Prayer Victory

Photo by Surge Bertasius taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Surge Bertasius taken from freedigitalphotos.net

If God is for us, who or what can stand against us? (Romans 8:31) And yet, I feel this verse needs a caveat–it implies obedience, as does the below devotion, written by author Karen Jurgens. For those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while, you might remember a similar post, What’s Your Jericho. This biblical account, and the application it offers for our lives today, merits the reminder. As you read Karen’s post, pause to think of all the seemingly impenetrable walls in your life. Has God called you to advance toward them in faith? Then obey without hesitation, trusting Him to perfect that which concerns you. (Psalm 138:8)

Prayer Victory

By Karen Jurgens

“The Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and valiant warriors’” ~ Joshua 6:2, NASB.

Picture by PublicDomainPictures taken from Pixabay.com

Picture by PublicDomainPictures taken from Pixabay.com

During difficult times, how do we fight? By going to battle on our knees. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have to come against the enemy, but we also need strategy for using it effectively.

Let’s look at the story of Joshua and see how he was guided in the battle for Jericho. (You can read the entire account HERE.)

Directed by God, he and his troops were faithful to do as commanded. “You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days” ~ Joshua 6:3, NASB. Marching around the city in silence once each day must have been a true act of faith—no swords, no fighting, and no words. Armed men went first, followed by seven priests blowing seven rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord, followed by the rear guard.

How could a simple march bring down city walls and usher victory into the hands of the Israelites? It must have been especially challenging on the sixth day—the day before the miracle—but they had God’s promise that He would bring them the victory.

Do we also feel the same way as we pray in God’s will for our requests—perhaps for days, weeks, or even years—as we keep waiting for that breakthrough? Probably so.

jerichowall

photo by heathertruett taken from pixabay.com

But the seventh day dawned in Jericho. On that special day, the procedure was different. “…then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets” ~ Joshua 6:4b, NASB. They marched around the city walls six times, and on the seventh round, God told them “…when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the walls of the city will fall down flat…” ~ Joshua 6:5, NASB. What a victory celebration that must have been!

That seventh day is on the way for us prayer warriors. As we march around and pray over our requests, let us continue to have faith that the day when God will pull down our strongholds is coming soon.

Dear Lord, like the story of Joshua, may our walls come tumbling down!

***

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. When faced with a challenge, do you focus on the challenge or turn your heart and mind to Christ through prayer? I think sometimes we forget how powerful and attentive He is. How He truly is for us. What are you facing right now? Are you using the challenge as an opportunity to pray or as a reason to worry? The choice is ours! Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

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How Big is Your God?

I’ve been taking an online writing course through ACFW and somehow, the conversation turned to callings. This took another detour to time constraints and learning to say no to the good in order to have time for the better. And although I do think we need to be intentional about our time, I believe we have a lot more of it than we realize…or perhaps than we care to admit. More importantly, I believe God can do more with the time we have than we truly believe.

Do we really understand who we are in Christ? Once we trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Creator of the Universe dwells within us. We are given the mind of Christ, are set on God’s course and are equipped with everything we need to stay the course.

In Francis Chan’s Forgotten God, he asks some thought-provoking questions and makes some powerful statements:

“When we are referring to God, balance is a huge mistake. God is not just one thing we add to the mix called life. He wants an invitation from us to permeate every part of us.” (p. 20) “And perhaps the core issue is really about our holding back from giving ourselves to God, rather than our getting “too much” of Him.” (p. 21) “After all, if the Holy Spirit moves, nothing can stop Him.” (p. 18) “Without Him, people operate in their own strength and only accomplish human-size results. The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation…But when believers live in the power of the Holy Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural.” “I think the fear of God failing us leads us to “cover for God”. This means we ask for less, expect less, and are satisfied with less because we are afraid to ask for or expect more.”

And from his book, Crazy Love: “We try to set our lives up so that everything will be fine even if God doesn’t come through. But true faith means holding nothing back.” Speaking of his own life, he says, “I’ve made it a commitment to consistently put myself in situations that scare me and require God to come through.”

Think about that for a moment. What are you doing today that will result in failure unless God steps in? And here’s a question that is haunting. On page 174 of Crazy Love he asks, “And even more importantly, how will you answer the King when He says, ‘What did you do with what I gave you?'”

Here are some people I believed lived with reckless abandon to God, trusting in His power and not limiting their actions based on what they believed they could accomplish:

During the age of rationalism and revivalism, John Wesley traveled over 200,000 miles on horseback AND preached 42,000 sermons, wrote 200 books, organized his followers, organized a Methodist society and built a chapel. (Christianity Through the Centuries pg. 383.)

Charles Spurgeon gave enough sermons and wrote enough material to fill 200 large books. And what about the works of CS Lewis, Martin Luther, Tyndale and Wycliffe?

Were these men super Christians? Did they have more of God? God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He created the universe. Honestly, He doesn’t need us and if He chose, He could raise up a stone and make it the world’s greatest orator. For some mysterious reason He has chosen to work through man–not super humans, but ordinary men and women who trust in an extraordinary God to do mighty things through us.

I believe the question is not can we accomplish A or B but will we allow God to accomplish A or B through us.

Remember the wall of Jericho we talked about? It never would have collapsed if the Israelites remained in their camp. God called them to take the city. Could they do it? Absolutley not…in their own strength. But could God do it through them? Piece of cake.

What would our world look like if people started taking God at His word and surrendered their lives completely to Him?

What’s Your Jericho

I’ve read the story of Jericho numerous times, always from the perspective of what God did–which is amazing. But today I read it through a different lens What must it have felt like for the Israelites to march around a heavily fortified, six-acre city, not once, not twice, but thirteen times?

As the 8+ meter wall loomed beside them, swallowing them in its shadow, did their courage fade? 

I imagine when they first received God’s instructions, they felt excited. Hoorah! God has given us the city! Let’s go! On day two, halfway around with no sign of victory in sight, did they begin to feel foolish? Then came day three, day four, five and six. How easy it would have been to give in, to walk away, to chalk it all up to a crazy idea not worth pursuing.

Then came day seven. This had to be the most difficult day of all when the Israelites marched around the city not once, but seven times. Seven times around a heavily fortified, six acre city. All total, the Israelites marched around the city thirteen times. Do the math–that’s a lot of acrage to cover. That’s a lot of walking, with zero fighting.

I can imagine the thoughts that must have filled their minds. Surely the God who parted the Red Sea could move faster. Seven days? Wasn’t there a more efficient way?

Maybe, if God was only concerned with conquering the city, but God had bigger plans–eternal plans. It’s easy to praise God when everything goes as expected. It’s easy to trust Him when life is easy. It’s another matter entirely when everything runs contrary to reason and we feel like we’re endlessly marching in circles. 

Seven long days of nothing, doubts and insecurities flooding their minds. Seven long days of their hearts crying out to God. “Do you remember, Lord? Are you still in this?” 

Then imagine their jubilation when they rounded that corner for the  thirteenth time and the ram horn blasted.  The faithful marchers shouted with victory, then the walls came tumbling down.

What’s your Jericho and where are you on your march?