God has His best in mind for us. However, our situations have a way of clouding our view which results in a skewed perception of who we are and whose we are. Although we may not be quick to verbalize it, many believers find themselves in positions where they do silently ask themselves the same questions that the world is quick to raise. For example, "If God is really such a good God, why would He allow...?" or "How could such a 'loving' God sit by while so many people are suffering?" Listening to the voice of the world, which speaks so loudly, and approaching these questions from a carnal perspective would definitely result in the questioning of one's faith. The point that we often miss is that doubt is just one of the many schemes that the enemy has learned he can use against us. Often times he is successful because many Christians tend to leave themselves open and unprotected.
God gave us many directives in His word, one of which is to put on His whole armor so that we will be able to stand against the wiles (schemes) of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). Why is it important that we clothe ourselves in His armor, you ask? Well, the short answer is we are in an ongoing spiritual war. Isaiah 14:12-17 provides us with some insight as to the rebellion that was started in heaven by Lucifer and resulted in the fall of 1/3 of the angels. In Revelation 12:7-12 a picture is painted of the enemy's defeat and we are provided with a warning in verse 12, "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." The devil is furious, and those of us who are brave enough to turn our backs on the ways of the world to follow after Christ are his targets.
What does this mean for believers? Let us revisit the idea of warfare. Warfare means that there is a conflict in which one party is trying to overpower another, and someone has to win. We have victory because Christ has already won the war, but if we are not careful in our approach, there can be casualties. We need to recognize who the enemy is and learn as much as we can about him so that we will know what we are up against and how to defeat him. First, it is important to understand how the enemy works. The enemy works by planting seeds or thoughts that may appear to be harmless, but fall short of being pleasing to God. When thoughts come, we must measure them against God's standard or else they can seriously harm us. Second, what is the purpose behind the attacks of the enemy? 2 Corinthians 4:4 reveals that the enemy first aims to keep us from knowing Christ. If he is unsuccessful in that effort, he then tries to keep us from being effective in serving Christ (1 Peter 5:8).
God wants us to advance His kingdom through the power of the Holy Spirit and obedience. Because the enemy is organized, God requires us to be fully armored and properly protected at all times. This will enable us to stand. We have to also understand that while the armor protects us, it is also given to help us cover others that are around us. Our stand in the Christian walk is not for ourselves; we are standing for a reason. We need to be offensive (have an outward focus) and not just defensive (inwardly focused). When we are inwardly focused, we are ineffective. The enemy wants us to be caught up in our own problems. However, there is an entire world of spiritually ignorant people out there that also need the blinders removed from their eyes. The world sinning is the world we have to win. God has called us to a position of victory; He wants us to live victorious lives, and we should want the same for those around us who are drowning in sin with no idea that there is a better way.
So, what must we do to be victorious? We must actively use the last piece of armor listed in Ephesians 6 which is the sword of the Spirit or the Word of God. We must learn how to apply the Word of God to our lives. The Word is our medicine for a spirit that is constantly trying to be infected by the flesh. We should not go even one day without a "dose" of the Word. The application of it, making it personal to ourselves, is how we keep our minds renewed and actively feed and build our faith and spiritual muscles. Revelation 12:11 says, "And they overcame him [the enemy] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony...." The blood has already been applied. It is now up to us to start speaking the Word into and over our lives and the lives of those around us.
For more scrumptious spiritual food, join us every Wednesday at 7:00PM for Bible Study ("Lord's Table").
SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2012
Luke 11:2: “Your Kingdom come” (NIV)
As we come to the conclusion of the Week of Prayer, let us review before we close with the Sabbath topic.
1). “Praise God.” We give thanks and rejoice with the angels in heaven, all creatures great and small.
2). “Come now let us reason together.” There is no one but God to put our trust and faith in as we
propose our needs for the coming year.
3). “Be ye therefore perfect.” First things come first as we are reasoning with God. Be perfect, walk and talk with
respect and love for others.
4). “You are my friend” if ye do whatever I command you. Jesus is the answer for our world today.
5). “Search the Scriptures.” Jesus emphasized that we are to study and search the Bible as we
bear witness of Him.
6). “Pray without ceasing.” There is no other way to protect ourselves and request our needs. Our prayers should be a part of our lives.
7). “Your kingdom come.” God is of the past, today and the future.
As we are created in the womb by God—and He knows our days and years of our life and gives us talents to serve him (Jeremiah 1:4-5)—the will of God has to be done in our lives. We surrender ourselves to God through Jesus Christ, who was crucified and brought with Him the Kingdom of heaven, the fulfillment of the end-time
prophecy and the last hope of our generation.
Mark 13:33: “Take heed, watch and pray for you do not know when the time is near.” (NIV)
Our prayer TODAY is for our brethren in the Caribbean: Jamaica, Guyana and newer work in the region like Barbados and Suriname.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, 2012
1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing”
Prayer is an important factor in Christian life. Since the Christian’s first duty is to represent his master to others he must live the life that counts. Prayer is part of this life.
A young artist walked in the palace and saw a beautiful picture hanging on the wall. He was determined to copy it but could not obtain permission. He stood and kept looking for a few minutes then he decided to reproduce it from memory. Hour after hour he sat and gazed at the picture, until it took possession of him. He gazed and toiled, his power grew. Finally he hung the wonderful copy in his office and all who saw it and had seen the original were in awe that this copy was an exact replica.
It should be the same with us. The original picture represents our Savior and we too must see Jesus first.
George Washington, first President of the United States, had an interesting habit which his nephew Robert Lew discovered. Robert says, “I accidentally witnessed Washington’s private devotions in his library both morning and evening and he never missed a day. On these occasions I saw him in a kneeled position with a Bible open before him.”
Apostle Paul in Romans 12:1-6 gives guidelines for living as a redeemed people in a fallen world. He indicated our personal responsibility: give ourselves to Christ, obey governments, love our neighbors and take special care for those in need and those who are weak in the faith. We must live in faith each day. Romans 12:12 states, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affiliation, faithful in prayer.
Our prayer today is for our brethren in North America: The USA and Canada and newer work in the region.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, 2012
John 5:39: “Search the scripture” (NIV)
When I was about 6 years old, I memorized the Lord’s Prayer and I started to ask questions like: Who is my creator? Who gave me my life? While we were growing up, our parents taught us to memorize scriptures. This teaching helped me grow physically and spiritually. (Read Proverbs 3:1-6 and Proverbs 4:1-9.)
The Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible, gives us the standards and rules to live our lives: To know its meaning for ourselves, to rely on God’s promises, to trust in the redeemer, to obey him with delight and not to follow false teachings.
In Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, Jesus revealed that in the end times more and more false prophets and false teachings will appear. Matthew 24:6 and 24: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed…. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.” (NIV)
The lives of Christians in all countries and in all ages demonstrate the transforming power of God’s Word. The Bible, inspired to us by God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, gives us the knowledge of hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified for our freedom. There’s the everlasting truth: every page is pure; the holy book has guided my youth and will support all generations and ages to come.
Our prayer TODAY is for our brethren in Asia: The Philippines, India (Kerala and Andhra Pradesh), and newer work in other countries.
The more we pray, our strength will be restored. The more we study the Bible, the more we understand God and His love.
The most valuable gift ever given to mankind was the opportunity to know and experience the love of the Father.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2012
John 15:14: “You are my friend, if ye do whatever I command you.”
Communication is used by every living thing. Our way to our Father in heaven is through Jesus the only one. He commanded us to do whatever He said.
Why? Because he wants every human to know that he is the God of love. We can spread the Kingdom of heaven and
communicate in all languages.
During the darkness of World War II, the British people were truly thankful for King George VI because of his faith and leading his country in prayer. While most other European leaders had fled their own countries, this is what King George prayed: “I believe from my heart that the cause which binds together my people and our gallant and faithful allies is the cause of Christian civilization. Let us then put our trust as I do in God and in the unconquerable
spirit of the British people.” In 1942 the king called for a national day of prayer. The following year the allies started to see the war turning in their favor.
Matthew 6:33: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Our prayer today is for our brethren in Australia and New Zealand and newer work in the region.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 3RD, 2012
Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect”
There is only one life that is perfect and is an example for us. That is the life of our Lord Christ Jesus.
Many people are in search of the truth and think that the ultimate Christian life is to be a regular attendee each week. However, physical attendance does not provide full spiritual satisfaction.
John Wesley while studying at college received a letter from his mother. She wrote: “Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God or takes off the relish of spiritual things: whatever increases the authority of your body over your mind—that thing is sin to you.” Prayer is like watering flowers. It restores and blossoms the spiritual fruit trees.
A story is told about a ship’s crew in the middle of the Amazon and famished for water. They signaled to all the passing ships, “Oh give us water!” Each time, the ships signaled back, “Dip down where you are.” This seemed a mockery and the crew was discouraged. Finally in sheer despair, they decided to dip down where they were and were astonished to find that the water was fresh.
We too are famished for the living water. You need to “Dip down” where you are for the strength to live the life that counts. Keep in touch with God in prayer for He will strengthen your hearts through His grace.
Our prayer TODAY is for our brethren in South America: Brazil and other countries where there is new work.
For your sake, for the sake of others and Christ’s sake, live the life that counts.
MONDAY, JANUARY 2ND, 2012
Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, and let us reason together”
If you are invited to a birthday celebration or dinner with a very important person—such as a Prime Minister or a President of your country—would you go? An opportunity to meet with one of such importance would be valuable to you.
One man who knew the importance of going to such events was a man by the name of Daniel. In Daniel’s time, the Prime Minister of Babylon issued a decree that no other god was to be worshiped. Daniel in his heart knew the importance of “attending” an alone time with his God; he never let anything or anyone stand in his time with God. Daniel ensured that his time with God never ceased and he still made it possible to meet God three times a day.
Sweet is the precious gift of prayer,to bow before the throne of grace;to leave our every burden there, and gain new strength to run the race; to gird our heavenly armor on and we will depend on God alone.
Never forget God alone is our supreme privilege. This is so wonderful as we come to His presence in prayer. We can communicate in love with our Father.
Psalm 51:1: “Have mercy on me God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions.”
Our prayer TODAY is for our brethren in Europe: The Netherlands, Poland, England, Germany and newer work in other countries like France and Estonia.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 1ST, 2012
Matthew 6:9: “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name.” (NIV)
Psalm 103:1: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” (NIV)
The phrase “Our Father in heaven” indicates that God is not only majestic and holy but also a God of love. We have to give thanks and praise to glorify our Lord.
As we honor our fathers and mothers for their support of our physical and spiritual life, how do we reward our parents for years of work and support throughout our lives? In the same way that we give thanks to our parents, we too recognize what our Father in heaven has done for us.
Let us honor God’s name by remembering His holiness. May God lead us and guide us on our path for 2012.
We pray for unity in our thoughts and actions as we encourage one another.
To open the Week of Prayer:
a) Praise to God
b) Unite together in our thoughts and prayers
c) Pray for our pastors, leaders, and Conferences.
Our prayer TODAY is for our brethren in Africa: Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and newer work in the region.