Discoveries in Faith

Short, uplifting Bible lessons designed to build faith and inspire obedience. 

Finishing Strong

Races are won at the finish line not the starting line, and so it is with life, marriage, investing and everything else in life that's important.  It is not how you start, it is how you finish that matters.

John 2 records the story of a wedding that started good but was about to become an embarrassment when they ran out of wine. Yet in miraculous fashion, Jesus helped them finish strong when He turned water into wine.  Then it was said, "You have saved the best for last." 

And isn't that what we want? We want our last years to be our best years.

1. To finish strong we must pray. Mary wisely brought the concern to Jesus. "They are out of wine." Is prayer your first response or last resort?

2. To finish strong we must obey. The servants did as Jesus directed. They filled the water jars with water, and notice they filled them to the brim. How is your obedience bucket? Is it half-full or do you fill it to the brim?

"Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey."

Changing Theology?

Has your theology changed in the last 20 years? I hope so. A maturing theology reflects a growing understanding of God. An example of this from my life is my take on Psalm 37:4 which says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

When I was a teenager and even a young adult I understood this verse to mean, 'If I am a good Christian then God will give me what I want.' It was almost as if I had a personal genie in the bottle that I could summon to give me whatever my heart desired.

Then somewhere along as a middle-aged adult, someone pointed out to me that what Psalm 37:4 really meant was that if we were good Christians (delighting ourselves in the Lord) then God would deposit into our hearts noble desires. 

Now as one who is old enough to get unsolicited AARP applications in the mail, let me share with you my current understanding of Psalm 37:4. Here is a paraphrase.

If I will lovingly desire and pursue God with my whole heart, then as I love God I will begin to love the things He loves. And as I love and desire the things God loves my heart is purified from selfish desires. This is important because God never promises to give us the desires of our flesh. But as my heart is purged and molded toward the will of God then yes He will lead me into fulfillment. As my heart mirrors the righteous desires of the Father I will pray with confidence and faith knowing He will surely bring to pass the holy dreams He is stirring. 

 

 

The Neck, Knees, Eyes, and Back Prayer

The Neck, Knees, Eyes, and Shoulder Prayer is an ancient prayer to be used when a nation was in trouble. It goes like this:

1. "God help my neck to bow before You. I don't want to be proud and stiff-necked, but humble and submissive to You." An example of this is Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:18).

2. "God help my knees to kneel and pray. Give me a spirit of prayer. Help me to get down on my knees and call out to You in earnest prayer." An example here is Elijah (1 Kings 18:42).

3. "God help my eyes. I want to see Your face. Help me to seek You and know You better and love You more." An example here is Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1).

4. "God help my back to turn away from all evil. Help me to hate sin and reject it consistently." An example here is Joseph (Genesis 39:12).

God first taught Solomon the Neck, Knees, Eyes, and Shoulder Prayer in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves (NECKS) and pray (KNEES) and seek My face (EYES) and turn (SHOULDER) from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land."

This is a powerful prayer, but it is not being used like it should be. CALLING OUT TO GOD IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR AMERICA. I am going to start trying to pray this prayer twice a day. Will you join me?

 

Strategic Intercession

The central character of the Bible is Jesus and in the Old Testament we see shadows of Him as an ark, a lamb, or rock. In the book of Esther, Jesus is portrayed as a woman.

WE SEE JESUS PROMOTED, 2:17

Esther, a Jewish orphan, wins a beauty contest and becomes queen of Persia. 

In the same way Jesus was a servant, obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross; therefore, God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. And just as Queen Esther was promoted to the royal court, so Jesus has now ascended to the right hand of the Father.

Esther was promoted because of her beauty, but Jesus was exalted because of His obedience.

This was Esther's first experience with royalty, but for Jesus it was a reunion.

This exciting similarity is heightened when we realize we are "in Christ" and identify with him in His death, resurrection, and ascension. God "raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:6).

WE SEE JESUS PERSECUTED, 3:13

Haman is enraged at Mordecai and wants to exterminate all Jews. It is ironic this took place in ancient Persia which is modern-day Iran. Anti-semitism is an persistent ugly irrational hatred of God's people inspired from hell and rooted in the curse (Gen. 3:15). Satan hates Israel because they are the ancestoral people of Jesus and he hates Christians because they are the spiritual descendents of Jesus. This puts us in the cross-hairs (2 Tim. 3:12, Matt. 24:9)!

WE SEE JESUS PRAYING, 4:11-16 & 5:2-3

If Haman's plot to destroy the Jews was to be stopped, Esther had to talk to the king. Yet going into the king's presence uninvited was strickly forbidden. Despite personal danger, Esther summoned her courage and advocated for her people in much the same way Jesus now advocates for us (1 Jn. 2:1). The Bible says Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father where He ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).

Again the similarity between Christ and Esther is made even more special when we realize that because we are "in Christ" we too can "come boldly before the throne of grace."

Mordecai appealed to the King through his cousin Esther. Likewise, when we pray in Jesus' name we appeal to the Father through our Savior Jesus Christ. 

It is not an overstatement to say that Esther's intercession changed the course of human history. If Haman had eradicated the Jews there would be no Jesus, Bible, or church. We have similar intercessory potential as we appeal to the Father. Christians should never approach God as a flat-lander but as a cloud-walker since they too are seated in the heavenlies!

God is judging America, but as we call on to the Lord we can save this country. Mordecai told Esther she ascended for such a special moment (Esther 4:14) . Perhaps we are alive now for a similar intercessory opportunity. 

 

 

 

Reverse the Curse

King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and commanded his wise men to tell him what it meant (Daniel 2). Only problem is, he wouldn't tell them what he dreamed. The king required both the recounting of the dream and its interpretation. To make matters worse, if the wise men failed they would be killed. Without delay the executions began. 

This was the double dilema facing Daniel: darkness and danger. 

But amazing things happend when God's people call on the Lord! Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego had a little prayer meeting and after their supplication, God revealed to Daniel the king's dream and its meaning. The Lord had given Nebuchadnezzar insight into future world history.

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The chapter ends with an amazing reversal. Where there had been darkness and death, now there is light and life and all this as a result of prayer. 

What confusing frightening situation are you facing? Learn the lesson of Daniel and his three friends. Call a prayer meeting right away!

Which Neighbor was Healed?

Early this week, my neighbor took a ride in an ambulance. My wife and I stood on the front porch and prayed for him as the firemen loaded him up and took him away. Thankfully he's home from the hospital and doing okay.

A few days later, in the other direction, but still on our street, the firemen came back for our other neighbor. Again, my wife and I prayed, this time over the phone, as the firemen tried to revive our neighbor. Thankfully, he was a Christian, so he's home in heaven now and doing okay.