Jun 24, 2014
I like this movie a lot. It has a very powerful ending. Time for Alter Call! A really Good Thing!
Jun 24, 2014
I like this movie a lot. It has a very powerful ending. Time for Alter Call! A really Good Thing!
[Solomon] knelt in front of the entire community of Israel and lifted his hands toward heaven [and] he prayed. 2 Chronicles 6:13–14 nlt
When my husband plays the harmonica for our church praise team, I have noticed that he sometimes closes his eyes when he plays a song. He says this helps him focus and block out distractions so he can play his best—just his harmonica, the music, and him—all praising God.
Some people wonder if our eyes must be closed when we pray. Since we can pray at any time in any place, however, it might prove difficult to always close our eyes—especially if we are taking a walk, pulling weeds, or driving a vehicle!
There are also no rules on what position our body must be in when we talk to God. When King Solomon prayed to dedicate the temple he had built, he knelt down and “spread out his hands toward heaven” (2 Chron. 6:13–14). Kneeling (Eph. 3:14), standing (Luke 18:10–13), and even lying face down (Matt. 26:39) are all mentioned in the Bible as positions for prayer.
Whether we kneel or stand before God, whether we lift our hands heavenward or close our eyes so we can better focus on God—it is not the posture of our body, but of our heart that is important. Everything we do “flows from [our heart]” (Prov. 4:23). When we pray, may our hearts always be bowed in adoration, gratitude, and humility to our loving God, for we know that His eyes are “open and [His] ears attentive to the prayers” of His people (2 Chron. 6:40).
Lord, direct my focus always toward You and teach me to follow You in obedience and love.
The highest form of prayer comes from the depths of a humble heart.
What is your reaction to the faithfulness of the Lord? Why not pause and worship Him now with a humble heart.
The believer’s path toward a hardened heart can start innocently enough—it’s easy for us to become preoccupied with things that have little or no spiritual value. Once our focus is diverted from God, it doesn’t take much for the preoccupation to take up greater amounts of time. The diversion can become so consuming that we end up ignoring matters of importance to the Lord.
As our spiritual life withers, we may give up private devotion and public worship. Anyone who is spending time with the Lord daily is going to have a pliable heart, but the person who lays Scripture aside gives Satan an opportunity. When allowed to function apart from God, the heart is deceitful and turns from Him.
If a believer’s mind is preoccupied and his heart is distant from God, he can easily be swayed by the deceitfulness of sin. As sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is dulled by a hard “shell” that’s been forming around his heart, the drifting Christian begins to find Satan’s false promises more tempting. He foolishly trusts in the deception and becomes ever more deeply enmeshed in sin. This, in turn, leads to even greater preoccupation with non-spiritual matters and further neglect of his spiritual life.
Believers are not immune to hardening of the heart. We can become as insensitive to God’s voice as an unbeliever, but we have a way to remove the spiritual callus that has been forming within us. By repenting and refocusing, we can again turn to devotion and worship in order to be soft-hearted before God.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4)
Patience, or endurance, is part of the development that produces the experience that brings hope and assurance to those who are the twice-born (Romans 5:3-5). Patience is a discipline—a “work” that is necessary for our growth. Although such discipline never seems pleasant at the time, it is administered by our loving heavenly Father, who focuses His work on our spiritual maturity (Hebrews 12:5-8).
Our text contains several key aspects that promise victory through the process of learning patience. Wisdom is granted liberally as we ask for it during the testings that produce the “perfect work” (James 1:4) of patience. As those who love the Lord endure the testings that will surely come, the endurance practiced will produce a “crown of life” (James 1:12) as an eternal testimony to our patience.
Psalm 37 outlines the principles for gaining patience during this life. First, “trust in the LORD” (Psalm 37:3) and follow His leading in everything you do (Proverbs 3:5-10).
Second, delight in the Lord—get excited about Him (Psalm 37:4). That trait is amplified often in Psalm 119 (Psalm 119:16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 174). Then, commit your way to the Lord (Psalm 37:5), becoming like a branch attached to the vine (John 15:4-7).
Finally, rest in the Lord (Psalm 37:7) and wait on Him (Psalm 37:34). That doesn’t mean just “hang around.” It means to be a fully prepared servant, waiting for his master’s orders to implement. The “profitable” servant (Luke 17:10) learns what his master wants and stands ready to respond to the needs of the Kingdom.
Patience is never obtained through bored indifference. HMM III
After destruction of Achan the conquest of Ai was readily accomplished, and then followed the singular event recorded in the following chapter.
Joshua 9:4, 5
clouted or patched
And these bottles of wine skin bottles
Their wish to be spared was natural, their submission to Israel was commendable, but their crafty deception was unjustifiable. When we yield ourselves to Jesus we have only to speak the truth, and there is no need for us to put on old and tattered clothing, for a sinner’s spiritual wardrobe contains nothing else.
Joshua 9:14, 15
Joshua thought the matter so clear that he had no need to seek divine direction. It is usually in such cases that we err.
Some probably because they wanted to take the spoil of the Gibeonites, and others because they conscientiously thought that they ought not to be spared.
An oath is never to be lightly treated, nor a promise either, indeed the Christian man’s word is his bond, and is everyway as binding as an oath.
The poor Gibeonites were glad to escape even on these terms. If the Lord Jesus will but spare us, we also shall be only too glad to hew wood or draw water for him, and for his people.
The passage shews us that the desire of self-preservation makes men use their wits, and it leads us to wonder how it is that so few persons appear to use common judgment and ordinary care as to the salvation of their souls.
Have you ever taken a stand of faith that made you the biggest joke in your church, among your friends, in your city, or in your state? When people heard what you believed that God told you, did they laugh? Did they find the dream God gave you to be one of the most amusing things they had ever heard, endlessly joking about it at your expense? Did you find their response humiliating and hurtful, or were you able to shove it aside and keep marching forward with the orders Jesus gave you?
When the writer of Hebrews wrote his letter, the Jewish believers to whom he was writing had been walking by faith for many years. He reminded them of how people first responded when they started their walk of faith. He said, “Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used” (Hebrews 10:33).
Do you see the word “gazingstock” in this verse? It comes from the Greek word theatron, from which we get the word theater. It means to observe, to watch, to study, to scrutinize, or to bring upon the stage for all to see. It is a picture of spectators taking their seats in the theater to watch how the play goes, all the way through Act I, Act II, Act III, and Act IV. However, if we look at this word in the context of this verse, we can see that this audience isn’t watching to see how good the show is; they are watching in order to catch the players making a mistake!
This crowd is on the edge of their seats, anticipating the first time one of the actors makes a mistake or forgets a line so they can laugh at him, scorn him, ridicule him, and make fun of him. In fact, one expositor says the Greek word theatron in this verse means to bring on to the stage in order to scorn, to scoff at, to shame, to sneer at, and to publicly humiliate.
It is so important that this word was used here, for the Holy Spirit is alerting us to the fact that whether you and I like it or not, when we take a step of faith or a new stand on the Word of God, it almost always puts us “center stage”! We may not be known by thousands, but our faith confession or our announced plans will become the dinner conversation among friends, family, associates, and foes. Everyone will seem to develop an opinion as to whether we are overstepping our boundaries by taking on something too big for us, or whether we will be able to fulfill our dream.
You’ll be amazed at how many of the people you thought would believe in you and support you instead buy a ticket to the show with everyone else, taking a seat in the theater to watch how well you fare with your new grand announcement! It’s just a fact that there will always be spectators who stand by, eagerly anticipating the moment they can laugh at you or say, “We told you so!” when you make your first mistake in your walk of faith. Unfortunately, many times these spectators are not unbelievers, but believers!
Because the word theatron is used in this verse, an expanded translation of this verse could read this way:
“You were made a theater….”
“You became a spectacle of entertainment….”
“On account of your faith, you became the best show in town….”
Hebrews 10:33 also uses two other very important words that are key for you to understand. These are the words “reproaches” and “afflictions.” The word “reproach” is the Greek word oneidismos, and it refers to insults hurled at you from other people. This is precisely what they did to Jesus when He was on the Cross. That Cross literally put Jesus on the center stage of the universe. Rather than applauding Him for what He was doing for mankind, the people “reproached” Him. In other words, they threw insults and slanderous accusations at Him.
When you take a strong stand by faith or when the Holy Spirit convicts you about staying true to a principle in God’s Word, Satan will do everything within his power to coax you to move off that stance of faith. He’ll use family members, friends, associates, and even circumstances to thwart the plan of God for your life. The devil will use people you know and love to say things that simply shock you! This is his attempt to get you to back off the promise you have received. But if you are certain you are doing what God told you to do, don’t budge an inch, no matter how much verbal opposition you encounter!
But Paul says that in addition to the verbal abuse that people may hurl at you, the devil will also try to use “afflictions” to stop you! The word “afflictions” is from the Greek word thlipsis, which refers to a tight squeeze or terrible pressure. This describes how the devil will try to use circumstances and events in life to put you under so much pressure that you eventually break, throwing in the towel and giving up. This word thlipsis indicates that the devil may try to use everything around you to shut you down when you step out in faith to obey what God has instructed you to do.
Satan doesn’t hide in the closet and pop out at night to personally attack us while we’re sleeping! Because he is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), he uses the world to do battle with us. In other words, he uses people, events, situations, circumstances, and difficult dilemmas to obstruct us from reaching our goals.
But regardless of what weapon the enemy uses or how he attempts to combat you and me, we have a faith that overrides and supercedes any organization, any event, any circumstance, or any difficult dilemma Satan would try to employ against us. He may be the “god of this world,” but we have a weapon so powerful that we can shoot him down every time he shows up uninvited!
So when you find yourself on center stage in front of people who are watching your walk of faith as if it were the newest show in town, don’t let this situation take you by surprise or throw you off track from your assignment. Ignore it. And if problems emerge as you step out in faith, don’t let that shake you either. You shouldn’t automatically assume that problems are indicators you are doing something wrong. They may be indicators that you are doing something right and that Satan hates it!
Ask the Spirit of God to help you stay on track. Don’t budge an inch, and refuse to yield or give any territory to the devil. It’s time for you to stay put, ignore the opposition, and hold tight!
Lord, help me keep my eyes and ears fixed on You and not on what I see and hear coming from people and circumstances around me. I believe that Your Word is true; therefore, I am standing firm on Your promise to me. Regardless of what people say or do, I choose to follow You! Please help me to stay put and to ignore other people’s verbal accusations as I hold tightly to Your Word.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I boldly declare that I will not move from the promise Jesus made to me! His Word is true, and His timing is right. Therefore, I am staying put until I see the manifestation of what I have believed! Although the devil tries to use people and circumstances to move me, I refuse to be moved from what Jesus has promised me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
“If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal.
“If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.
“This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience – it looks for a way of being constructive.
“It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
“Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.
“It is not touchy.
“It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.
“It is in fact the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.”