Knowing that tomorrow he would be beaten, whipped, tortured, mocked, falsely accused, betrayed, forsaken, sentenced to death and die, what did Jesus do on his last night? What were His priorities, and more importantly, what are the implications for me?
1. He had dinner with His disciples
At this dinner, it was filled with tradition, sacred remembrances and new insight. For Jesus took their yearly Passover celebration and brought new significance and relevance to it. He took the bread and the cup and explained how they represented his body which was about to be captured and his blood that was about to be shed. And now, as they ate these, they were to remember Him, as their perfect Passover Lamb.
He said it was a new covenant. Not only did they have the old covenant but He was introducing them to something new- a new covenant of love. So when each of them took the bread and drank from the cup, they we’re initiating the new covenant. The one where His life and death would fulfill the old Passover requisites, but also provide the new covenant promises of healing, eternal life, forgiveness, mercy and grace.
It was a dinner full of power, surprises, and sadness. But it was a priority before He left earth.
2. He washed their feet
How could this humbling and seemingly unimportant act make its way to number 2 priority on Jesus last night?
They were looking for a King with powerful rule in His kingdom and they were expecting a place with him in it. Often they sought that place and asked if this was the time for it to come forth. Jesus was now showing them the nature of His kingdom and the King. He was a servant. Serving in His kingdom was its foundation. Serving others and meeting their needs is the path to “greatness” in His kingdom.
Jesus modeled what service looked like. He bent Himself, stooped before them, lowered Himself to help them with their walk. He refreshed them and prepared them for what lie ahead. Serving them, touching them, humbly, He honored each and every one in the room.
Demonstrating servant hood that night was a priority. They would never forget it and hopefully would live a life of service to others.
3. He agonized in prayer
After dinner, they all went with Jesus to the garden where He often prayed. He asked them to pray with Him, even tho’ He would go and pray “a little further”. They didn’t make it very long before they fell asleep. But He went on, falling to His knees and even on His face. He prayed like no one has ever prayed. He agonized, sweated and even bled, it was so intense.
His prayer wasn’t for His course to change, but that His strength, grace and purpose would fully accomplish God’s perfect plan. He prayed for God’s continued grace upon Him and redemptions reward to come to fruition. He prayed for those involved in the next 24 hours and those in the next 2,400 plus years!
His agony was for us, as well as Him, and it was vital for the fulfillment of all that the next 24 hours held.
What He did on His last night is a model for our life, to prepare us for our last night. These three actions, are to become the core of our Christian experience. He was telling us-
1. Prioritize family gatherings and traditions and remember Jesus. Share the new covenant- take communion together and remember all He’s done for you.
2. Serve each other. Don’t seek to be served. Humbly meet others needs and seek their refreshment.
3. Pray with passion. Don’t fall asleep or forget to put passion into your prayers. Kneel, bow, fall on your face before your Heavenly Father.
Like I said, these are the heart and practice of every believer. They are meant to prepare us not only for heaven but release the King and His kingdom here on earth.
May we prioritize as Jesus did on His last night and: celebrate communion often and with our family, serve others humbly and pray with passion.
At one time or another, we all wonder if we are in the right place at the right time. Because this is such a universal experience, this series seeks to illuminate for us, people who’s situations sure didn’t appear that they were in the right place, and yet, they were in the exact right place at the exact right time and were used in some pretty astounding ways.
In review, you will remember:
Job, a target, who in spite of his success, suffered greatly and was rewarded with great surprises.
Elihu, a spokesman, a tender young man, who waited patiently to speak and become a truth-teller.
Esther – a queen, and beautiful orphan, who lived as an exile but became queen with a brazen voice who blessed her people
Today, we will look at:
Daniel, a wise man. Purposed. Prophetic. Powerful.
As I write this, Christmas is next week, so it is not uncommon to consider wisemen this time of the year. I’m sure you remember those guys who came from the East, bringing gifts to baby Jesus. They were considered learned astronomers and wise in academia and spiritual understanding. The East at the time offered the best of learning of everykind, and these men came to Jesus, based on what they knew and understood about when the Messiah would be born. They had traveled a great distance, fueled by their learning, to present their gifts to this child wonder.
But long before these wise men sought to find Jesus there was another wise man. This wise man tho’, was different.
Daniel – a wise man
This wise man, Daniel, wasn’t even really a man yet. He is described (in the book that bears his name, Daniel 1) as a youth, or young man. Scholars believe he was actually an extrordinarily gifted prince in Israel. King Nebuchadnezzar, of Babylon had come to Jerusalem, overtaken it and taken captives back to Babylon, he took the cream of the crop.
Those that he deported were,
“… of the royal family and nobility… youths without blemish, of good appearance, skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding, learning, competent to stand before the king…”
Daniel 1:3-4 ESV
These adolescence were the AP (advance placement) kids at school, who were also eagle scouts or gold award recipients. They attended the finest of private schools, were involved in community service projects, were tutored in etiquette, manners and public speaking. Daniel and his three friends were the “Creme de la Creme”. They were going places! Watch out world.
And here they were being deported to Babylon! What??? This could not possibly be right. This is not who they were training to become, or where they were expecting to live. Talk about hopes dashed and expectations shattered! Their education was not intended to be used in Babylon. How could they be in the right place and this the right time?
It was precisely because Daniel was a wise man that he was taken captive. It was precicely because he was appealing to the enemy king that he was being deported. His training and qualifications were actually all leading him to this very moment. Crazy, right?
Daniel – Purposed
When Daniel arrived in Babylon, he and his three friends were placed in a three year study program. During that time they would be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. Then they would be called before the king to see if he approved of them, their training and their expertise.
During this time, their food was to be the same food and drink that the king ate. They would be offered the best foods and wines, along with the best education, but, this is where the young and wise Daniel spoke up.
Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the kings food, but rather he would eat what foods were kosher to the Jews. After negotiating a plan with chief of staff, Daniel and his friends were proven to be better and fatter than all the others. In fact, we are told that there was none found like Daniel in all of the kings palace. God was with Daniel and gave him understanding, skill and wisdom, he also understood visions and dreams. His purpose had paid off and he was now beginning to realize that just maybe, he was in the right place.
Daniel – Prophetic
In the old teatament times there were men and women who were prophetic, meaning they heard from God and delivered God’s message to people for God. Prophets were recognized in every region and nation. Jehovah God had prophets and even the idols, like Baal had prophets.
A prophet seeks to do what God tells him to do, or say what God tells him to say, go where, etc., you get the point. This was the focus of Daniel’s heart. Here he was in Babylon, not his choice, but it seemed to be God’s. Daniel maintained his devotion to Jehovah God, his prayer, and his dependence upon God for insight, understanding, knowledge and wisdom.
Although the king’s servant had changed Daniel and his friends names to Chaldean names, thus attempting to contradict the truth of those names, none of them turned away from their prophetic destiny. Bred into their names was purpose, destiny, focus and strength and noting in the Babylonian reeducation system could break their resolve to serve Jehovah God.
Let’s peek at those names and their changes:
Daniel means God is judge. Changed to Belteshazzar – Bel will protect.
Hananiah means God is gracious. Changed to Shadrach – inspired of Aku
Azariah means God is my help. Changed to Abendnego – servant of Negro
Mishael means who is like God. Changed to belonging to Aku
Bel, Aku and Negro were all Chaldean gods. Herein lies the contradiction and opposition against them. Would they succomb to this change to their identity, values, practices and devotion?
Nebuchadnezzar and his systemic three year program to reeducate these wise men was all about tearing down their God given purpose, name, resolve and polluting it (reshaping it) for his kingdom.
Daniel cotinued to walk in the confidence of who he was before God. He continued to listen to God’s voice and he continued to speak what God showed him. Nothing was going to change his prophetic calling. No land, no king, no edict, no mandate and no name change.
For the next four chapters in Daniel, we find him interpreting the king’s dream. Being thrown into a firey furnace and surviving. Interpreting another dream. Translating a some grafitti written on a wall by a ghostly hand, during one of the kings banquets. Violating the kings mandate to not pray to god for 30 days. Being thrown into a hungry lions den, AND SURVIVING (again!).
This man was moving in the prophetic and God was all over him! Was he in the right place at the right time? (Duh!?)
Daniel – Powerful
Those experiences would have been more than enough for me to be satisfied that God was using me and I was in the right place and time. But Daniel continued to move in this purposed and prophetic lifestyle until he was 80 years old!
The furnace, lions den and handwriting on the wall were all just tastes of the power that Daniel was about to move into. Daniel’s true power came as he himself had visions and dreams.
His powerful prophetic messages are found in Daniel chapters 7-12, and they are not for the faint of heart. In these chapters he speaks of the end of times and the anti-christ. He sees beasts, The Ancient of Days, a ram and a goat, and he prays for his people. He talks in some veiled way about 70 weeks, a burning face that talked to him, falling down in fear, and kings of the north and south. He talks about the abomination that makes desolate, those who are against God, and the time of the end.
Daniel’s visions have been studied by all the great scholars through the years and many interpretations have been offered. Daniel’s descriptions are duplicated in the book of Revelation, by the Apostle John, who lived some 600 years after Daniel lived! That is powerfully prophetic!
So you tell me, my friend, was Daniel in the right time and place?
Job and Daniel share certain characteristics. They were both successful, educated, leaders, and they both had reason to question God’s timing. Yet, their preparation was exactly what put them when and where they needed to be.
Daniel and Esther start out pretty much as opposites. How could their lives have anything in common? Could they share the notion of being in the right place? Both Esther and Daniel ended up in the king’s palace by the mighty hand of God. Both exactly in the time they needed to be there.
Daniel and Elihu were opposites too, yet both were wise spokesmen at just the right time and the right place.
Dear one, it is my firm belief, that we need more Daniel’s. Those trained in wisdom, insight, and educated in the ways of God (and even academia). Those whose purpose is the prophetic and in the fulness of its intended power. Ones who hear what God is saying and share it. Ones who understand what’s happening, and can give strategic, prophetic direction. Ones who will not bow to the mandates of the king but purpose to obey God alone, no matter the lions den or firey furnace.
God is wanting to equip Daniel’s to speak His wisdom and interpret the signs. God is looking for wise men and women who are purposed, prophetic and powerful.
If that’s you, now is the right time and place.
Next week is our final lesson in this series and we will look at Mary and Joseph – carriers of Jesus. Betrothed. Believed. Became.
Years ago I had the distinct privilege to sit in a hearing of The Supreme Court of the USA. I remember it well, as do the other adults that I was with. There was a reverence, seriousness, silence and awe in the atmosphere. All were nervously leaning in to every word and doing their best to understand the proceedings and legal speech. I will never forget that experience.
The Supreme Court of the US is the “highest court in the land.” That means it is the final arbiter of the law and serves to ensure that we Americans receive equal justice under the law and proper interpretation of the Constitution of the US.
It was established by our forefathers as one of three co-equal branches of goverment in 1789; those three, of course are: The Legeslative Branch (“Congress”, which is housed in The Capitol), The Executive Branch ( housed in The White House, The President’s office and home), and the Judicial Branch (housed in the Supreme Court Building and lead by Chief Justice Roberts with the other eight Associate Justices).
The job of the Supreme Court is to hear controversial cases that have been appealed by states and then determine it’s constitutional standing and accuracy. This is called “judicial review”. Their scope of cases involve law and equity under the constitution; laws of the US; and treaties that have been made.
Our judicial system involves the Supreme Court, at the top, so to speak, but also 13 appellate courts, with 94 federal judges that serve in 12 regional circuits. These are circuit or district courts.
The 94 district courts or trial courts resovle issues by hearing facts and applying legal principles to decide who is right. Each case is decided by a Judge and a jury. Each American adult is expected to take their turn to serve on a jury, it is our duty.
There are also special courts in the US which handle things like bankruptcy, appeals for bankruptcy and Article I courts, (which deal with veterans claims, armed forces appeals and taxes).
Having recently finished reading the book of Job, I was reminded and blown away with the preception that he maintained his innocence before God. Repeatedly he refers to the Almighty as his judge and hearer of his case, as so often he uses legal terms in referencing God. Check out these snipits:
” I appeal my cause to God…” Job 5:8
” my witness is in heaven and he who testifies for me is on high” Job 16:19
” I desire to argue my case with God” Job 13:3
” will you plead the case for God?” Job 13:8
” I will argue my ways to his face” Job 13:15
” I have prepared my case” Job 13:18
In fact, Job has a strong case. God is The Judge. He sits on the circle of the earth and makes all rulers meaningless. (Isaiah 40:23)
We all will stand before the Great Ancient of Days, in the highest court in heaven, where we will see One seated on a firey throne, with flames coming from it’s wheels, and a stream of fire coming from him. Millions upon millions will stand before this Court as the evidenciary books are opened, facts are read and judgment is leveled by he Righteous Judge. (Daniel 7; Revelation 20; Revelation 4 & 5)
In the Throneroom of Heaven, sits the true highest court, and it is within this court that the Lord has taken his place to contend with and judge peoples. (Isaiah 3:13-14)
It is before THIS supreme courtroom of heaven that I emplore you to plead not only your case before God, but in prayer to appeal to the Judge of the Earth on behalf of the cases before the Supreme Court and lower courts of our land at this time.
With seriousness and awe may we lean in to this time in history by bringing our case before heaven’s Supreme Court.
I’d like to give you a visual metaphor that I hope will stay with you as a reminder each time you see these.
Powerlines of all shapes and sizes are scattered throughout the landscape of your life. Have you given much attention to them? Typically they only require our attention when they are not standing as they should, but rather, have been damaged in some way or their line has beed damaged, right?
Those electrical cables suspended between towers or poles provide energy to homes, businesses and everything needing power. They are power lines, they carry power and operate at voltages above 765,000 volts between conductors. That’s alot of power available, alot of power that you and yours are nestled under.
In these lines and supports we have a helpful, spiritual reminder of the power that is always over our heads and avaliable to us. Here’s what I mean –
Those lines represent the Omnipotence of our fearful and loving God, that is always hanging just above our heads. Here’s the meaning of His power, of His “dunamis” that is available to us:
” Dunamis = Strentgh, ability. Inherent power residing in a thing. Power for miracles, moral power, excellence of soul, influence, resources and resting on armies, forces and hosts.”
Strongs G #1411
His power lines are always energized, charged and flowing at full capacity. His power is not low voltage, high voltage or even ultra high voltage. His power created the power and energy in our sun, and it’s temperature is 10,000 degrees F at the surface, and millions of degrees F in the center. His power put those crazy atoms and their electrons orbiting with their energy in every single thing known to man.
Matthew 6:13- … yours is the power, oh Lord
Mark 12:24 – men don’t know the power of God
Luke 4:35 – the power of the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary
Luke 9:1 – Jesus gives us power and authority over all devils and diseases
Luke 10:19 – we have power to tread on serpents
Acts 3:12 – it’s not by might… but by the power of the Spirit
Romans 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel… it is the power of God
Friend, you are nestled under the power lines of God. They are surrounding you. Everywhere you look or find yourself, you will see His power lines. They are over your head and so, so close. (Unless, of course, you are living in a place without electricity, then you won’t see the power lines, but the power will still be there for you.)
But notice please, that those power lines, in order for them to be effective, are supported by structures. Each structure is designed to not only carry the load imposed upon it, but also withstand the elements.
Let’s look at the structure of these two poles first.
These two poles, supporting the power lines can respesent the two pillars needed in our life of:
Prayer – prayer has great power, James 5:16 tell us, and our prayer life supports the power of God in our life. Without the foundation of prayer, our power is not energized.
The Word – His Word is living and active, sharp and powerful. When it is hidden in our hearts and we live by it, the power of God flows in and through us, as does His power. Hebrews 4:12; Psalms 119:9
Our personal prayer life and the time we spend reading, listening to and studying the Bible are the supports in our life we must have in order to experience the fullness of the power of God.
There’s another type of structure that supports these power lines tho’. It is called the tower.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.”
Jesus is our tower of strength. The Lord, Almighty, is where I run for strength, refreshing, renewal, hope, peace, and happiness. And THAT, dear reader, is the support I must have, to expereince His power in my life. The tower that supports my power is Jesus, and His name alone. There is no other name under heaven….
So let’s put it together,
God’s power for the miraculous, for moral rightness, for influence, healings, excellence and even the release of angel armies is available to us, always. And what sustains, supports, and releases that power is our personal prayer life, bible reading, and finding our refuge in His name.
You see, my friend, you are nestled under His power lines, but it is time for that power to flow in your life and be shared with those around you. The power is there, available and sufficient for any need that you or those near you may face. Jesus is omnipotent, and you are connected to Him. Let His power flow through you.
How then, are your support structures?
Your prayer life? Your personal reading of the Word? Finding your refuge in Him and not other sources or influences in your life?
I pray that everytime you look around and see power poles and power lines, that the Holy Spirit will remind you of these ideas and encourage you to tap into God’s power, allowing Him to flow through you, rather than just be nestled under the powerlines.
First off, you probably don’t even use the word, “displeased”, right? For those of you that do, KUDOS! You get a gold star in Vocabulary for the day
Although not difficult to figure out, here is it’s meaning –
“feeling or showing annoyance and displeasure.”
This is the biblical text that got me evaluating what I do when I am displeased –
But when they said, ” Give us a king to lead us, this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.”
1 Samuel 8:6
Other translations put it this way –
“Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance.”
” When Samuel heard their demand … he was crushed. How awful! Samuel prayed to God.”
The Message paraphrase
” And the thing was evil in the eyes of Samuel… and he prayed to the Lord.”
When I read it again this past week, I seriously thought, “Wow! Without the slightest hesitation, when Samuel was displeased, He prayed.” And of course, I began evaluating myself and my first reactions and responses. If we’re keeping score here, Samuel wins this one over me! How ’bout you? What’s your first response when you are displeased?
The Hebrew meanings of these words about Samuel’s response actually mean that he was “broken up, with an expected violent reaction. Figuratively, fear.” In other words, Samuel was so upset with what was happening, it broke him up, He was truly ticked off and in fear.
For Samuel, he was dealing with a political situation. He was the leader of the nation of Israel, and the people were now asking to have a king, “like all the other nations”. Israel had never had a king because The Lord, Jehovah wanted to be their king. But here the people were asking to be like every other nation. They wanted a king.
This is what caused Samuel such displeasure. He couldn’t believe that the Israelites were turning their backs on Jehovah God and denying His authority over them. This tore him up, and in fact it caused him fear. He was afraid for the nation. He was afraid for what it would become apart from God. He was afraid of what would become of it. He feared for the nation.
What do YOU do when you are displeased?
Without missing a step, we see Samuel taking his whole load of displeasure in prayer to the Lord. It’s like it was his go to, basketball pivot – receive displeasure = pivot and go to prayer. As quick and smooth as a Kobe move, receive the hit pivot to prayer.
I am not quite that quick. Kobe’s pivot picture makes me a laughingstock.
The truth here is this. Our displeasure, whatever the cause, can and should be taken to the Lord in prayer.
Whether it’s a displeasure that crushes us or a displeasure that incites fear within us. Be it a displeasure that angers us or confounds us, pivot and take it to the Lord in prayer.
Other choices are to let that displeasure out on another person, or to allow the anger to simmer and boil over into other areas of our life. Or maybe do or buy something stupid, or simply throw up your hands and succomb.
We do have other options for how we handle our displeasure.
But today, this is a spiritual and biblical blog, therefore the option we advise is prayer.
Samuel, in his hurt, questioning, and fear, took it all and poured it out in prayer to the Lord.
What does that mean?
Prayer is simply talking to the Lord. There are alot of different kinds of prayers, but here’s what the Bible says:
” Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. “
” Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
So, we can pray for any reason, on any occasion. We can talk to God anytime, anywhere, for any reason.
But what Samuel did, his kind of prayer was a little different. His prayers actually intervened for Israel, By that, I mean, His prayers stood in the gap for Israel. Israel was on one side of the valley and God was on the other side of that valley. Samuel’s prayers made a bridge, across that valley, and connected Israel with God. He literally intervened to connect Israel with God again.
That is called intercession, when one intervenes in a relationship to bring two together.
Isn’t that what Jesus did?
He came to earth to bridge the gap between God and man. He interceded. That is why the scripture says,
“… Christ Jesus who died is at he right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
Jesus threw himself across that chasm between God and man at the cross. He intervened.
Samuel did similarly. Confounded at Israel’s choices and stubborn refusal to follow God’s ways, afraid for what lay ahead for them, he threw himself between God and Israel in prayer. In his displeasure he immediately pivoted to prayer. Intervening for them all. Standing in the gap for the nation. EVEN THO’ HE WAS DISPLEASED.
Are we any different from Samuel? 2,950 years have passed since he prayed in his displeasure for Israel.
Undoubtedly you have faced displeasure over something recently in your life. If not, Hallelujah. Be prepared tho’, it is coming, because that is the way of life. That displeasure is meant to draw you into a place of prayer with the Lord. A place of interceding for others, intervening on their behalf to the Lord.
You don’t have to be a great spiritual leader or pastor to intercede; all you have to do is lift up that one to God in prayer. Stand before God, in prayer, on their behalf. Stand in the gap for them. Create that bridge across that valley for them.
You can intercede for another. You can make a difference. Your prayers matter. The one you’re praying for needs your prayers and the Lord will hear your prayers. Whether it be for an individual, a family or a nation. Do not hesitate to pray, intervene and intercede. Do not hesitate to pivot and pray.
” Is prayer your steering wheel or is it your spare tire?”
Corrie ten Boom
In these days I suppose that there is a good amount of prayer leaving people’s lips and I include you in that group. Our focus today, is to consider Corrie ten Boom’s question, is prayer your steering wheel or is it your spare tire?
Does your prayer steer where you go, the direction you turn, the course you’re on?
Or, do you turn to prayer when you have had a deflating experience, been punctured or are slowly leaking your life’s joy?
As we consider these thoughts, let’s go to a biblical example of steering wheel prayer – Job. The man who had it all, lost it all but wound up with double in the end.
His story is in the 42 chapters of the Bible book that bears his name.
In quick summary, this man lived in the near East, was extremely wealthy, had a large and happy family, was respected in the community and was considered blameless, upright and God-fearing. (he wasn’t an Israelite either.) Job 1
In a heavenly council meeting, God and Satan were discussing Job’s spiritual character, and Satan was given permission by God to mess with Job, ie: take away his flocks, herds, family, home, possessions and health. Job 1-2
What follows is 35 chapters of Job and his “friends” in dialogue back and forth; they accusing him of sinning against God, and he defending his innocence.
At their first sight of Job, they could hardly recognize him, for the disease that had raveged his body. The four of them sat in silence together, no one knowing what to say, or daring to say anything. This went on for 7 days! Talk about awkward silence??!!
Then the speeches begin. Each takes turn throwing out accusations, assertions, theories, defenses, and logic.
Then, in chapter 38 God shows up and “speaks out of the storm.”
For the next 5 chapters (38-42) God speaks to Job, and asks him questions like:
where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? 38:4
have you given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place? 38:12
where does darkness reside? 38:19
do you know the laws of heaven? 38:33
do you send lightening bolts on their way? 38:35
do you know when the mountain goats give birth? 39:1
does the hawk take flight by your wisdom? 39:26
will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? 40:2
do you have an arm like God’s? 40:9
can you pull leviathan with a fishook? 41:1
Job’s humble answer was, ” I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can the thwarted. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you, therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:2-6
THEN, the Lord spoke again to Job and told him he was angry with his 3 friends because they had not spoken the truth like he, Job had. 42:7
The friends were then told to make an offering and go to Job and have him pray for them. 42:8
We are told that the Lord accepted Job’s prayer and after that prayer, the Lord restored Job’s fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Double the sheep, camels, pairs of oxen, and donkeys. He had another 10 children and this time his daughters received an inheritance among their brothers.
That was sorta a brief summary.
Was Job’s prayer his steering wheel or his spare tire?
He didn’t pray until the Lord gave him direction to pray for his friends. The Lord actually was steering Job’s prayer.
Although he had plenty of deflating, puncturing and slow leaks happen in his life, his prayer was never something he relied on as a fix it for those flattening experiences.
His prayer was definitely a steering wheel, inspired by God to bring restoration and double portion blessing.
Job’s prayer steered the direction of his life and that of his family and friends. Job’s prayer brought liberty and forgiveness to his friends and abundant blessing to his family.
Job’s prayer, steered by God, brought everything that Job needed.
Among the lessons to learn from Job, here are my big 5:
God controls everything
Bad things happen to good people
Friends get it both right and wrong
When God speaks He exposes our smallness
Praying God led prayers brings restoration and double portion
In closing, lets return to the premise. I believe that you are praying.
But what are you praying? Are you praying God led prayers? Are your prayers steered by God? Inspired by God? Motivated by God? Are your prayers steering your life, walk, direction?
For those praying God led prayers comes restoration, double portion blessing, health, and provision.
Will you let Jesus take the wheel? Will you allow him to direct your prayers? Will you let him steer?
If so, you will enter into a new realm of freedom, empowerment, discernment, joy and satisfaction.
Swipe right. Swipe up. Swipe your card here. Swipe at (someone). Swipe out the two. Swiped it from ____. One last swipe of the mop. The cat took a swipe at me. Gently swiped the brush. Etc.
I am so stirred up about us being ripped off! We have been stolen from. So much has been swiped from us.
Yes, it involves the constant swiping of our phones, thumbs and fingers. In those actions, our time and focuses have been and are being robbed at alarming rates and frequency. But there’s so much more than that.
I made a list today of ways in which our lives have been robbed this year. Things that have been swiped from us. See what you can add to this list…
open (unmasked) faces
Geesh! Please add yours. Go ahead, say them out loud.
We have been robbed! We have been ripped off. All these things have been swiped from us!
I am spitting mad! This is enough! No more!
Call me a simple person, but this kind of list does not come from the One who created us, has our best interest at heart, and has plans to prosper us and give us peace. The things on this list are 180 degrees opposite to the loving, caring, satisfying, good, kind, gentle, hopeful, fulfilling, satisfying and rewarding One who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
We have got to wake up America! We are under attact! We are in a spiritual warfare! I can no longer sit silent and not address the elephant in the room.
If you have never before engaged in “spiritual warfare”, now is the time! That simply means, we do not address the issues we see with our natural understanding or in our natural ways. WE PRAY! We seek God’s way of dealing with the issue. We commit it to Him, ask for His insight, strength and strategy. Then, we follow his direction.
The things we see happening in our nation, left unaddressed spiritually, will not end well for us or the nation that we love.
Yet, through a nation in prayer, the tide can change, and miracles will happen.
Our Great God, Creator of the Universe WOULD NEVER rip you off, steal from you, rob you or swipe one thing from you, or your future generations. That is NOT who HE is, how He loves, or what His plan is for you.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The Constitution of the United States, Amendment I
We have no state religion mandated, nor should we have, and that was the desire and intentions of our founding fathers. They saw the damage it had done in the nations they left, which were cause and reason for their Atlantic crossings. At the core of most hearts who came, was the desire for religious liberty. Which included the liberty to be non-religious.
THAT is the foundation upon which our nation was built, regardless of how the history books have been rewritten to exclude the Puritans and Pilgrims.
Fact is fact. Erasing it from the page doesn’t change the fact, it changes people’s remembrance of the fact, or more accurately lack of remembrance of the true facts. And that’s what is being sought.
Did you know when the US Capitol Visitor Center was built in 2008, all references to God were removed from pictures, signs, and all else. The national motto, “In God We Trust” was removed and replaced with “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many one. Speeches were scrubbed, chairs and walls changed, and bibles removed. The Visitor Center was literally stripped clean of any references to any deity.
It was done to supposedly keep with Thomas Jefferson’s “separation clause” – you know, the one that he (supposedly) wrote separating church and state. (Even that is historian’s seeking to erase the facts, because that is not what Jefferson wrote at all in his letter to Danbury Baptist Assoc., in 1802.)
The Visitor Center designers were seeking to erase our foundations and build new memories into future generations. Memories that are devoid of God and His providence in America’s founding.
Have the facts changed though? No.
What has changed is us. Those of us who know the facts.
My favorite Reagan quote is –
Freedom is a fragile thing and never is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”
President Ronald Reagan January 5, 1967
We have taken our liberties and freedoms for granted.
Having lost some of them in the recent months, we now see that more clearly than ever.
But the facts have not changed. We have liberties and freedoms and we must not allow them to be whittled away, or erased from memory. And yet, remember this quote?
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke, 1770
In this new decade, even amidst a devolving pandemic, I urge you to not be that good man who does nothing.
Be a defender of our rights, a preserver of our freedoms from extinction. We have many to defend.
Why not start now?
Start with prayer. Prayer for yourself, prayer for your family, prayer for your neighbors and friends. Prayer for this pandemic to lift, for businesses to reopen, the sick to be healed, workers to be strengthened. Pray for spiritual awakening in our nation, for freedom and justice to prevail, for truth to be upheld. Pray for God to forgive and bless America.
Tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, 2020 is the National Day of Prayer, but it doesn’t have to be, nor should it be a single day.
It is not a constitutional violation to have a day of prayer, quite the contrary. It is the exercise of your religious liberty.
Let’s exercise those religious liberties, lest we loose them.
It would be easy to say “Prayer changed (es) nothing”, or “I see no change”. We had a National Day of Prayer, so what? Big deal! No change.
Let’s be real. Your state has probably amped up it’s restrictions and guidelines. You most likely have family members and loved ones affected in some way. The places you frequent may be closed and your vacation plans are pending major change. Shoot, my son’s wedding, in Hawaii in May is in jeopardy! AND, this what we found at the store today!
But prayer is not an Amazon order. Place your order and have it delivered in one or two days.
The results of prayer are sometimes obvious and other times not. Sometimes immediate other times delayed. Additionally, the results of prayer are not always outcome driven, results orientated. They often have much more have to do with the process, development, personal growth and increase.
That process is most often linked to growing in faith and reliance upon Someone bigger than me, more powerful, trustworthy and really in charge. Because, even though I am driven to be in charge, I really am not. I do not control it all. I must therefore learn to yield my perceived “in charge” to the One who really is.
I believe we will see results, obvious ones, outcome driven ones as a result of the National Day of Prayer. I will share more about that in a moment.
In the “inbetween” time, what do we do?
“Ask and keep on asking. Seek and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking.”
Matthew the disciple, chapter 7 verse 7
Again, prayer isn’t a one time shot – like the famed “hail Mary pass”. It’s a process of trusting in Someone bigger than myself and learning to lean on that strength and understanding. It is having faith in something I don’t see. (Like results). It’s trusting His process in and through me.
With all that being said, I do want to share a personal experience or result that came to me yesterday, on our prayer day.
I was impressed to go the beach and stand on the shoreline and pray. So, guess where I went? On the way, I was reminded of Job’s encounter with God in chapter 38, when God basically blasts Job for his know it all attitude and pelts Job with question after question about creation, nature, weather, and affairs of the man. It is in verse 10 & 11 where God says,
“… I fixed limits for the sea, I said this far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.”
And in that moment, I knew, those words were God’s words to us. In this time. This season. His promise was, that just as the ocean has been appointed limits and boundaries set, so too this virus had set limits and boundaries. AND, as we unite in prayer, those boundaries could be affected and even reduced. Therefore, I was to pray at the beach, on the boundary where sea meets land, “This far and no farther o’ virus. You are under the control of the creator and His limits.”
So what happened? Did the virus miraculously dry up and die? Did it physically leave the bodies it had entered? Did those we lost because of it return to their families? Did the panic and fear disappear?
I dunno. I didn’t see those results. But what I did see (hear and read actually) was increased measures being taken to CONTAIN the virus. Calls for a 15 day containment plan/period. Calls to 65 and older community, to restaurants, movie theatres, libraries. All with the purpose of tightening the lasso on the virus. Enforcing it’s boundaries. Limiting exposure.
“This far and no farther.” Containment. No further infections.
This is again where that whole results thing comes in. I cannot control the results. But I trust and keep on asking the One who does control them. Stop this virus, reel it in, arrest it. I don’t stop or quit. The results are His, but in the process my own life benefits and I grow personally.
So, just maybe there are some pretty miraculous things growing in you, in our nation, in the world as a result of prayer. Let’s keep on asking and trusting Him for the results.