Thursday, August 09, 2012

August 9, 2012 … When Discouraged or Confused – PRAY!!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 222 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Jeremiah 10-13 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 10: 1-4; 10-11; 19; 22-25 :[NIV] … 1 Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. 2 This is what the Lord says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. 3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. … 10 But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. 11 "Tell them this: 'These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.'" … [Jeremiah’s lament] 19 Woe to me because of my injury! My wound is incurable! Yet I said to myself, "This is my sickness, and I must endure it." … [Jeremiah’s prayer] 23 Lord, I know that people's lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. 24 Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure — not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing. 25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the peoples who do not call on your name. For they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him completely and destroyed his homeland. 
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 11: 1-5; 14-15: 18-20 :[NIV] … 1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:2 "Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem.3 Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant—4 the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.' I said, 'Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God. 5 Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey'—the land you possess today." I answered, "Amen, Lord." 14 "Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress. 15 "What is my beloved doing in my temple as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes? Can consecrated meat avert your punishment? When you engage in your wickedness, then you rejoice." … 18 Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing.19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, … 20 But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously and test the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have committed my cause.”  
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 12: 1-2; 6-7 :[NIV] … [Jeremiah’s plaintive prayer to God] 1 You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? 2 You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. [God’s answer to Jeremiah] 6 Your relatives, members of your own family — even they have betrayed you; they have raised a loud cry against you. Do not trust them, they speak well of you. 7 "I will forsake my house, abandon my inheritance; I will give the one I love into the hands of her enemies. 
Highlight Passage: Jeremiah 13: 24-27 :[NIV] … [God’s judgment on His wayward people] 24 "I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind. 25 This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you," declares the Lord, "because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods. 26 I will pull up your skirts over your face that your shame may be seen — 27 your adulteries and lustful neighings, your shameless prostitution! I have seen your detestable acts on the hills and in the fields. Woe to you, Jerusalem! How long will you be unclean?"

Reference Study Passage : Ephesians 6: 18-19 [NIV] To study this passage, go to this link
Reference Study Passage : Roman 8: 26-28 [NIV] To study this passage, go to this link -  

My Journal for Today: Four chapters in Jeremiah today; and these chapters revealed a vertical life strategy which Jeremiah used to deal with the horizontal and temporal challenges of his day, especially his confusion and grief over the disobedience of God’s people, in spite of God’s covenant with the people and their being reminded of God’s truth by a King like Joash in Jeremiah’s time.

And how did Jeremiah handle all of this rebellion all around him? How did he handle seeing God allow the idolaters to seemingly thrive and the obedient remnant to falter? Well, the answer to that is a strategy which all of God’s people need to adopt and utilize EVERY DAY. … When in doubt, … Jeremiah prayed!!

And If you look to the emboldened and underlined scripture passages above, taken from the four chapters in today’s chronological reading selection, you will see the grief stricken and confused “weeping Prophet” going to His God whenever he was overrun by feelings of discouragement or confusion. And that should be our primary strategy in the times we find ourselves today as well.

For those who’re coming along with me, I think there’d be agreement that we’re in a spiritual war – with our own personal and cultural battles to be fought – every day! And it is often the case, at least for this warrior, that we can run up against very discouraging circumstances which result from the spiritual battles we must fight, dealing with our spiritual enemies of Satan, the world, and the flesh. So what do we do? Well, we do what Jeremiah did; … we pray to the ONE and only One Who has the power to help us in battle; and that, of course, is God.

And I’ve given you two New Testament source links above which reinforce this battle strategy. The first is an exhortation from the Apostle Paul to Christians to stand firm, wearing the full armor of God (see Eph. 6: 13-19). But in that passage Paul also makes a clear reference to using prayer in the Spirit as our primary battle strategy.

But sometimes, we’re just overwhelmed with feelings of potential failure, fear of loss, or confusion in the battles of life. Well, Paul has an answer to that one, too. He writes in Rom. 8: 26-27 that God’s Spirit is always there with us, even when we don’t want to pray; and Paul says clearly (in 1st Thes. 5: 17) that we’re to pray anyway … at all times … so that our vertical connection through God’s Spirit with the power in Heaven will be continually protecting us and guiding us.

Recently I made a new friend and a co-warrior in Christ who’s just written a book, entitled, Superpower: Praying Like the Ancients, where the author, Matthew Bryan, shows that many – if not most – Christians have lost the ability – available to them as believers – to call down the same power as ancient prayer warriors like Jeremiah. Reading Bryan’s book and reorienting my attitude about prayer has meant all the difference in my daily battles with my Spiritual enemies.

Today, as I go to battle, I’m using Jeremiah’s example and the truth written about prayer by Matthew Bryan; and I’m going to take the high ground, through prayer, for battle. And yes, I’m going to hold that high ground, knowing that God’s Spirit is always there to help me pray when I’m just overwhelmed by my spiritual enemies. …

HOW ABOUT YOU? Are you with me? Let’s take the high ground … right now … and pray!!

My Prayer Today: … Lord, … I’m here to take Your high ground for battle in prayer; and I know You’re here with me in the promise of 1st Cor. 10: 13 and 2nd Pet. 1: 3-4 to give me all I need in battle. Amen

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