Daily Archives: October 10, 2020

October 10: Paul and his requests for prayer — VCY America

More from E.M. Bounds: Prayer & Praying Men

I desire above all things to learn to pray. We want to sound the reveille for the Christian warriors. We desire to find truth of the lack of real praying. What is it? Why is it? Why so little time spent in prayer when Christ, who had command of His time, chose to spend great part of it in INTERCESSION? “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” We believe the answer to be the desire is in the heart, but the will is undisciplined, the motive is present, but the affections have not melted under hours of heavenly meditation; the intellect is keen, yet not for hours of tireless research. The intellect and the affections have never been linked together by the sealing of the blessed Holy Ghost to do or die for God’s glory in the secret places, with doors shut, lusts crucified.—Rev. Homer W. Hodge.

The many requests of Paul for prayer for himself, made to those to whom he ministered, put prayer to the front in Paul’s estimate of its possibilities. Paul prayed much himself, and tried hard to arouse Christians to the imperative importance of the work of prayer. He so deeply felt the need of prayer that he was given to the habit of personal praying. Realizing this for himself, he pressed this invaluable duty upon others. Intercessory prayer, or prayer for others, occupied a high place in his estimate of prayer. It is no surprise, therefore, when we find him throwing himself upon the prayers of the churches to whom he wrote.

By all their devotion to Jesus Christ, by all their interest in the advance of God’s kingdom on earth, by all the ardor of their personal attachment to Jesus, he charges them to pray much, to pray unceasingly, to pray at all times, to pray in all things, and to make praying a business of praying. And then realizing his own dependence upon prayer for his arduous duties, his sore trials and his heavy responsibilities, he urges those to whom he wrote to pray especially for him.

The chief of the Apostles needed prayer. He needed the prayers of others, for this he practically admitted in asking for their prayers. His call to the apostleship did not lift him above this need. He realized and acknowledged his dependence on prayer. He craved and prized the prayers of all good people. He was not ashamed to solicit prayers for himself nor to urge the brethren everywhere to pray for him.

In writing to the Hebrews, he bases his request for prayer on two reasons, his honesty and his anxiety to visit them. If he were insincere, he could lay no claim to their prayers. Praying for him, it would be a powerful agent in facilitating his visit to them. They would touch the secret place of the wind and the waves, and arrange all secondary agencies and make them minister to this end. Praying puts God in haste to do for us the things which we wish at His hands.

Paul’s frequent request of his brethren was that they would “pray for him.” We are to judge of the value of a thing by the frequency of asking for it, and by the special and urgent plea made for it. If that be true, then with Paul the prayers of the saints were among his greatest assets. By the urgency, iteration and reiteration of the request, “Pray for me,” Paul showed conclusively the great value he put upon prayer as a means of grace. Paul had no need so pressing as the need of prayer. There were no values so appreciated and appreciable as the prayers of the faithful.

Paul put the great factor of prayer as the great factor in his work. The most powerful and far-reaching energy in Paul’s estimate is prayer. He covets it and hoards it as he seeks the prayers of God’s people. The earnestness of his soul goes out in these requests. Hear him in this entreaty for prayer he is writing to the Romans:

“I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers for me.”

Prayers by others for Paul were valuable because they helped him. Great helpers are prayers. Nothing gives so much aid to us in our needs as real prayers. They supply needs and deliver from straits. Paul’s faith, so he writes to the Corinthians, had been much tried, and he had been much helped and much strengthened by God’s deliverance. “Ye also helping by prayer.” What marvelous things has God done for His favored saints through the prayers of others! The saints can help the saints more by fervent praying than in any other way.

In the midst of envy and detraction, and in perils by false brethren, he writes thus to the Philippians:

“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation though your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

“According to my expectation, and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or death.”

Shame was taken away, holy boldness secured, and life and death made glorious by the prayers of the saints at Philippi for Paul.

Paul had many mighty forces in his ministry. His remarkable conversion was a great force, a point of mighty projecting and propelling power, and yet he did not in his ministry secure its results by the force of his epochal conversion. His call to the apostleship was clear, luminous, and all-convincing, but he did not depend on that for the largest results in his ministry.

Paul’s course was more clearly marked out and his career rendered more powerfully successful by prayer than by any other force.

Paul urges the Roman Christians to pray for him that he may be delivered from unbelieving men. Prayer is a defense and protection against the malignity and machinations of evil men. It can affect men because God can affect them. Paul had not only unbelieving enemies with whom to contend, but many Christians were prejudiced against him to an extent which rendered it questionable whether they would accept any Christian service at his hands. Especially was this the case at Jerusalem, and so prayer, powerful prayer, must be used to remove the mighty and pernicious force of prejudice, inflamed and deep-seated.

Prayer on their part for him must be used for his safety, and also that a prosperous journey and God’s will might bring him speedily and surely to them, in order to bless and refresh mutually the Roman Christians.

These prayer requests of Paul are many-sided and all-comprehensive. How many things does his request to the Roman Church include! The request for their prayers, like the Church to whom it is directed, is cosmopolitan. He beseeches them, entreats them, a term indicating intensity and earnestness, “for the sake of Jesus Christ, to strive with him in their prayers for him.” This he desires that he may be delivered from evil and designing men, who might hinder and embarrass him in his mission, then further that his service for the poor saints might be accepted by the saints, and that he might ultimately come unto them with joy that they might be refreshed.

How full of heart earnestness is his request! How tender and loving is his appeal! How touching and high is the motive to the highest and truest form of prayer, “for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake!” Also for the love we bear to the Spirit, or for the love which the Spirit bears to us; by the ties of the holy brotherhood. By these lofty and constraining motives does he urge them to pray for him and to “strive with him” in their mutual praying. Paul is in the great prayer struggle, a struggle in which the mightiest issues are involved and imperiled; and he is in the midst of this struggle. He is committed to it because Christ is in it. He needs help, help which comes alone through prayer. So he pleads with his brethren to pray for him and with him.

By prayer enemies are to be swept out of the way. By prayer prejudices are to be driven out of the hearts of good men. His way to Jerusalem would be cleared of difficulties, the success of his mission would be secured, and the will of God and the good of the saints would be accomplished. All these marvelous ends would be secured by marvelous praying. Wonderful and world-wide are the results to be gained by mighty praying. If all apostolic successors had prayed as Paul did, if all Christians in all these ages had been one with apostolical men in the mighty wrestlings of prayer, how marvelous and divine would have been the history of God’s Church! How unparalleled would have been its success! The glory of its millennium would have brightened and blessed the world ages ago.

We see in Paul’s requests his estimate of the far-reaching power of prayer. Not that prayer has in it any talismanic force, nor that it is a fetish, but that it moves God to do things that it nominates. Prayer has no magic, potent charm in itself, but is only all potent because it gets the Omnipotent God to grant its request. A precedent basis in all prayer as expressed or understood by Paul is that “Ye strive together with me in your prayers for me.” It is of the nature of a severe conflict in which Paul’s soul is engaged, a wrestle, a hand-to-hand fight. The strain is severe and exhaustive to all the energies of the soul, and the issue is tossed in uncertainty. Paul in this prayer struggle needs reinforcements and divine help in his striving. He is in the midst of the struggle, and will bear the brunt, but he solicits and pleads for the help of others. Their prayers are just now needed, He needs help to offer intense prayers.

Prayer is not inaptly called “wrestling,” because it is a most intense struggle. To prayer there are the greatest hindrances and the most inveterate foes. Mighty evil forces surge around the closets of prayer. Enemies strong and strongly entrenched are about the closets where praying is done. No feeble, listless act is this praying done by Paul. In this thing he has “put away childish things.” The commonplace and the tame have been retired. Paul must do this praying mightily or not do it at all. Hell must feel and stagger and under the mightiness of his prayer stroke, or he strikes not at all. The strongest graces and the manliest efforts are requisite here. Strength is demanded in the praying done by Paul. Courage is at a premium in it. Timid touches and faint-hearted desires avail nothing in the mind of Paul which we are considering. Enemies are to be faced and routed and fields are to be won. The most unflagging and invincible bravery and the highest qualities of Christian soldierhood are demanded for prayer. It is a trumpet call to prayer, a chieftain’s clarion note, sounded out for earnest, persistent prayer as the great spiritual conflict rages.

October 10: Paul and his requests for prayer — VCY America

Skewed Values — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 2 Corinthians 10:17-18

Thoughts on today’s verse

In a world with skewed values, and false promises, and fleeting fame, what can we boast in other than the steadfastness of the Lord’s love, the incredible riches of the Lord’s grace, the incomparable supply of the Lord’s blessings, the sweetness of the Lord’s people, the mercy of the Lord’s plan for our salvation, the promise of the Lord’s tomorrow, the….. of the Lord’s…!

Prayer:

Lord of Majesty and Mercy, every good and enduring thing in my life I have because of you. While the words are simple, they are heartfelt — In Jesus name, thank you!

By Phil Ware
Used by Permission
Phil’s daily devotionals on
http://www.verseoftheday.com


FURTHER READING

Who is My Behaviour Affecting?

A Little Self-Control Goes A Long Way

What are Your Ethical Standards?

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

Skewed Values — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Living a Life of Gratitude — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

I have so much to be grateful for

– the people God has brought into my life, the family that I was born into and the many blessings He has poured out on me.  And I’m truly thankful for all God’s work in my life.

But over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly aware that there is a vast difference between being thankful for the things God has given me and living a life of gratitude.  Let me explain. . .

When we give a gift to someone, the most rewarding and pleasing thing for us as the gift givers is to see them enjoying and using the gift we have given them.  And on the other hand the hardest thing is to hear, “Thank you so much for this gift!  I love it.”  And then to see our present thrown in the trash unused and unappreciated.  Why?  Because we sacrificed part of ourselves in the giving of the gift and it was tossed away like a piece of garbage.

When we harbour bitterness in our heart, allow anger to control us, refuse to forgive, when we turn away from God, when our thoughts are focused on our self, we are not living in gratitude of the costly sacrifice Christ paid for us.  It’s as if we’ve thrown His gift into the trash and now live as if it is an insignificant factor in our life.  We diminish the price God paid for our sins.

Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice to give us His most treasured gift.  1 John 4:9-10 (NLV) says,

God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.  This is real love — not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

So how do I live a life of true gratitude when I’m not perfect?

For me it has begun with allowing God to show me the depths of my depravity.  Seeing my sin the way God sees it and stepping into the sorrow and heartache this sin has wrought in my life and in the lives of others.  By doing this it has brought about a hatred for the sin and a passion to live in obedience to God and His Word.

God has also showed me that I cannot do this in my own strength; I have to live in dependence upon Him – seeking His way, His desires and His kingdom.  As I’ve come to see myself for who I really am, it has allowed me to see God for who He truly is and has brought a deeper meaning to His incredible sacrifice that He paid for me.

So let me ask you the same questions I ask myself on a continual basis:

Are you living a life of gratitude to your Savior, who died to set you free?
Are you diminishing the price He paid for you by the choices you are making?

By Kristi Huseby
used by permission


FURTHER READING

Count Your Blessings

Bible Study:Thanksgiving for What God Has Done

Thanking Abundantly

Study on Thanksgiving

sus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

Living a Life of Gratitude — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Suffering Servant (Part 1 of 2) | Truth For Life Programs

We often picture Jesus as the risen Savior rather than the sacrificial Lamb. But Scripture includes the crucifixion’s gruesome details for a reason. Join us as we reflect on Christ, the Suffering Servant, on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.

Listen…

Source: Suffering Servant (Part 1 of 2)

Saturday Selections – October 10, 2020 — Reformed Perspective

3.5 billion miles of DNA in just little ol’ you (6 min)

We each have enough linear length of DNA in us to stretch to the sun and back again more than 18 times. Wow!

Evolution examples are just examples of world’s brokeness…

Christians sometimes think that because evolutionists believe in natural selection, we shouldn’t. The truth is, creationists also hold to natural selection, but what we don’t hold to is the idea that mutation + natural selection = the path up from molecules to man. In the examples examined here we see instance after instance of a mutation that, while helping the creature in some fashion, is actually a loss of function. This might start a road from man down to molecules but could never explain the upward trend.

How to love the co-worker you just can’t stand

C.S. Lewis has some helpful advice…

Social isolation is damaging a generation of children

Titles are often overwrought and that is the case here too, but were we to rephrase this as a question it would be well worth considering, is social isolation damaging a generation of children?

Dutch euthanasia doctor warns the British against…euthanasia

Dutch doctor Bert Keizer was euthanizing patients 20 years before it was legal. Now he’s warning Britain about the slippery slope that comes with legalized euthanasia.

Tim Challies on the problem with “love languages” (3 min)

Saturday Selections – October 10, 2020 — Reformed Perspective

October 10 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

October 10.—Morning. [Or July 18.]
“Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

OUR Lord continued to cheer and warn the little band around him, telling them of the sorrows they might expect, and of the consolations which would be given them.

John 16:16–33

16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. (Because the Holy Spirit would enlighten them, they would see him in the truest sense, and would be prepared in a little while to see him for ever in glory.)

17, 18 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. (When the Lord was gone they were full of grief, but as soon as his great representative, the Comforter, had come to them, they were filled with holy joy, triumphing greatly because the Lord had ascended and had bestowed gifts upon men.)

21, 22 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. (No longer do the saints sorrow over the departure of their Lord, for they see the joyful result of his death, resurrection, and ascension, and are filled with a sacred delight which cannot be damped by persecution.)

23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. (They would be so well instructed that they would put no more childish questions to him, being led by the Spirit into the mysteries of the kingdom.) Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. (Blessed assurance, sealed with a double Verily! Who will dare to doubt the efficacy of prayer?)

24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. (They had not yet learned the power of the name of Jesus, but when taught of the Spirit they would plead the name of Jesus with great prevalence.)

25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.

26, 27 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?

He reminded them by this question that their faith was not so strong as they imagined. When we are not under immediate trial we fancy our faith to be far greater than it really is.

32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (We have found our Lord’s words to be true, for tribulation has been our portion; let us be confident that the rest of his words are true also.)

O love of God, our shield and stay,

Through all the perils of our way;

Eternal love, in thee we rest,

For ever safe, for ever blest!

October 10.—Evening. [Or July 19.]
“I have glorified thee on the earth.”

WE have listened to our Lord’s farewell sermon, let us now attend to his farewell prayer. Melancthon says of it, “There is no voice which has ever been heard either in heaven or on earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime than this prayer offered by the Son of God himself.” Beyond all other forms of supplication it deserves to be known as “the Lord’s Prayer.” Our time will only permit us to read one half of it on this occasion, but we will meditate upon the remainder when next we gather at the family altar.

John 17:1–12

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven (Our Lord, with holy calmness, looked into the face of the Father, and John, who seldom records the gestures of his beloved Lord, saw the upward glancing of his eye, and never forgot that impressive look. As Jesus looked up he prayed), and said, Father, the hour is come (This the Father knew, but Jesus loved to have fellowship with his Father in that knowledge. Prayer is not only the asking for favours, it is the intercourse of the soul with God, the drawing near of the heart to the Lord. Our Lord went on to cry) glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (All men are in the hands of the Mediator—here is the universality of his redemption; he will, however, save only his own people—here is the speciality of it.)

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (Do we know by experience what this eternal life is? Do we know the only true God and Jesus Christ the sent one? Let conscience answer. It is worthy of note that this is the only place in which our Lord applies to himself the compound name of Jesus Christ the Anointed Saviour.)

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. (The special blessings sought for by our Lord would not be prized by the ungodly world even could they obtain them, hence our Lord does not ask his Father to give such boons to any but his own disciples. He specially pleads that his beloved ones may be kept from the evil of the world, a prayer which evidently could not be offered for those who are themselves the cause of the evil and are living in it.)

10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. (This is, as it were, a prayer from within the veil. The Saviour pleads as if he were already entered into the heavens.) Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (The Redeemer’s petition is, that his people may be kept from sin. How carefully ought we to behave ourselves lest we go astray into that which would grieve his heart. If he pleaded with God that we might be kept from sin, God forbid that we should take pleasure in it.)

There is a Shepherd kind and strong,

Still watchful for his sheep;

Nor shall the infernal lion rend

Whom he vouchsafes to keep.

Blest Jesus, intercede for us,

That we may fall no more;

Oh, raise us, when we prostrate lie,

And comfort lost restore.

Thy sacred energy impart,

That faith may never fail:

But under showers of fiery darts,

That temper’d shield prevail.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 602–603). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

October 10 The Poor Man’s Morning Portion

10.—That ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.—Exod. 11:7.

Who shall mark down all the properties of distinguishing grace! What a vast difference doth grace make, in this life, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not! And what an everlasting difference will be made in the life which is to come! My soul! make this thought the subject of thine unceasing meditation. Thou canst not walk the street, nor go to public worship, nor watch the Lord’s dealings in all the vast and numberless dispensations going on in life, in the wide world of providence and grace, but what every thing speaks, in the language of the Morning Portion, of the difference there is still put between the Egyptians and Israel. Every thing proclaims it, every event confirms it. And do not overlook the great point of all. It is the Lord that doth all this. Who maketh thee to differ from another? Oh! for grace to be always on the watch-tower to mark this, and for grace to acknowledge it. Precious Jesus! thou art the Source, the Fountain, the Author, the Finisher, of all. Oh! the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are thy judgments, and thy ways past finding out![1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Morning Portion (p. 266). New York; Pittsburg: Robert Carter.