39” And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 NASB
All these: Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, walls of Jericho, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. All these had a testimony of faith and did not see God’s promise fulfilled in their lifetime. They saw the promise was for the future and embraced that. They recognized a heavenly, kingdom minded purpose that God had ordained for them. So I have to ask myself, am I willing?
Am I willing to look at what God needs for His kingdom and not look at any immediate manifestation in my lifetime? Do I have that kind of faith? Are there others that will come after me that need to be served by my heart for God’s purposes? Am I willing to even ask that question of God?
That’s a tough question. But the tougher question is: What if I’m not willing? As I look at the young men and women in my Sunday School class, the classrooms of students in guest teaching opportunities, connections through work, online communities and blogs, speaking engagements, etc. What happens if I am selfish? What about God’s purpose? How does it affect thousands of others I don’t know and may never know?
Lord, I pray that Your purpose will always come first in my life. I pray that I keep my eyes set on a heavenly horizon. Thank you for always giving me Your best. Thank you for Your grace and mercy and love. Thank you for Your faithfulness to every need, both today and generations to come.
1”Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV
When I read these words, I think of every minister, preacher, missionary, evangelist – every Christian — to be surrounded by people that walk and talk like Jesus because of their personal imprint on hearts around the globe as an incredible testimony! Wow. Think of all the people in the world, on our block, in our sphere. We have God’s mail we are supposed to deliver! This is why I always ask God to search my heart. I don’t trust my heart but I always trust His. His hand in my life can do things that I may not be able to see or touch or ever know about. It all counts for His kingdom. If others can simply see Him in me, He will do the rest.
Bless these words from You, Father, and make them a meditation of my heart. I praise Your Mighty Name! I praise Jesus, Your Son, the Name Above All Names! Make me into a living letter from Christ. Make me into Your image. His image. Continue to write Your words on my heart, Lord. Make me that vessel that Your living water can flow through freely.
“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 NIV
I have the sense that prayer creates forward motion…on many planes: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Active prayer engages with hope and anticipation. It means we lean INTO it. We lean FORWARD in prayer. I liken it to a suspenseful movie or conversation that makes you lean so far forward that you are on the edge of your seat. It feels like if you move one millimeter closer, you are going to fall right out of your chair. Plop! Right onto the floor.
I believe that it is that supernatural tension that keeps us suspended in mid-air. It keeps us from falling out of our spiritual chair, so to speak.
I have never prayed so hard that I sweat drops of blood like Jesus. However as I have prayed during particularly hard times, I have felt the sensation that God was carrying me. That I was staying afloat by supernatural means. I believe the only way that occurred is through a prayer full of surrender and total reliance on God. I still struggle. I still mess up. I start picking up old patterns of self-reliance. Ugh. I know it will get better! I am so thankful that God never gives up on me. Sometimes I have to walk through painful reminders to get back to that place of full surrender all over again.
I remain thankful. I know God never leaves me or forsakes me. Even when my hard head gets in the way!
Father, thank you for Your love and Your grace and Your mercy. Teach me to pray. Teach me to pray like Jesus. Teach me to rely on You. Teach me Your ways.
“So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19 NASB
Unbelief. Skepticism. Doubt. Distrust. Suspicion. These words all have a harsh edge to them. They have an intellectual questioning, reasoning or arrogance that we know better.
Confidence. Full trust. Integrity. Strength. Honor.
These words are powerful. It’s like a special additive that super-charges your engine. In order to operate in this state of mind, it’s an “all in” kind of thing. There is no room for doubt and unbelief.
This is where God wants us. He wants us to reside in full trust. Full confidence. In integrity and strength and honor. We are the conduit, but He is the power. He is the fuel that powers it all. In order for Him to ignite the fuel, we have to be able to rest in Him. Not wrestle and fight Him with our intellect and reasoning. Not hanging onto things out of fear.
Fear is a weight that keeps us from being air born in our faith. Picture a hot air balloon. There are all kinds of weights to keep it on the ground prior to take off. The weights have to be jettisoned in order to get the lift required to fly. Similarly, we have to jettison fear in order to rise above the natural and the expected. We have to jettison fear in order to embrace flight. We have to let go in order to grab hold of something new and different.
Remember. God’s thoughts and ways are different than ours. Be open to new and different! Get ready to fly!
Lord, help me trust Your wings and Your destination.
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” Romans 16:17 NIV
Sometimes I have to repent for fear and unbelief. Sometimes I repent for giving up. I have to ask for strength and boldness and courage and wisdom and revelation and discernment. I want to see the gifts that come from standing together united in Christ. I actually have great anticipation about the unification of the body of Christ.
Father, prepare our hearts. Thank you for each and every step. Thank you for giving me the faith and hope to see it through in the spirit. I stand back and marvel at Your handiwork!
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB
Sometimes our minds can get the best of us. When I am struggling with my own reasoning and logic, I look at Paul. Paul was an incredible figure in the New Testament. He was well educated and very versed in the scripture. Acts chapters 21-30 are full of his adventures. Here is what resonates with me about him: First of all, he demonstrated superhuman faith. Faith like his broke bondage in the natural world as well as the spiritual. Imagine a prison break designed by God through praise and worship!
Second, he knew the voice of God and was obedient. No questions asked. He knew how to take every thought captive and step into obedience. Even when everything around him screamed differently, he maintained his faith. In prison. On a ship in stormy seas. In the face of angry spiritual leaders. In front of high-ranking political authorities. He had a story to tell and he stayed true and obedient to it…No matter what things looked like.
God, give me supernatural faith to move large obstacles to glorify You.