A Prayer for Thanksgiving

“Give us enough trials to keep us strong,

     enough tears to keep us tender,

     enough hurts to keep us humane,

     enough failure to keep us humble,

     and enough faith to keep us confident in You

     O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.”

~ Taken from Being Still With God, by Richard and Henry Blackaby

photo by Donna Bannister

Settle it on the Front End

I received a prayer request recently from a friend whose loved one needed prayer.  He was having difficulty believing that God could love him.  He felt that he was “too bad” and had “sinned too much”.  But Scripture tells us that God loves us and that He pursues us.  This can be a difficult concept for us to believe and understand when so much in our life is based on the conditional.  It can be especially difficult for those whose earthly father was not as loving as he should have been.

In Experiencing God, Dr. Henry Blackaby says, “The cross, the death of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection are God’s final, total, and complete expression that God loves you.   Never allow your heart to question God’s love.  Settle it on the front end of your desire to know Him and experience Him.  He loves you.  He created you for a love relationship.  He has been pursuing you in that love relationship.  Every encounter He has with you is an expression of His love for you.  God would cease to be God if He expressed Himself in any way other than perfect love!” 

Charles Spurgeon put it this way in his book, Morning and Evening:

“It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.  He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.”  All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within.  But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.”  Remember, therefore, 

  • it is not your hold of Christ that saves you–it is Christ; 
  • it is not your joy in Christ that saves you–it is Christ; 
  • it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument–it is Christ’s blood and merits; 

Therefore, look not so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope; look not to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.  We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.  If we would at once overcome satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.”  Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon your mind; when you awake in the morning look to Him; when you lie down at night look to Him.  Oh! let not your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.   “My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness: I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.”

Aha! That’s it!

Army Angels

Ever had an “aha” moment?  One of those “can’t see the forest for the trees” kind of experiences?

When reading about the Divine Weapons that God has given for our protection as we navigate through life (Eph. 6:10-18), it always bothered me that there were only six weapons listed instead of seven.  Every time I saw a poster or drawing of the “Armor of God” the thought would come back to me again:  “Why only six?”

Put on the Armor of God

Really, it was no big deal because I had no Scriptural support for thinking there would be seven weapons listed other than the fact that seven is such a symbolic number in Scripture.  Seven is the number of perfection and completeness.  So it just made sense to me that there should be seven weapons listed in the Armor of God.

Then one day, I really read it.

Let’s read and we’ll count…

 “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the FULL armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

Therefore, take up the FULL armor of God, SO THAT you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

Stand firm therefore,

(1) Having GIRDED YOUR LOINS with TRUTH (like a belt buckled around your waist)

(2)  Having put on the BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS

(3) and having shod YOUR FEET with the PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;

(4)  In addition to all, taking up THE SHIELD of FAITH with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

(5)  And take THE HELMET of SALVATION,

(6)  and the SWORD of the SPIRIT, which is the WORD OF GOD.

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…”

But wait, read that last sentence again carefully (verse 18).  Once armed, how do we take our stand against the devil’s schemes?

(7)  Through prayer!  The SEVENTH powerful piece of our Armor!  “With all PRAYER and petition PRAY at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…

As I read that final verse, I thought… “DUH!!!”  And “Aha!!”

Reminds me of a true story I once heard about a group of soldiers who consistently prayed the 91st Psalm in combat.  Let the Lord speak to you as you read and spiritually put on your FULL armor.  Our God is powerful and so is the Divine Armor He has given us…but the choice to put on the WHOLE armor of God is up to us.  Every piece is vital!

 The Soldier’s Psalm

Almost 100 years ago, during World War I, the 91st Infantry Brigade of the U. S. Expeditionary Army was preparing to enter combat in Europe.  Because their commander was a devout Christian, he assembled his men and gave each of them a little card on which was printed the 91st Psalm, the same number Psalm as their brigade.   They agreed to recite that Psalm daily.  After they had begun praying the Psalm, the 91st Brigade was engaged in three of the bloodiest battles of World War I — Chateau Thierry, Belle Wood and the Argonne.  Other American units that fought in the same battles had up to 90 percent casualties, but the 91st Brigade did not suffer a single combat-related casualty.

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
     

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
“With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

 

Grind it, Gather it, Pluck it, and Drink

Cereus Nocturne Part One

As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.”

~ Luke 5:16

Praying you will find some additional time this week to slip away from your usual routine and enjoy an extended period of time alone with the Lord Jesus…lounging in His presence, reflecting on His Word, and basking in the glow of His love.

Charles Spurgeon once said:

‘There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech.  We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in His service.

We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . .

Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life?

  • Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word.
  • They love the wheat, but they do not grind it;
  • they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it;
  • the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it;
  • the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it.

From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .’