His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3
I often feel completely inadequate for the tasks I face. Whether it’s teaching Sunday school, advising a friend, or writing articles for this publication, the challenge often seems to be larger than my ability. Like Peter, I have a lot to learn.
The New Testament reveals Peter’s shortcomings as he tried to follow the Lord. While walking on water to Jesus, Peter began to sink (Matt. 14:25–31). When Jesus was arrested, Peter swore he didn’t know Him (Mark 14:66–72). But Peter’s encounter with the risen Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit changed his life.
Peter came to understand that God’s “divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). An amazing statement from a man who had many flaws!
“[God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (v. 4).
Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the wisdom, patience, and power we need to honor God, help others, and meet the challenges of today. Through Him, we can overcome our hesitations and feelings of inadequacy.
In every situation, He has given us everything we need to serve and honor Him.
Thank You, Father, for giving me everything I need to serve You and encourage others today. May I honor You in all I do.
God promises to provide everything we need to honor Him with our lives.
Psalm 121 describes the safety that is found in the Lord. Today and tomorrow, let’s look at several verses to better understand our security.
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord” (vv. 1-2). When this psalm was written, robbers dwelled in the mountains, waiting for innocent travelers to become their unsuspecting victims. Not only that, but wild animals also posed a threat. Needless to say, journeying on these remote hilly roads must have caused anxiety and fear.
Our lives can be like mountainous territory. Do you look to the future and wonder what dangers lurk? The Lord is our helper; He alone is able to protect us, regardless of what lies ahead. Friends and relatives can offer limited assistance, but God knows everything and has all the power necessary to rescue us.
“He will not allow your foot to slip” (v. 3). God has provided everything we need in order to avoid sin. The Holy Spirit directs and empowers us; the Word lights our path so we do not slip. Yet at times, we choose to sin. Almighty God could stop us from disobeying, but He doesn’t interfere with our free will. Instead, He upholds us, enabling us to walk in His way.
These opening verses focus on the Lord’s ability to protect us in treacherous times. Whether trouble originates with others, external circumstances, or our own sin, we can find ourselves in danger and afraid. Thankfully, we have a loving Father who leads us to safety.
“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12)
The infrequently used word “furtherance” (meaning simply “advancement”) occurs elsewhere only in Philippians 1:25, where Paul speaks of the “furtherance and joy of faith,” which he hoped to see in the Christians at Philippi, and in 1 Timothy 4:15, where it is translated “profiting.” There, Paul urged young Timothy to continue studying the things of God “that thy profiting may appear to all.”
Paul wrote this epistle while he was unjustly imprisoned in a Roman jail, and no doubt he remembered the time when he had first met many of his Philippian Christian friends as a result of being imprisoned and beaten in a Philippian jail (Acts 16:12-40). In fact, he had often been imprisoned (2 Corinthians 11:23) and had suffered severely in many other ways for “the furtherance of the gospel.”
Indeed, during the two years or more he was a prisoner in Rome, he not only taught God’s Word to many who visited him there (Acts 28:30-31) but also wrote at least four of his inspired epistles there (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon—possibly even Hebrews). And these have been of untold blessing to millions down through the years. In ways that Paul could never have imagined, it was true indeed that these things that had happened to him had “fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.”
The apostle Paul had the spiritual insight to realize that what seemed like great problems and difficulties could be used by God to the “advancement” of the gospel. Rather than complaining or even quitting when the Christian life gets hard, we must remember that God can make even “the wrath of man” to bring praise to Him (Psalm 76:10). HMM
The great first cause of our salvation is not our choice of the Lord Jesus, but his choice of us. The election of his people is with him. He takes the first step towards us. He has, however, chosen us not to be idlers, but fruit-bearers, not to be occasional workers, but persevering labourers. He has also chosen us to be men of prayer; and he would not have us formal worshippers but prevalent pleaders. Have the objects of the Lord’s choice been realised in us? How can we know our election except by fruits of holiness, and answers to prayer?
This command comes often, but never too often. We need to hear it again and again.
Therefore there is nothing to wonder at when men slander and abuse us; it is their ordinary manner of saluting every vessel which bears our great Captains flag.
Election secures us human hatred as well as divine love, but for the sake of the sweet, we joyfully accept the bitter. What we have most to dread is the smile of the world, for many have been fascinated by it and fallen into destruction.
Let us not reckon upon easy times. We are servants of a Master who lived amid reproach and died upon a cross. How can we expect those who crowned Him with thorns to crown us with roses?
Light when rejected in- creases sin. No apology remains for a man when his ignorance is removed. He who has had Jesus for his teacher and yet refuses to learn, is guilty of wilful ignorance, and deserves the severest judgment.
An opponent of Christianity cannot, therefore, be a sincere worshipper of God. A pure Theist in a country where the Gospel is preached, is an impossibility.
Our Lord’s miracles proved his mission, and rendered Israel’s rejection of him a most wanton rebellion against the light. So greatly did their sinning against the light add to their sin, that comparatively speaking, their sins were nothing till their conscience being enlightened, they were able to sin with an emphasis.
This is the Holy Spirit’s great work. What sweet witness does he bear in his people’s hearts! Do we know the power of that inward testimony? Let us examine ourselves upon this matter, as in the sight of God.
Yes, and we too, when the Holy Spirit has witnessed in us, may become witnesses to others concerning the Lord Jesus. But we must be with him to know him, and we must know him before we can witness concerning him.
My precious Lord, for thy dear name
I bear the cross, despise the shame;
Nor do I faint while thou art near;
I lean on thee; how can I fear?
No other name but thine is given
To cheer my soul in earth or heaven;
No other wealth will I require;
No other friend can I desire.
Yea, into nothing would I fall
For thee alone, my All in All;
To feel thy love, my only joy;
To tell thy love, my sole employ.
James 4:2, 3
We’ve all encountered moments in our spiritual lives when we prayed with no results. Apparently the people to whom James was writing his epistle were having the same experience. Just as you have probably asked yourself at one time or another, it appears that these believers were also asking, “Why aren’t our prayers being answered?” We can surmise that they were asking this question because James provided an answer in James 4:3: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss….”
The Greek word for “amiss” is kakos, which describes something that is bad or wrong. As James uses it in this verse, it depicts a person who is asking wrongly, badly, or inappropriately. You could say that this person is simply not hitting the mark in his request. Although he prays with the greatest fervor, he is not hitting the target with what he is asking. This person is apparently asking God to do something that is not in agreement with His Word. Therefore, regardless of how long or how passionately the person asks, God will not answer his request with a positive answer because it is not in agreement with the Word.
Or perhaps this person is asking for the right thing, but because he is so fretful and filled with fear and anxiety, he doesn’t ask in faith. Rather than praying from a position of faith, he cries out to the Lord in fear and anxiety. But fear doesn’t move God—faith does. Hence, although this person may be asking for the right thing, he is asking from a wrong spirit. Thus, he is asking badly or inappropriately.
This means what we ask and how we ask are both of vital importance if we are going to get our prayers answered!
A literal translation of this verse would be as follows:
“… You ask, and receive not, because you are asking wrongly, badly, inappropriately….”
Especially when I was younger in the Lord, I made the mistake of asking things wrongly when I prayed. Perhaps my intentions were right, but my prayers were not in agreement with the truths revealed in the Bible. There were other moments when I finally got my prayers in agreement with the Word of God, but I was so motivated by anxiety and fear that I couldn’t ask in faith. Consumed with worry, I pounded the floor as I prayed, yelling and screaming out for God to move on my behalf. But because I was so filled with fear regarding the situation I was praying about, all my pounding, yelling, and screaming didn’t do a bit of good. I was praying from a wrong spirit—out of fear rather than out of faith—so all of that effort resulted only in a sore throat!
Have you ever had the experience of asking the right thing in the wrong way? Praying scripturally and in faith is essential if you want your requests to be answered positively.
First John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” The word “confidence” is the Greek word parresia. It describes confidence, boldness, or assurance. It pictures a person so confident that when he speaks, he has no doubt about what he is saying. He knows what he is saying is correct or appropriate; therefore, he becomes very bold. In the context of prayer, this word presents the picture of a believer who is so confident he is right in what he is asking that he asks unashamedly and confidently.
What can give you this kind of confidence? The verse goes on to tell you: “… If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” So when you 1) know God’s will and 2) ask Him to do something that is in agreement with His will, you can be 100-percent sure that God will hear you and that your request will be positively answered!
This means you have solid ground on which to stand as you pray in agreement with the revealed will of God, the Bible. Since your request is in agreement with what God has already revealed in His Word, you know you can be bold when you make your request! And there is no need for you to pray out of fear and anxiety either. Just quiet down, and let the Word of God fill you with peace; then ask in faith.
First John 5:14 guarantees that if you ask anything that is in agreement with His will, God will hear you. In fact, verse 15 goes on to promise you, “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
Knowing what to pray and how to pray is vitally important. So always keep this in mind as you get ready to make your requests known to God: God listens for His Word, and He responds to faith. When He hears His Word prayed from a heart of faith, He is compelled to act.
The success of your prayer life is up to you, friend, so don’t ask “amiss” when you pray. Make sure you are asking correctly and in an appropriate spirit of faith. As you learn to pray in line with God’s Word from a heart filled with faith, the answers you seek will manifest in your life more quickly and more fully than ever before!
Lord, I can remember times in my past when I’ve prayed the right thing the wrong way, and it resulted in unanswered prayer. I ask You to help me ask correctly when I pray, and to ask in a spirit of faith and not in a spirit of fear, dread, or anxiety. I never realized before now how important it is to ask in the right way. Holy Spirit, I ask You to help me ask correctly and pray appropriately from this moment forward. Whenever I start praying wrongly or out of a wrong spirit, please stop me. I ask You to correct me and teach me how to pray in line with Your Word from a heart of faith!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that God’s Word is my guide to help me ask correctly when I pray. I declare that I am motivated by faith and not by fear, dread, or anxiety when I pray. Because I ask according to God’s will, He hears me when I pray. Because He hears me, I know that I have the petitions I ask of Him. God acts promptly to answer my prayers because I ask with a heart filled with faith in accordance with His will. Because I make sure that what I pray is correct and how I pray is appropriate, I am receiving more and more results from my prayers all the time!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Recently I took several friends of mine to visit a 76 year old stalwart of the faith who has influenced scores of men and women for Christ around the world for over a half a century.
During our visit, I was arrested by the love of Christ that radiated from this rugged individual, as he graciously took a few minutes’ leave from the around-the-clock care of his dying wife… his life partner of over 50 years.
As we visited, one of my companions asked, “Bob, what are your aspirations in these latter years of your life, especially as you face the departure of your beloved wife?”
Without hesitation he replied, “To take another mountain for God, as did Caleb.”
You may recall the story of Caleb: After Israel’s trek across the desert from Egypt to Jordan, God commissioned Moses to send 12 spies into the Promised Land, only to have 10 return in fear, and disbelief. The two exceptions of course were Caleb and Joshua, who urged Moses to take the land. (Joshua 13:30)
Forty-five years later Israel had still failed to acquire portions of the land promised to them by God. Caleb, who by now was eighty years of age, rises to the challenge:
“I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I‘m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day… ” (Joshua 14:10-12)
SO THE QUESTION IS: “Are you ‘CALEB’S CALIBER’ — like my friend Bob, who, in his old age, still chooses to believe God for new mountains to conquer?”
Or do you resemble the other 10 who shrank back in fear of the giants in the land?
“But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him… ” (Hebrews 10:38)