Ham and Eggs

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

In the fable of the chicken and the pig, the two animals discuss opening a restaurant together. As they plan their menu, the chicken suggests they serve ham and eggs. The pig swiftly objects saying, “No thanks. I’d be committed, but you would only be involved.”

Although the pig didn’t care to put himself on the platter, his understanding of commitment is instructive to me as I learn to better follow God with my whole heart.

Lord, I want to rely on You more fully. Please help me to look up and to trust You more.

To protect his kingdom, Asa, king of Judah, sought to break up a treaty between the kings of Israel and Aram. To accomplish this, he sent personal treasure along with “silver and gold out of the treasuries of the Lord’s temple” to secure favor with Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram (2 Chron. 16:2). Ben-Hadad agreed and their joint forces repelled Israel.

But God’s prophet Hanani called Asa foolish for relying on human help instead of God who had delivered other enemies into their hands. Hanani asserted, “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (v. 9).

As we face our own battles and challenges, let’s remember that God is our best ally. He strengthens us when we’re willing to “serve up” a whole-hearted commitment to Him.

Lord, I want to rely on You more fully. Sometimes I see only what is around me. Please help me to look up and to trust You more.

When we are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time. Oswald Chambers

By Kirsten Holmberg

Your Spiritual Growth

Psalm 139:23-24

The moment of salvation marks the beginning of a relationship with God. Only then can a person start to develop a deeper friendship with the Father, grow in knowledge of His Word, and serve Him. Whether one comes to faith as a child or an adult, from that point on spiritual growth should be a continual experience throughout life.

Ultimately, God develops the believer’s character and Christian walk. But you may wonder, What part does the person play in maturing spiritually?

David’s prayer in today’s psalm answers this question. He petitioned the Lord to examine his life and help him see it truthfully. David knew the consequences of sinful choices as well as the joy of walking closely with God, and he desired to rid himself of anything that was an obstacle.

We, too, can pray for the Lord to reveal any areas of our life that are hindering our walk. With a humble and honest heart before God, ask for the courage and willingness to look within. Of course, when our Father shows us something that needs work, we should resist rationalizing the behavior, as this stalls growth. What’s more, we must have patience; just as it takes decades to become an adult, spiritual maturity also takes time.

Maybe your spiritual growth has slowed or even stopped. Or perhaps you simply want to make sure your heart is clean­ before the Father. In either case, pray as David did—that the Lord would reveal anything blocking a close relationship with Him. Let today be the start of a fresh season of growth in your life.

The Urgency of Christ’s Work

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4)

It is striking how often the Lord Jesus used the term “must” in connection with the different aspects of the work He came to do. Since He is our example, we also must be serious and urgent about our Father’s work. Even as a boy in the temple, He told His parents, “I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49).

Then early in His ministry, as He went from place to place, He said, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent” (Luke 4:43). Toward the end of His earthly ministry, He said one day, “I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33). He also said to His disciples that “he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matthew 16:21).

He had told the great teacher of Israel, Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.” To explain how this could be, He then said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:7, 14-15). Before we could ever be born again to everlasting life, therefore, Christ must be lifted up on the cross to die for our sins.

Still, all “the scriptures must be fulfilled” (Mark 14:49), and accordingly, “he must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9). Yet, even this did not fully complete “the works of him that sent me,” for Christ had said that “the gospel must first be published among all nations” (Mark 13:10). Therefore, we also must work the works of Him who sent us, before our days of opportunity are gone. HMM

The iron did swim

2 Kings 4:38-44

2 Kings 4:38

Though there was nothing to put in the pot except a very little meal, the man of God was persuaded that the Lord would send provision, and therefore ordered the pot to be placed on the fire in readiness. We have heard of one who had no bread and much faith; and therefore after prayer he caused the cloth to be laid, to show his practical belief that the Lord would send supplies: such faith Elisha had.

2 Kings 4:39

Unbelief is vainly active: this person could not wait for the Lord to fill the pot, but must needs come to the Lord’s assistance, and so did mischief Faith does better with her patient waiting than mistrust with her vain activity.

2 Kings 4:41

Thus for every evil the Lord finds an antidote. In the great cauldron of society at this moment there are deadly evils, such as ritualism and infidelity: the way to counteract their pernicious influence is to cast in the meal of gospel truth until the error is neutralised by the wonder-working grace of God.

2 Kings 4:42

or rather—in his scrip

2 Kings 4:42

Elisha’s faith had enabled him to believe that God could provide when there was nothing in the house; and therefore he was convinced that divine power could multiply their slender store now that they had a little in hand.

2 Kings 4:44

We are to use what we have, and God will give us more. As our needs so shall our supply be, for we are promised strength equal to our days.

2 Kings 6:1-7

2 Kings 6:3

His company would cheer them, and his holy conversation would improve them: they loved him, and therefore desired to have him with them; he loved them, and therefore consented to join them in their labours.

2 Kings 6:5

He was poor, and had been compelled to borrow; he was honest, and was doubly grieved to lose what had been lent to him.

2 Kings 6:6

Yes, and God can still make iron swim; things impossible to us are possible to him. Out of every difficulty Omnipotence can bring us, only let us in childlike confidence cast our burden upon the Lord. Whatever our family trial may be, the Lord will help us through it.

2 Kings 6:7

Joyful enough was this son of the prophets. May we have like work, like society, like faith, and like joy.

 

The Lance of Prayer and Supplication

Ephesians 6:18

One of my favorite sections in museums is the one that displays armor used in the ancient world. I especially enjoy the section that displays the spears and lances that were used by the ancients. It is simply amazing to study the weaponry of the ancient soldier and discover how many different kinds of spears and lances were available to him. It becomes very evident that the spear and lance was one of the most important pieces of weaponry he possessed.

When Paul wrote his epistle to the Ephesians, he spoke extensively about the armor of God, urging believers to use their spiritual weaponry. However, as you study this full list of weaponry, it seems that the lance or spear, a key weapon, is missing. But although Paul didn’t explicitly mention the lance, he did tell believers to take up the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11), implying a complete set of weaponry. We can therefore assume that Paul must have intended to include the lance or spear in this set of spiritual equipment.

The lance of our spiritual armor is found in Ephesians 6:18, where Paul says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit….” I call this “the lance of prayer and supplication.”

Let’s look more closely at this piece of weaponry so you can better understand why I say this.

The lances used by the large and diverse Roman army varied greatly in size, shape, and length. These weapons were devised to be used to attack an enemy from a distance. They were thrown with great force and hurled tremendous distances to strike the enemy from afar. Because different lances were thrown at different distances, they came in all sizes and shapes. The particular lance chosen by a soldier depended on how it was to be used.

By revelation, Paul begins to compare these various lances to the various kinds of prayer God has made available to us. This is why he said, “Praying always, with all prayer and supplication….”

You see, when a believer effectively uses prayer, it becomes a lance that can be thrust forth into the spirit realm against the malevolent works of the adversary. By forcibly hurling this divine instrument of prayer into the face of the enemy, a believer can exert great spiritual power, literally attacking the devil from a distance in order to stop major obstacles from developing up close in his personal life.

I want you to especially notice the phrase “with all prayer.” It is taken from the Greek phrase dia pases proseuches and would be better translated “with all kinds of prayer.”

Do you understand the various forms of prayer that are available for you to use as you pray and wage spiritual warfare? Don’t wrongly assume that all prayer is of the same kind. Just as Roman soldiers used all kinds of lances in battle, Paul lets you know that many forms of prayer are available for you to use in the fight of faith (see February 26). For instance, there is the prayer of faith, the prayer of agreement, the prayer of intercession, the prayer of supplication, the prayer of petition, the prayer of consecration, the prayer of thanksgiving, united prayer, and so forth.

Paul instructs us to use every form of prayer that has been made available to us as it is needed. No one kind of prayer is better than the others; each serves a different and necessary purpose in the life of faith.

Never forget that prayer is a vital piece of your spiritual weaponry. If you neglect this strategic piece of weaponry, you will find that the enemy keeps attacking you from up close. But as you learn to pray with authority, you will develop the ability to strike the enemy from a distance and therefore maintain a victorious position in your life.

God has placed the lance of prayer at your disposal so you can be assured of absolute and total victory. As you use this lance of prayer and supplication in all its various forms, you will continually reinforce Jesus Christ’s triumphant victory over Satan and gloriously demonstrate Satan’s miserable defeat in every area of your life!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I thank You for entrusting me with all the weapons I need to keep the devil defeated in my life. Forgive me for not always taking advantage of the full weaponry You have provided.

Prayer is powerful—yet I admit that I have neglected this piece of weaponry in my life. Forgive me for allowing myself to get too busy to make time for prayer. Instead of ignoring this vital piece of weaponry, I want to learn how to use every form of prayer that is available to me so I can stop the devil from making up-close attacks in my life. Thank You for this vital weapon of warfare. Please teach me to use it powerfully, forcefully, and effectively against the works of the devil.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that prayer is a vital piece of my spiritual weaponry. Because I use this strategic piece of weaponry, I am able to stop the enemy from attacking me from up close. I pray with authority, and that authority gives me the ability to strike the enemy from a distance while maintaining a victorious position in my life. With the lance of prayer at my disposal, I can be sure of absolute and total victory. Although the devil tries to attack me, I overcome each of his attacks by striking him from a distance as I thrust the lance of prayer and supplication into the realm of the spirit. I commit myself to using the lance of prayer and supplication in all its various forms. As I do, I will continually reinforce Jesus Christ’s triumphant victory over Satan and gloriously demonstrate Satan’s miserable defeat in every area of my life!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you think of a time when you felt alerted in your spirit that an attack was coming from the enemy, and you disabled that attack by using your God-given authority in prayer? What was that occasion? How did your aggressive praying stop that attack in your life?
  2. Looking back on your life, what do you think would have happened if you hadn’t listened to the Spirit of God and hurled the lance of prayer and supplication into the spirit realm? If that attack against you had been successful, in what way would it have negatively affected your life? Have you taken the time to stop and thank God for alerting you to this potential spiritual attack?
  3. Are you aware of the different kinds of prayer that are available for you to use? What are you doing to learn more about prayer and how to use prayer more effectively in your life?

Never forget that prayer is a vital piece of your spiritual weaponry. If you neglect this strategic piece of weaponry, you will find that the enemy keeps attacking you from up close. But as you learn to pray with authority, you will develop the ability to strike the enemy from a distance and therefore maintain a victorious position in your life.

 

Winning Over Depression

“Fog creeps in like little cat feet.”

 

So does depression. Oftentimes inexplicably, without reason or rationale. It gets under your skin. Settles down into your gut.

 

The Psalmist asks, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” (Psalm 42:5a) Apparently, he was not sure either as to its cause. In fact, he seemed to be a bit bewildered, perhaps asking; “Why me?” “Why now?

 

“Downcast” here literally means, sink, depress, bow down, collapse, despair. “Disturbed” conveys the idea of tumult, rage, moaning, clamor, troubled.

 

In his battle to win over depression, the Psalmist focused on five areas:

 

1. Hunger — “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for God, for the living God… ” (Psalm 42:1, 2a) Because nothing quells our appetite for Him more than harboring iniquity, we may want to ask ourselves the question, “Is there any sin in my life with which I need to deal?” (Hebrews 3:13; Psalm 66:18; 139:23, 24)

 

2. Communicate — “These things I remember as I pour out my soulI say to God my Rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?‘” (Psalm 42:4a, 9) We may need to get on our face before God (literally) and have a real heart-to-heart talk over the issues that are troubling us at the core.

 

3. Refocus — “Put your hope in God… ” (Psalm 42:5b, 11b) That is, we may need to redirect our expectancy to Him, rather than wallow in worry, circumstances, fear, or anger.

 

4. Praise — “I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5b, 11b) We choose to adulate Him as an alternative to grousing or self-pity. (1 Corinthians 10:10; Philippians 2:14, 15)

 

5. Remember — “My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.” (Psalm 42:6) It may be time once again, to recall (and appreciate) God’s past leading and blessings. Nothing displeases God, or quenches our spirit more than a thankless heart. (See Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 63:6; 77:11; 106:7; Isaiah 46:9)

 

CONCLUSION: Depression is one of the Enemy’s major weapons in knocking us out of the race. So let’s resolve to win over depression by doing battle with Satan along Scripturally prescribed lines, as illustrated in Psalm 42. Have you found anything else that works? I haven’t!

 

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