"Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work." (John 4:34, ESV)
What did Jesus know about food that prompted His response to his disciples? He knew that food gives a man sustenance or strength to 'carry on’. He knew that food was also enjoyable when hungry. And, He also knew that food was important in the development of community.
Upon returning, the disciples were surprised to hear Jesus say that He had food they were unaware of. They start wondering, "Is He holding out on us? Did someone bring Him food while we were away?" Finally, Jesus tells them, in a teaching moment, a truth that they will never forget. "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work."
Jesus illustrated that doing the Father's will strengthens a man to carry on and do even more. Doing the Father's will is incredibly satisfying and pleasurable. And, doing the Father's will develops deep intimacy with the Father. Jesus was clearly making a point; doing His will is what I live for! He sent me to do it. That gives me a mission. And I live to complete that mission! Paul believed this too: "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:24, ESV)
Purpose to do His will, daily.
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:6–7, ESV)
We all have a time of departure in the timings of God. On that day, we will be finished with all of our earthly work. Listen to Paul's words: "already poured out, departure, have fought, have finished, and I have kept the faith.” He sounds like a man who is done. He sounds like a man who knows he has reached the end and is okay with that.
What gives him such satisfaction at the end of his days? One, he contended well with all adversity that came his way. It was a good fight, and he had won. Two, he kept going when everything inside him said, "Stop!" God's presence gave him the grace to finish. Three, amid all the struggles of life, he kept the faith. He had not doubted God or given up on God. Four, he knew by Holy Spirit leading that the end of his life was near. Five, like a drink offering, he was already being poured out.
Paul had exhausted everything that God had given him to do. When he checked his 'to-do' list, it was empty. Oh, to reach the end of life satisfied and have such a testimony! Read our scripture once more.
"So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied." (Acts 9:31, ESV)
Some scriptures make you say, "Ahhhh." This scripture is one of them! The church found itself in the season of peace and comfort, walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It is excellent when the church is functioning like 'clockwork.' All the moving parts are in working order and doing what needs to be done to stay accurate.
First, the church had peace with God and peace with one another. Peace is the absence of all anxious feelings. It was at rest while at the same time multiplying. Next, the church was being built up and edified. The Greek word used here implies being assembled together. The gifts were functioning in order. Each one was drawing strength from the other, and as grace was mutually shared, the 'whole ship' was lifted up together. May this be a goal to aim for in the body of Christ!
The church was also walking in the fear of the Lord. This means they walked with an awareness of eternity and God's presence. The Presence of God affected how they lived morally. Last, the church lived, drawing strength from the Holy Spirit like a plant would draw strength from a stake. What a beautiful picture of the Bride of Christ! Let us make ready.
"I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me .... He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11, ESV)
John the Baptizer knew that the Kingdom transition, that was taking place during his watch, would require Messiah's followers to be filled with Holy Spirit and fire to advance. He knew that Messiah would be the one to baptize the ecclesia with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Baptizer knew that the Kingdom's direction would require its subjects to be immersed in Holy Spirit and fire.
Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. With Him comes the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. With Him comes the power to be genuine witnesses of Christ. The fire consumes what is not of the Kingdom, every tree not bearing fruit. The fire purifies the works of the righteous! The fire is to burn inside the followers of Christ. It motivates the Saints to action. Example: Jeremiah said, " ...there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot." (Jeremiah 20:9, ESV)
Fire speaks of the power of God. It fell on Moses' Mount Sinai, Elijah's sacrifice, and Solomon's new altar—and that fire will fall on every new believer who asks for it. The church was born in the fire and was created to live in the fire of God
"Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty." (Acts 6:3, ESV)
One thing the Holy Spirit does in the body of Christ is to create a 'level playing field.' Anyone filled with faith and the Holy Spirit will do great things! Chapter six starts with the words, "Now in those days," meaning that it was a time in which the number of disciples was increasing. Some complaints arose as well. Revival is not always without problems, but it will always have answers because it is God's work. The complaint was that people were getting overlooked. The solution was to find deacons. These deacons were to be men who could serve well, men of a good reputation full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.
The people chose seven men who fit this description. Stephen, one of the seven, is called a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit. (vs. 6) He is said to be full of grace and power, doing mighty works in verse eight. When people tried to dispute his preaching, it was said of him, "But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking." (Acts 6:10, ESV) Are you full of the Holy Spirit and faith? Do not disqualify yourself! Deacons, believers who serve, are more than just table servers. They are decimators of darkness.
"Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert place." (Acts 8:26, ESV)
An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip! That is wild! The angel tells Philip to get up and go toward the south road that goes down to Gaza. That is specific direction. And I love this phrase, "This is a desert place." To be called to a desert is rough. Spirit-filled followers of Christ often have wild encounters. And they are often led by God into rough places to win a testimony for Him.
"And the Spirit said to Philip. Go stand by that chariot." This is Philip, the evangelist! The man in the chariot that Philip spoke to 'just happened' to be reading the scroll of Isaiah. God is wild! What a 'setup!' Philip explained to the man the meaning of the scriptures. He gives his heart to Jesus and wants to be baptized. And there happens to be a body of water in the desert for the man to be baptized in! That's Wild!
And it gets wilder! "When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Meanwhile, Philip found himself in the town of Azotus." (Acts 8:39–40 NLT) Where he continued preaching. Following God is wild, but wild makes it fun! What a testimony of a spirit-filled deacon! Jesus, give us wild testimonies!
"And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" (Acts 9:4, ESV)
An encounter is a meeting that is most often unplanned or unexpected. Saul, a persecutor of Christians, is on his way to Damascus to arrest those who follow Jesus. He sees a bright light, falls to the ground, and hears Jesus speaking to him. That is an encounter with God, a meeting that was not on Saul's calendar, nor was he prepared for it.
The majority of 'God encounters' with people change their lives forever. It changed Saul's life, purpose, and calling in a single moment. When we pray, one of the things we should ask God for is encounters. “God encounter my children, my grandchildren, my pastor, my husband, my wife, etc.” Encounters make an impression on people that cannot soon be forgotten.
Ananias also had an encounter with the Lord. It was an unexpected meeting for which he was not prepared. The Lord spoke to him in a vision and directed him to go to Saul and give him a message (from the Lord). The Lord also told him to lay hands on Saul, for he had a vision of someone laying hands on him and receiving his sight.
This encounter resulted in Ananias obeying, Saul receiving his sight, and immediately Saul started preaching Jesus. Take a moment and think about all the people who encountered God in the Bible. God changed their lives! Let's believe God for encounters for ourselves and for others. One encounter and all of Asia was changed through Paul's changed life!
"While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word." (Acts 10:44, ESV)
What happens when a devout man, hungry for God, and a hungry man praying and filled with the Spirit meet up? Answer: WILD THINGS!
What kind of wild things? One, an angel shows up in a vision and speaks to Cornelius, giving him explicit directions to where he can find Peter. Two, Peter, a Jew, is hungry and praying on top of a house. He falls into a trance. He hears, "Don't call something unclean if God has made it clean." Three, Peter goes to Cornelius' house, and while preaching, the Holy Spirit falls on Cornelius and all his household! A Jew, who is not supposed to go into a gentile's house, is in the gentiles' house preaching Christ, and the Holy Spirit falls on the gentiles (the 'unclean' folks)! God totally interrupted Peter's sermon! He was prompting his attention to something—Anyone can get the Holy Spirit if they are hungry enough.
Who gets the Holy Spirit? Those who are hungry for more of God! Cornelius was such a hungry man. Not only did he want more of God, but he gave himself away in offerings to others and the poor. This got God's attention! God loved the man for his hunger and his integrity in serving others. So much so that He was willing to interrupt Peter's excellent message. Actually, He confirmed Peter's message with signs and wonders following.
"These people are out to destroy the world, and now they've shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear!" (Acts 17:6, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language)
This is how sinners speak of Christians, especially those active in their faith, bringing people's lives in alignment with the Kingdom of God. When the Kingdom of God advances, the world or the kingdoms of darkness are threatened! They lash out. They attack because they know they cannot overcome the light. They accuse us because they are jealous of our freedom.
I love the reputation that the church, the ecclesia, has all over Rome's empire. This reputation is the power of the Gospel in the hands of Spirit-filled believers. The Gospel changes hearts; therefore, it changes people, families, friends, and cities. Because the Gospel brings such change, the old order of darkness must go, and a new order of light comes through Jesus Christ.
In the Old West, many towns were dark. They were filled with ruthless cowboys, shady gamblers, and selfish tycoons. Wicked men shot out windows, drank heavily, and threatened ordinary folks. The law was powerless to help. Then a new sheriff would come into town, bringing law and order. What was once a hell hole now became a place of peace, a free town. All the 'riffraff' had to go or come into alignment.
It is no wonder the darkness is afraid and resists. The Holy Spirit empowers the church to bring change! Life-giving change
"And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." (Acts 19:2, ESV)
I have always found the response of the God followers in Acts 19:2 to be somewhat comical. "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." The scripture closely ties together belief in Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit. Answer this: "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" If you answered 'No,' the next question is, "Why not?" Seriously, why not? In Paul's mind, believing in Jesus and receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit are not the same, but they are so close you do not want to separate them. If you are going to believe in Jesus, then go all the way and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit! Don't cut yourself short. Don't miss the gift given to us. It is as if Paul is saying to these new disciples of Jesus, "Get the whole package!"
Why buy a car with no tires? Why buy a truck with no engine? The two go together if you are going to go anywhere or get anything accomplished. If you read on, in Acts 19, these twelve men helped the Apostle Paul destroy the chains of darkness imprisoning a city. Christians cannot underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit in the believer's life. "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
"Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul" (Acts 19:11, NKJV)
Webster defines 'unusual' as not common or rare. Before reading any further, try and answer this question; "What would be an unusual miracle to you?" Paul would touch handkerchiefs and aprons. These handkerchiefs and aprons would be taken to sick people, and ill people would be made well and delivered from evil spirits.
It was also unusual that people would be healed by Peter's shadow passing over them. The point we must understand in each incident is that Paul and Peter were carrying the tangible presence of God. God, in Peter and Paul, was working unusual miracles. The key understanding in our scripture is that God was working miracles.
The miracles testify to the presence of God. The miracles point back to Jesus. Jesus is the healer. Now, 'serve Him' becomes the message! We can't lose sight of the fact that twelve men just received the Holy Spirit and had the power to be witnesses too. Paul was their fearless leader breaking into the darkness with light and life, fighting to set the captives free.
God wants to do unusual miracles in our day! He is looking for people willing to go where it is dark or where darkness abounds and shine for Him. Filled with God, we must be willing to go for God to reach lost people. I have a sneaking suspicion that we would see more unusual miracles if we would go with purpose, knowing God sends us to be witnesses.
"There were about twelve men in all." (Acts 19:7, ESV)
God can do a lot with a little! Mustard seed faith moves mountains. Five loaves and two fish fed five thousand men and their families. One shepherd boy, with a sling, killed a giant of a man with a sword. Three words from Jesus' mouth calmed the wind, waves, and disciples. Yes, God can do a lot with a little!
When Paul came to Ephesus, he found it one of the darkest cities he had ever been in. It was so dark that he decided to stay and spread a little light. He found about twelve men. Those men put their faith in Jesus. Paul laid hands on them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they took a city for Jesus over the next two years! Twelve men under Paul's leadership took a city!
Yes, God is looking for a few good men. A few good Holy Spirit-filled men who fear nothing but sin and love only God. Men who have always wanted to be more than what they are. Men who love Jesus and desire to serve Him only!
Think of it! Starting with twelve men, Paul took a city, changed a culture, and destroyed the idol-making market. Men of God, get filled with the Holy Spirit and let us together bring beautiful change to our families, cities, and culture. Hmmm... with just twelve men.
"And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting." (Acts 2:2, ESV)
"And suddenly!" We find these words in many places in the New Testament and throughout the Bible. One Lexicon called these 'suddenlies' prompters of attention. In many places, the translation of the Greek word becomes 'look, listen, pay attention, behold, etc. We can undoubtedly say the sound of a mighty rushing wind and tongues of fire over each one's head, along with them speaking in tongues, definitely prompted their attention! To what????
“…this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” (Acts 2:16 KJV). The 'suddenly' prompted their attention to the fact that the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus, had just been poured out upon them! And it would be as He said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you to be my witnesses."
The people began hearing in their native languages the wonderful works of God. People filled with the Holy Spirit instantly became witnesses and did not know it! So many times, the Holy Spirit uses us, and we do not even know it! Speak the wonderful works of God and see what Jesus does through you! Peter was moved to answer the accusations that were being spoken against the 120 believers. The result was, "What must we do to be saved?" Three thousand were born again at that moment! This 'suddenly' prompted the attention of 120 to be witnesses, like Jesus said!
"But the one who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:13, ESV)
If there is one thing my parents did well, it was to build endurance in my sister and me. Farm life is a good life, but it can sometimes be difficult. Dad and mom wanted to be sure they instilled in us the ability to endure.
Jesus stressed to the 12 the importance of enduring. The word 'endures' is different from the word 'patience.' Endurance means to be successfully resistant. Like a wounded person resists pain or a person of integrity resists bribes. Jesus tells the Twelve that they will have to actively resist the external pressures designed to crush them. To give in will cost you your heavenly destination.
This word, 'endures,' "is not motivated outwardly by public opinion or hope of reward but inwardly by love of honor." (TWNT Abridged.) "Affliction produces endurance and endurance character, character hope and hope does not disappoint us." Romans 5:3-4 Hopes' most significant expression is in times of affliction. It promises that if we endure, we will also reign with Christ. 2 Timothy 2:12
The promise of enduring is we "will be saved!" The word for saved is sozo. 'Saved' is more than just getting to go to heaven. Sozo is the salvation of the total man! Sozo is translated as physical healing in many places. It is translated as delivered in others. It speaks of salvation in yet other places. Jesus said, "But the one who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:13, ESV) If you don't quit, you win!
"But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." (Matthew 24:2, ESV)
The Bible is full of ‘dos’ and 'don'ts.' Most people do not like that fact, but Matthew 24 has four powerful DONT'S. These 'don'ts' will save your life if you heed them now and at the end of the age. Let me list them:
As Jesus answers the question of the disciples, he starts to lay before them signs of the coming of the end of the age. These signs were quite disconcerting to the twelve. Therefore Jesus gave them something to do in response to these signs when they saw them.
The truth will keep you from being deceived. Know it! The spirit of fear causes men to fall and shrink back in a time when they need to be thinking clearly. Don't be afraid. All the pressures of those days will cause many to become offended at God, and others they will fall away. Guard your heart, and do not pick up an offense. Because of rampant sin, the love of many will grow cold. Stir up love and remember your first love.
Do these 'don'ts,' and you will do well. "But the one who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:13, ESV)
"But when the King came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn't wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?' But the man had no reply." (Matthew 22:11–12, NLT)
Jesus tells a parable that the Kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a wedding feast for His son. He sends His servants out to call those invited to come. The invitation is key to this parable. It reveals God's heart: "I desire you to be here!" God's tender heart genuinely desires those invited to come and share in His joy over His Son and His Son's bride.
Three times in this parable, an invitation is given to a group of people. The first invitation is ignored. The response to the second invitation is, "We are too busy." And some of them kill the servants. The third invitation is unique in that it goes out to everyone, good and bad. The banquet hall is filled with guests!
When the King comes in to greet the guests, He is thrilled until he sees a man without a wedding garment. He questions him, "How did you get in here without a garment?" The man has no answer or excuse. And he is swiftly bound, removed, and tossed into outer darkness. The King invites everyone to the wedding, but proper attire (righteousness) is required. The point of the parable: God will let anyone in, but you must have the right garment to stay!
"so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;" (Colossians 1:10, ESV) (30 words)
Years ago, a friend told me, "Everything about you communicates. Your words, your actions, your expressions all say something." He was helping me to see that in leadership, we have to be aware at all times of the messages we are sending. It is not just our words that speak. It is also our actions and expressions.
Paul, writing to the church in Colossae, was encouraging them "to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord." The word 'walk' is a word that speaks of movement that expresses life, in our case, the life of Christ. It is not just going for a walk. Manner is a word that means habit or custom. Worthy means to have great merit and worth, to be admirable. What Paul is challenging us to do is to remember that Jesus is Lord. The measure that I am aware of the presence of the Lord affects the measure of holiness and obedience I walk in.
Let everything about us communicate the great worth of being in Christ. Let everything about us look like, sound like, and act like Jesus, Son of God. Modesty is in vogue in the Kingdom. Wholesome talk is always the Kingdom way. Love is the culture of the Kingdom. Everything about you communicates. Are you walking in a manner worthy of the Lord?
"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?" (Luke 6:46, ESV)
If I want to call Jesus Lord, I must seriously evaluate my level of obedience to Him. "Jesus is Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all" is an expression that challenges us. Lordship implies that He is the Master, and I am the servant. Lordship means that He has authority over my life and leads me where He wills. I am reminded of the words of Jesus to Peter in John 21:18, "when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go." Jesus was referring to the kind of death Peter would endure. As Jesus restores Peter after his denying Him, He again 'connects the dots' for Peter: "My Lordship in your life is based on your obedience to me."
If Jesus is to be the Lord of our lives, then our lives must be lived out in obedience to His word. Lordship is based on surrender, and surrender is based on my willingness to obey. My obedience is based on my love for Him. His words, "If you love me, you will obey my commands." This is not behavior modification; it's heart transformation through receiving His love! Lordship must reflect obedience. Lordship is a constant call to daily surrender to Him. It is the daily surrender that permits us to call Him Lord genuinely.
"And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23, ESV)
"If" though small in stature, is mighty in influence. "If" has commanding authority. It can be an open door or a closed gate. When Jesus uses the word 'if,' we cannot just read over it.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus calls us to count the cost of following Him. To be His followers means that daily we carry our cross. The cross was an instrument on which a man died. Every day this is to be done. It is not a one-time event. It is not just for a little while. Taking up one's cross is to be done every day of the Christ follower's life. It means we die daily to our will and submit wholeheartedly to His purposes. In so doing, we free ourselves to live according to the leadership of the King of the Kingdom.
Taking up our cross daily means we are ready to follow His leadership at a moment's notice. I am reminded of our Lord's prayer in the garden, "Not my will but yours be done." The cross was before Him. Listen to the "if' that Jesus faced: "My Father, "if" this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done." (Matthew 26:42, ESV) The specific condition that Jesus met—the cross—opened a new eternal world of light and life for you and me. When you take up your cross and follow Him, what part of eternity opens to you?
"Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." (Matthew 19:21, ESV)
"If" is a flag that marks a specific condition. It is such a small word, but it carries such heavy weight. "If you would be perfect" is a conditional clause. In other words, to be perfect, what do I have to do? What are the conditions? The man comes to Jesus and asks three questions: What must I do to have eternal life? Which commands do I need to keep? And What do I still lack?
Jesus answers all three questions. All the while leading him to a deeper and deeper place of commitment. Jesus' response sounds like this: Keep the commands, keep specifically named commands, keep this command, which became very personal. Here is what the man is told to do to be perfect: sell all you have, give away all you get, and come and follow me. It sounds like it cost the man everything to follow Jesus. That is why he went away sad.
"If" is a flag that marks a specific condition. To be perfect, what would be the specific condition in your life that Jesus would mark with a flag? The Lordship of Jesus in the life of a believer is no small thing. Lordship is more than miracles, happy worship, and scriptural musings.
“Then Jesus said, “Once there was a father with two sons.” (Luke 15:11, TPT)
It is a terrible thing to have a bad heart physically. But it is even worse to have one spiritually. In Luke 15, we find a Father that has two sons. The pain of the passage is that both sons have bad hearts spiritually. One son takes his share of the Father’s inheritance, runs off, and squanders it all. His bad heart is evident. The other son stays at home doing all the Father asks, working for his Father, and more. Everyone does not see that he has a bad heart too.
Neither son has a right heart toward the Father. The younger son, who is far away, has a heart that is also far from the Father. But the older son’s heart is just as far away, but he lives at home with the Father. The younger son has wrong behavior and wrong heart. The older son has the right behavior but a wrong heart. And since God looks at the heart, these boys are tragically in spiritual trouble.
But the younger son comes to his senses! He has a heart change and desires to return his heart to the Father. The Father, upon seeing his son runs to him, hugs him, kisses him, clothes him, and receives him. THE PARTY BEGINS! The older son hearing of his young brother’s change of heart and nearness to the Father is angry. Though at home, his heart is far from Father’s.
Which son are you? What a tragedy to be in church but have your heart far from the Father. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.
“But the Lord says, “The captives of warriors will be released, and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved. For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children.” (Isaiah 49:25, NLT)
The Lord fights for our children. This tells us much about God’s heart toward our children and us. Every parent needs a promise from God regarding their children. And in Isaiah 49:25, we are given one: “I will save your children!” Parents, you must become spiritually armed with promises to take into your prayer closet as you fight for your children’s souls and lives. There is power in the promises of God, for they are Spirit and life (John 6:63)!
If you are to pray for your children and grandchildren, you have to know that God is for them more than you are! Therefore, when you pray for them, you must agree with God, who has already provided and can carry it out. In short: All we have to do is show up in prayer! The promises run deep!
How do you pray for your children? Talk to God about your children throughout the day. Do it in the morning during devotions. When prayer becomes a familiar ritual, pick a new scripture to pray over them. Remember prophetic words spoken over them and impressions given to you by the Spirit. Pray into those words. Take scriptures that God has made known to you and pray them. Make prayer one of your healthy habits. Establish your custom as one to pray for your children and grandchildren. God will come and save them!
Below is a PDF handout you can use with scriptures you can pray over your children and grandchildren.
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63, NLT)
Spirit and life! I love the sound of those two words rolling off the lips of Jesus! One of the best things I can do for my family is to pray the Word of God over their lives and into their hearts. Praying the Word of God releases the supernatural ability of God to work in that family member's life. Praying the Word of God over their lives releases angels to help them. “What role then, do the angels have? The angels are spirit-messengers sent by God to serve those who are going to be saved.” (Hebrews 1:14, TPT)
If believers had more revelation of the power of their prayers, especially for family, they would pray and not lose heart! I am so thankful to have praying parents who fought for my salvation in the place of prayer. I still ask them to pray for me. They may have gray hair, but they have tested faith. They know how to contend in the spirit for my family and me. Spouses who pray for one another are doing themselves a favor! Parents who pray for their children are contending for generations yet to come. Life is hard enough, let alone doing it without the help of God. I want my wife, sons, and grandkids to have the greatest advantage I can give them—Spirit and Life, from the heart of a loving husband, proud father, and awesome pawpaw!
“As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination ...” (Acts 16:16, ESV)
I chuckled as I read this passage today. It was the first time I saw this verse’s first part, even though I had read it so many times. Paul and Silas were being ‘highjacked’ on their way to prayer. How many times has that happened to you? You are just heading out the door and spill coffee on your shirt or blouse. You get in your car, turn the key, and nothing. A friend calls and needs your assistance. Anyone with a prayer life has experienced these delays or interruptions. They may be frustrating, but they are not the end of the world. I am not sure that Paul and Silas even spotted the demon at first. If you read on, she had been doing this for many days prior.
I have found in my Christian walk that you have to fight for your prayer life. The devil will throw whatever he can into your path to distract, discourage or destroy your prayer time. What we have to do is realize when he is working. Like Paul, we have to get annoyed, rise, and speak to the spirit that continues to annoy us from praying. Look at it this way; you threaten his vile kingdom when you pray. When you pray, you are bringing heaven to earth! So bring it, Saints! Pray like crazy!
"And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together." (Acts 16:13, ESV)
Merriam's dictionary defines a 'motley' crew as an unusual mixed group. I think that is a perfect description of most prayer groups. You find all kinds of different people in prayer groups. The beautiful thing about it is this—Jesus loves them, with all their quirks, all their differences, and all their backgrounds. His heart is thrilled because people from all walks of life gather at a place of prayer. I like to think of it as He is already there when they arrive and joyfully greets them all.
Acts 16:13 is also interesting because there is an established place of prayer, a noted place of prayer. So much so that when Paul arrives at Philippi, he inquires where there is a place of prayer in the city, and people can tell him. How about you? Do you have a place of prayer, or are you aware that believers gather together in a particular area to seek God and petition Him for their city?
Let me also mention that Paul found in Philippi a problem common to the church today; "we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together." Gentlemen, God needs you to be in the place of prayer. You have a voice and an authority given by God to shake cities! Don't underestimate who you are in Christ.
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