“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”— James 5:16
Given the righteousness that we have in Christ Jesus, anyone in Christ may come before God in prayer with a clear conscience and without fear of condemnation. In point of fact, anyone in Christ may come before God with the expectation of good results.
Hebrews 4:16 says “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” We don’t have to grovel before God or get someone better than us to get what we need. Every Christian may come before Him with great confidence.
Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.—Psalm 86:1
When life is moving along smoothly, it’s easy to say, “God answers prayer.” But a crisis can bring doubt, especially if the Lord is not responding as quickly as we might like. That’s when we may be tempted to bargain with God as if He could be manipulated into acting on our behalf. However, the goal of prayer is not to get God to do what we want but to bring our concerns to Him, trusting that He will answer in His own way and time.
Waiting on the Lord is fairly easy when we’re not facing anything urgent. But difficulties and suffering tend to make us impatient. We may even begin to find fault with God, thinking that if He truly loved us, He would intervene and bring relief.
As we seek the Lord for help, David’s prayers in the Psalms provide wonderful patterns for us to follow. He faced many dire situations and continued to turn to God. He recounts God’s character—gracious, good, ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call on Him. These characteristics are the basis for trust.
Knowing who God is enables us to trust Him through the crises of life. Because He is faithful, we know that He will keep His promises. His holiness causes us to examine our life and repent of any sins that are hindering our prayers. And His mercy, grace, and love give us the comfort we need to endure hardship.
I started writing this blog some time ago. How long to be exact I’m not sure. I started out with the intention of writing uplifting messages that show God’s love and care for us. I felt like a lot of people needed to read these stories. But, much to my surprise, my daily statistics show very few people visit my blog. Therefore, I am prayerfully considering to “continue writing anyway.” That’s right, I’m not giving up just yet.
You see, numbers in the grand scheme of things aren’t important. It’s the message that’s important. I believe with all my heart that someone out there will stumble across my blog one day and be saved by reading it’s messages. That’s why I continue to write each day.
I will not give up on that one individual who desperately needs to hear about Jesus and His soul saving action of dying on the cross. Many people don’t know who Jesus is and what He did for mankind. In my opinion that is sad. We as believers have the responsibility of sharing the “good news” with others. What “good news” you might ask?
The “good news” is that Jesus died for our sins so that we may have eternal life in heaven after we die. There is only one way to an eternal life in heaven and that is through our belief that Jesus died for our sins. Take the time to tell others about this great act and the free gift given to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ. Your gift of the gospel may be the one thing that saves that person from eternal damnation. So, give it away. It’s your free “Good News” gift to those around you.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed, That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.— Psalm 27:13
It was Jesus himself who said that ‘”In the world you will have tribulation”‘ (John 16:33) and it was the Apostle Paul himself who said that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12). We should not be surprised, then, if we encounter these things in life. Nevertheless, we should not ask God for tribulations and we should not believe God for persecutions.
And since we live in a world full of trials, troubles, and tribulations, we should look to the Lord in faith for victory despite the evil. Although Jesus told us that in the world we would have tribulations, He also told us to ‘”be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”‘ (John 16:33). In Christ we are overcomers and we should put our faith to work by expecting to overcome.
Today, then, do not lose heart and give up. Instead, expect to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Expect to see good things come from the Lord.
“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. … ‘Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand’” —Jeremiah 18:3–4, 6
What an accurate portrayal of men and women this is! The Prophet Jeremiah portrays God as the divine Potter and a man or woman as the clay that the Master Artist seeks to make into a vessel of usefulness. But in the process, the vessel becomes marred—a flaw appears in the work—and tenderly the skilled Craftsman of life refashions it to His own liking.
We humans, in our vaunted pride and self-styled wisdom, would claim that we are self-created. We would wrest ourselves from the skillful hands of the Potter, and cry, “I evolved, and I am the product of natural law; I am self-created!”
But the only true record and the only true evidence indicates that it was otherwise.
God made us in His own image and likeness: creatures with whom He could commune, companion and fellowship. You were made for God’s fellowship, and to fulfill any other purpose is to fail to fulfill your destiny.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
— Psalm 19:14 NLT
David prayed earlier in Psalm 19 that the Lord would keep him from sinful deeds of all kinds. In the verse above, he takes the issue deeper by asking that the Lord would also keep him from speaking words that are sinful. From David’s point of view, the things that we say are just as capable of being sinful as the deeds we do and we need the help of the Lord to keep from speaking them just as much as we do to keep from doing sinful deeds.
If our words and meditations are free from sin, then they will be pleasing to the Lord. The word translated as “pleasing” is borrowed from the language of the sacrificial system of the old covenant. The animal sacrifices that were brought before the Lord were required to be without defect, so likewise the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts should be without defect. The idea here is that everything we say and think is done before the Lord and should be pleasing to Him as a consequence.
The Lord wants us to be pleasing before Him. He is concerned not only with the deeds we do, but also with the words we say and the thoughts we think.
Today, then, let us ask the Lord to cleanse us, inside and out.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”— Matthew 5:14-15 NIV
Jesus is the true light that gives light to everyone (John 1:9). As the true light, He is a beacon in the darkness that tells us and shows us the way we should go in life. If we accept Jesus as the true light, then we will reflect His life. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
We are the light of the world, as our verse for today proclaims, because we follow Jesus and have the light of life as a result.