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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 161

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Joshua continued...

We cannot live in the present by drawing strength from our nostalgic past. We cannot walk today, in the victories of yesteryear, because each day is a battle, each day is a confrontation, and each day we either conquer or are vanquished.

It is an easy thing to get caught up in reliving the past, in fondly remembering the courage, boldness, and focus we had in our younger years, but it is unproductive, and often times destructive to relive the past without focusing on the present.

I grew up in a time and in a country wherein the power of God moved in ways rarely seen in today’s western nations. There were healings, there was prophecy, there were miracles, there were dreams, and visions, and the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit were made manifest often, and in an undeniable manner. It was also a time of persecution wherein the children of God were imprisoned, tortured, beaten, stripped of their earthly possessions and even killed, and their only hope, their only refuge was the presence and power of God.

It would be easy for me to stand behind a pulpit and retell stories of the past. The people would enjoy it far more readily than they do the messages on repentance God often compels me to speak, I would have allot more friends, and the ministry would be much larger than it is.

The only problem with living in the past is that we tend to forget about the present. I don’t want to live the rest of my life telling stories of what I saw in my childhood as far as miracles, prophecies, and healings are concerned, I want to see them today, in this time, and I know it is possible because God has not changed, and neither have His promises.

Winning a battle does not winning the war make! Many a soul forget this simple truth, and after obtaining one victory in an area of their lives, they go on to suffer three or four subsequent defeats, because they started neglecting prayer, fasting, the scriptures, and their relationship with God after that first initial victory.

‘Apart from Me, you can do nothing.’ These were the words of Jesus, and they were not intended to be anything more than what they are…the truth. These words held true two thousand years ago, and they hold true today.

No matter how confident we might be in our own abilities, no matter how self-reliant, self-assured, or self-possessed, apart from Christ, we can do nothing.

It’s when we start meditating upon certain things Jesus said, and understanding their ramifications that we begin to understand how anti-scriptural, and destructive some of the most popular doctrines floating about today truly are.

Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing, but men on television are telling us every day that in and of ourselves we have every resource we need to live our best lives, and excel at everything we put our hand to.

And herein we see the second thing that contributed to Israel’s defeat at Ai, overconfidence. They were so enthused and galvanized by the victory at Jericho that in their thinking as well as their actions the people became overconfident.

We perceive this overconfidence both in the words the spies spoke in regards to Ai, as well as Joshua’s quick decision to send three thousand men to conquer the city without asking God first.

There is nothing wrong with confidence, as long as your confidence is anchored in Christ. There is nothing wrong with confidence as long as you are confident in God’s abilities and not your own.

There is an old saying, but in my estimation a true saying, that the man who is confident in himself has confidence in a fool. I realize full well this flies in the face of modern teaching, wherein every individual is the nexus of their own universe, the apple of God’s eye, the reason all things were created and are maintained, but scripture still stands as testament that whenever men were confident in themselves, they failed miserably at whatever task stood before them.

One of the most vivid examples of overconfidence, and the ensuing consequences thereof, was Peter the Apostle of Christ, also known as the rock upon which Jesus said He would build His church.

Jesus was not shy about telling His apostles what the future held. He was not shy about telling them that He would have to suffer, and die, and in the process be abandoned by all. Although the others kept silent, and meditated on what Jesus had said, Peter speaks up and says, ‘even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you!’

Bold words, confident words, empty words. We know, from reading the word of God, that Peter denied Christ not once, not twice, but three times, and not before of some magistrate or authority, but before a servant girl who had suggested that he knew Jesus.

If I trust in my own power, if I trust in my own strength, if I trust in my own wisdom, abilities or prowess, my failure is assured even before I begin my endeavor. To God all things are possible, but to man even the possible becomes impossible when he trusts in himself.

1 Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

It may seem like I’m harping on this specific point, but if it is so, then it is with a purpose. I have seen many an individual conquer their Jericho, only to be vanquished by Ai, because they did not inquire of God, trust in God, or depend on God.

I have known individuals who stood in the face of persecution, loss, and exile, only to succumb to greed or the glory of men.

In tracing back the reason for their fall, one concludes that although they prayed and sought the face of God in their hardship, they neglected to do so in their time of comfort and excess.

Seek God always, and you will stand in Him and the power of His might.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen Brother Mike,

A lesson to be learned - and relearned if neccessary. Thank you for your continuing series.

In Christ,
Mrs. Pugh