Christ? It should be!
There are times during the year we solicit feedback from our “leaders” on the front lines so we can hear their heart and put careful thought and prayer into their situation. I have selected dear brother Joel in Nigeria who is a key trainer. Remember that persecution is very real in Nigeria.
“Greetings from Nigeria! Thank you for the email which is encouraging to hear from you knowing that people are praying for us over there. The prayer of God's people has been a major factor for the successes this year. Thank God for the privilege to serve and for protection in all the trips we had this year for training and ministry. One great lesson I learned this year is to trust Him in any situation. At one point this year, I thought it is over, but the Lord proved to keep to His promises. Despite the difficulties, sicknesses and many other challenges, the Lord had been with us.
As we begin the new year, I pray that God will direct my steps towards his will for my life and family. I do not want to do anything in my own way. I also pray that he will use me to impact the lives of many who are in need. Also pray for journey mercies as we travel for training and outreaches in the north east as the insecurity of our roads and communities are becoming so bad. Pray for protection over our families and providence. Thank you.”
Our Father who sees us pray in secret here will reward our diligence (Matthew 6:6).
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