Frederick Douglass was one of the great movers, shakers, and thinkers of the 19th century. As a young slave in Maryland, he learned to read – and began to teach his fellow slaves by reading the Bible.
Determined to be free from slavery, young Douglass escaped and fled to New York to a safe community for freed slaves.
Then his attentions turned to freeing others.
Frederick Douglass established a newspaper, North Star, and became a writer and orator. Douglass traveled the United States and into Europe speaking for the abolition of slavery – and for women’s rights.
He wrote several autobiographies, sharing his stories of slavery, deliverance, and his Christian views.
Douglass was truly a remarkable man. One who stood up before his time. Before it was fashionable.
His quotes are significant nearly 2 centuries later.
One is especially significant today.
I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded.
The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible.
It is in substance, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34].
This constitutes my politics – the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . .
I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people.
An amazing man. An amazingly accurate outlook.
[Frederick Douglass, The Frederick Douglass Papers, John Blassingame, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), Vol. 2, p. 397, from a speech delivered at Ithaca, New York, October 14th, 1852.]
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, once said, “I am convinced that God does nothing on the earth, except in response to believing prayer.” When God’s ready to put a new piece of His puzzle in place, He first impresses upon the hearts of His true prayer warriors to pray for it.
We see that principle in Luke 2: 21-52.
God always has His intercessors. While many of the church leaders are parading around in their priestly robes, trying to impress their subjects, God has some less significant people praying for His purpose.
These intercessors are the ones who see and recognize Jesus!
So we see Simeon and Anna. Neither of them is a person of position or great honor; they are simple people. Both of them are advanced in years and both spend lots of time praying. It is these two who God chooses to reveal the identity of Jesus.
Both of these people have seen in God’s Word that the Savior would come, and they are praying for it to happen. The Holy Spirit has revealed to Simeon that he won’t see death until he has seen the Christ, and that’s exactly what takes place.
The joy which comes from this man is evident as he recognizes Jesus and proclaims God’s Word. Overhearing these words, Anna agrees, and her joy exudes to others – the Savior has come.
God’s methodology hasn’t changed. There are many today who parade around in their pride and arrogance, ignoring God’s plan, and even discounting his Word.
Then there are others. There are those who love God and His Word, and who spend time praying for it to come to pass. Sometimes these people are unrecognized, even by those around them. But God knows what they are doing, and He is pleased.
Our world is in great need of awakening, and that’s a promise God has made to His people. As those who will believe God and allow Him to direct their prayers, rise up to their positions of prayer, we will see His plans come to fruition.
We have already begun to see trickles of it, but we will see more. We will see God move in the hearts of people, calling them to a greater life in Him.
Significant change is on the way.
I choose to be a part of His prayer team. Do you?
This is an excerpt from 30 Days: Daily devotions Based On Scripture by Suellen Estes. You may see more at amazon.com/author/suellenestes
What is God saying to you? That is one of the most important questions you will ever ask yourself. Are you listening? Do you hear Him? How can you know for sure what He is saying?
As you read the Bible, you realize that God has always wanted to talk to us. From the time of Adam when He met with His people in the cool of the day, until this present time, God has been speaking. So what is He saying? And how does He speak to us?
The first means by which God will speak to us is through His Word: the Bible. This miraculous book contains the thoughts and plans of God as He has walked with men throughout the centuries. Line upon line, precept upon precept, we begin to capture His nature and His intentions toward us. We begin to see His love and faithfulness toward His people.
I recently read an article written by a supposed Bible scholar, saying that to understand the Bible, you had to realize that it wasn’t consistent, but a hodge-podge of writings by many people of many different cultures. Boy, did he miss it.
Sure the cultures were different throughout the centuries as the many tribes and civilizations emerged on the scene. However, the one thing which caused the story to be consistent was God Himself. God never changed. He had a plan, and He continued to work with imperfect human beings to lay the foundation for His plan and then to build upon that foundation bringing His plan to fruition.
Think about it. If God had just beamed Jesus down from heaven and had Him fulfill His mission on the cross, no one would have understood what He had accomplished. To most people, He would have been just another man who died on the cross.
But that’s not what God did. He took centuries developing His relationship with Abraham’s children – the nation of Israel. He needed a family of people through whom He could bring His Son into the earth legally – that is, to be born into the earth. He also wanted these chosen people to understand the blood sacrifice Jesus would make when the day came for that. So He instituted patterns of worship which would lead the people to understand His perfect lamb. And He instituted patterns of the tabernacle which would point to God’s true temple in heaven. He showed all of the elements of heavenly worship so that His people could get a glimpse.
To accomplish His goal, God had to be very strict. If the people couldn’t stay focused on their relationship with Him, they would start copying the cultures around them, and they would abdicate their mission ordained by Him. To accomplish His plans, these people had to be true to Him. So when God’s people turned away from Him and followed after other gods – the gods of the surrounding neighbors – they received strict punishment in order to keep them on track.
So this unchanging, all powerful, all knowing, forever loving God dealt with His chosen people so that His Son could be brought to the earth. When the day finally came for His entry, the Holy Child Jesus came to earth as the son of Mary, from the family of Abraham. Though His entry had been prophesied and promised for centuries, most of the leaders could not understand who He was and what God was doing.. They were too focused on outward, prideful appearances, and they were offended by the humble entrance of the Savior.
So we can see that these supposed Bible scholars didn’t recognize their Savior when He arrived. They were too caught up in the pomp of their positions, and they wanted to look good to those around them. So they missed it.
Now we come back to our original question. How can we know what God is saying? How can we know His character and His nature? How can we know His will for us?
When we come to the Bible and receive it with humble, teachable hearts, we will begin to see who He is. He will speak to us through the passages of scripture written so long ago. He will open our eyes to His plans and His purposes in the earth. We will truly come to know our God and to hear what He is saying to us.
As you read the Bible ask the Holy Spirit to show you what He wants you to know. There will be times when you will start reading in a ho-hum manner and suddenly some divine thoughts will leap off the page. You will see things you never saw before – even in passages you have read over and over.
As you and I continue this journey, we will begin to hear more and more from God. He will reveal Himself – and He will reveal His will. We will begin to know what we are to do in order to fulfill our purposes in the earth. Then we will grab hold of the grace available for us to accomplish those purposes.
We will hear what He is saying.
P.S. If you would like a Bible reading plan with notes for understanding, check this out. If you want the big picture, you must read it from cover to cover.
What’s so significant about the Bible?
Why is the Bible truly one of God’s greatest miracles in the world today? For the next few posts I want to be sharing my perceptions about this.
Let me start with a story. You may remember – or remember having heard about – a horrific incident which happened in 1979. It was right after the Shah of Iran was overthrown by radical Muslim clerics. (The same radical group still in power there today).
Thousands of radicals screaming, “Death to America,” stormed the American Embassy and took 66 Americans hostage – and held them captive for 14 months. We are talking about U.S. government officials being taken captive and held by this evil regime. It was unbelievable.
Jimmy Carter was president at the time, and it was the greatest embarrassment of his presidency as he was totally ineffective in trying to obtain their release. In fact, when President Carter directed an attempt to rescue the people, 8 American servicemen died in the effort, without obtaining their release. The mission was a dismal failure.
The United States was humiliated – and shocked at the treatment of their officials and the inability to find a solution. The release of these people didn’t come until Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president. That very day, they were released. (more…)
Everyone wants a confident prayer life. We want to know that when we pray, God hears and He answers. Yet many don’t know how to attain this. So let’s talk about that.
First we have to be honest with ourselves and determine where we are in our journey. with God. Is Jesus truly our Lord? We want our eyes open to God’s plan and we can only do this if we do it His way. For our prayers to be answered the way we want we have to have faith in God, so every step we take is part of the process of building our faith.