Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2010 – November 24 – Joy Beyond Belief

Study from God’s Word Acts 9; 32 through Chapter 12… Passage for Reflection: Acts 12: 14 – 15 … NIV 14 When she [Rhoda, a servant girl in the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark] recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed [to those in the home gathered to pray, likely for Peter’s release], “Peter is at the door!” … 15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”

My Journal for Today: Do you see the interesting – and very human – conundrum in the highlight passage above. Here were a group of Christians gathered in a home, knowing that King Herod, the grandson of Herod, the Great, had executed James, the brother of John, and would likely do so to Peter, their beloved leader, as well. And so, these fellow “Christians” had likely gathered in the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, to pray that Peter would, some how, be spared death. And then, when Peter shows up at the door and is announced to the praying throng, they cannot believe it’s really him. >>> “Oh, ye, of little faith!”

But isn’t that the very human way we are as Christians? Have you ever prayed for a miracle of healing or deliverance; and low and behold, .. it happens; and then you’re astounded that it did? I certainly have had that happen; and I hope I never lose my AWE for what God does that is really humanly impossible. However, the fact remains that such instances point to the abnormal – or rather, the “supernatural” – and we, even as believers, are really blown away by God doing things that we may pray for but have trouble believing could ever occur.

Dr. LaGard Smith’s devotional title, “Joy Beyond Belief,” is a good one today to describe this point, which resonates in Dr. Smith’s prayerful self-evaluation question, which is quoted for you: ”Do I pray with such confidence in God’s power that I would never be surprised if He answered even the most challenging of [my] prayers?”

And this raises a follow-up question of my own: If I truly believe my God is omnipotent, why am I not praying for impossible things rather than just for the humanly possible?” If I could pray, knowing – beyond a doubt – that God could, would, and should do something miraculous, and well beyond man’s abilities to do something, for what “impossible” event or occurrence what would I be praying? Perhaps we should be praying for the release of Christians imprisoned with the threat of death, much as Peter was imprisoned by King Herod I. Maybe we should be praying for ALL abortions to cease in our world? Perhaps, being a leader of an ministry dealing with sexual sin, I should be praying more diligently and with discipline for the eradication of p0rnograpy from our culture.

And if (and when) God sees fit to grant us with a “YES” answer to our prayers for such miracles – which we know He could do, but maybe not always does do – shouldn’t we simply – in faith – express joy beyond belief for His mercy and grace? I think so; … what about you? And shouldn’t we, as believers in an omnipotent God, be challenged to up the ante of faith on our prayers, praying for many things which are way beyond mankind and considered in the realm of the miraculous? I think so; … what about you?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, forgive my short-sightedness and personal spiritual anemia when it comes to my prayers. Help me, IN FATH, to believe and pray big; because You, my Lord, are a BIG GOD, … far bigger than I could – and have – ever imagined. Amen

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