John Wesley, whose followers eventually founded the Methodist Church, was controversial in his day. Eggs and tomatoes were often thrown at him as he walked the streets of England, sharing what God had shown him in His Word.
One of his controversial statements concerned prayer:
I am convinced that God does nothing on the earth, except in response to believing prayer. –John Wesley
Let’s think about that for a moment.
In Genesis we see that God gave man authority (dominion) over the earth – and He also gave him free will. He doesn’t force you to obey Him, and He doesn’t control your life apart from your permission. God places great weight on people asking Him for His intervention. We can choose to run our race with Him – or not!
So what was Wesley saying?
Wesley’s point was that when God is ready to put a new piece of His plan in place, He first impresses upon the hearts of His true prayer warriors to pray for it. And He always has those who are willing to pray for His purposes.
Sure, God’s ways are so much higher than ours, He will surprise us with His methods and details. But I am talking about God’s overall plans. For your life – and for your world. The plans He reveals in the Bible.
The Word is full of examples of this concept.
One of those we can find in Daniel 9:2.
In the first year of his (Darius’s) reign, I, Daniel, observed in the Books the number of years which was revealed as the Word of the Lord to Jeremiah the Prophet for the completion of the desolation of Jerusalem, namely seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord to seek Him by prayer and supplication.
Interestingly, Daniel saw in God’s Word that their captivity was to be for 70 years. And the 70 years were complete! So Daniel prayed for this promise to be fulfilled.
And it was!
In Ezra 1, we see that God stirred up the heart of Cyrus the King to facilitate the return of God’s people to Jerusalem. Cyrus was not even a believer, but God still impressed upon him to grant favor to the Jews. And thus the return to Jerusalem began – just as Daniel had prayed.
Let’s look at one more example.
If there was ever anything which God would have done without any prayer from man, it would have been the birth of Jesus. That was God’s design from the very beginning. So did He have people praying for that?
Indeed, in Luke 2 we can see that He did. On the 8th day after the birth of Jesus, His parents brought Him to the temple to be circumcised. There He met two of God’s Prayer warriors who immediately recognized Him as the Messiah. First, Simeon, who was told by God that he wouldn’t taste death until he saw the Messiah.
When he saw Jesus, he proclaimed:
Now, Lord, you are releasing your bond servant to depart in peace, according to Your Word,
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples.
A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the Glory of your people Israel
Next comes Anna, a prophetess.
Anna was an 84 year old widow, who stayed in the temple night and day fasting and praying. When she saw Jesus and heard Simeon, Anna rejoiced greatly, thanking God for the Messiah having been born.
God always has His intercessors. While many of the church leaders were parading around in their priestly robes, trying to impress their subjects, God had some seemingly less significant people praying for His purpose.
Yet to God, they were the most significant! These intercessors were the ones who saw and recognized Jesus when He was only 8 days old.
Neither of them was a person of high position or great honor; they were simple people. Both of them were advanced in years and both spent lots of time praying. These two were the first in the community to recognize the Messiah because of their prayers.
Each of these people had seen in God’s Word that the Savior would come, and they were praying for it to happen. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he wouldn’t see death until he had seen the Christ, and that’s exactly what took place.
The joy which came from this man was evident as he recognized Jesus and proclaimed God’s Word. Overhearing these words, Anna agreed, and her joy exuded to others – the Savior had 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. Even some leaders are caught up in their own importance, and ignore God’s desires.
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 – a promise God has made to His people. There are those who believe God, allowing Him to direct their prayers, and increasing in their ability to pray. Those are the ones who will recognize what God is doing, as they work with Him for His great plans to come to fruition.
They take the Word which God impresses to them, and they pray it back to Him. They thank Him for the manifestation – and they decree that Word into the atmosphere. And they don’t give up!
Great moves of God can take time, so patience is necessary. Yet significant change is on the way.
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.
And it all happens because of prayer!!
In Luke 10:1 We see Jesus commissioning 70 (or some translations say 72) of His disciples to go into God’s harvest field. We can take these verses and apply them to us today. As you read, notice how applicable they are.
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field.
That Greek word for “workers,” is ergates, and it’s also translated “ones who do.” Doers.
Doers. I like to think of them as Those who do what they pray. Doers of the Word.
So what is the harvest field?
The next few words will give you the clue.
v. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
Does that sound familiar? Does that sound like your office or your school? Your neighborhood association?
Have you thought of those people as your harvest field? Well, they are! That’s who you can impact the most. The people you see every day or often. Even the mean ones and those that seem like they would never be interested in Jesus.
Sometimes we think of evangelism as big meetings with powerful preachers. Or altar calls at our local church.
Yet the most effective evangelism is friends impacting friends. Or sometimes not-so-great friends.
I heard an evangelist talk about an encounter he had. He was guest speaker in a church, and had called for those to come forward who needed special prayer. One girl in her 20’s came up and asked him to pray for her to find a new job. She said that she was the only Christian in her office. She wanted to get away from the cussing and dirty jokes.
The evangelist put his hand on her head and said, “Dear Father please forgive this selfish little daughter of yours. And release her from that part of the Word which says go into all the world and preach the Gospel.”
More than likely, this didn’t really happen, but the evangelist was making a point.
The world will never receive the Gospel if we just want to hang out with other Christians. We are to go into the darkness of the world and take the light of God. That’s the only way the world will be changed. That’s the only way many will ever know the Lord.
If you ever hear testimonies of some of the greatest ministers, you will hear how someone never gave up on them. Someoone kept coming back with love and prayer. So never be led by what you see in the people themselves.
Now how can you handle these dark places?
Look at the next verses.
v. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; do not greet anyone on the road.
He wants you to be totally dependent on Him. In all things. When you are dependent on the Holy Spirit, you will be listening to Him and not to other men for your directions.
To be a true Doer for God, you must be able to hear His directions and not be bound to the worldly way of doing things. Not bound to natural reasoning. Or man’s provision. Count on His Spirit to guide you and provide for you.
That’s important because, if you think in natural terms, you will want to lash out at those who lash out at you. You will want to ignore those who ignore you. However, God may direct you to continue with patience to sprinkle the salt of God’s love and forgiveness on the meanest ones around you.
Verse 16… Whoever listens to you listens to Me; whoever rejects you rejects Me.; but whoever rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.
As “Doers,” we learn not to take rejection personally. Those are people who are being led by Satan and his demons to turn away from God. But if the Holy Spirit is leading you to sprinkle some more love. More word. More forgiveness.
You return love for hate. Good for evil.
As Jesus sends out the seventy disciples, armed with His delegated authority, they return with a tremendous report. His plan is truly working. People are being healed and demons are fleeing as they go in His name.
Jesus rejoices that He sees Satan fall from heaven. This one who has tortured mankind will soon be thrown from heaven for good.
Jesus says something which many even today don’t understand.
v. 21 I praise you Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.“
Obviously the 70 He called were not wise and learned. They were simple people. Perhaps not educated. Why would that be?
Humility is required in God’s kingdom. Only those who are willing to listen to Him are to be His representatives in the earth.
The wise and learned are not very teachable, because they want to believe only what they can learn with their minds. They get caught up in their own reasoning and leave God out of it. In fact, often their pride blocks what God would like to do for them and through them.
God wants people who will allow Him to teach them. People who know that they need to depend on Him. These are the ones to which He can delegate His authority. These are the ones He can send in His name.
So allow God to lead you in your mission as a Doer of His Word. He will give you direction – and confirm it with His Word. As you worship your Heavenly Father and stay close to Him, you will grow in your ability to hear His voice and know what He wants you to do.
We have great days ahead as believers. Many mission fields. Many who need to hear about Jesus and to witness ones you walk with Him.
Do you feel insecure in this? That might be a good thing. Dig deep into God’s Word and allow it to penetrate your thoughts. Pray and ask your Heavenly Father for wisdom. Allow God’s Spirit to live big in you.
Then decide you are going to be a Doer of the Word, with all that has been revealed to you.
That’s how I want to live. Don’t you?
Yes, Lord. Send me.
Did I just say that?
Christians have often stayed away from politics. The process can be so negative, with all of the mud-slinging, each side seeming to slander the opponent with impunity. It often creates strife – even in families. When debate starts, people seem to dig in their heels on their point of view, and the divide gets stronger than ever.
When it’s so negative, some people just “stay out of it.” They want peace at all costs, so they just ignore the dialogue and pretend that nothing unusual is going on. After all, they say, “This is the world, not God’s kingdom.”
I have a different view. In fact, when I wake up every morning and count my blessings, one of the greatest is that I live in a free society. I don’t have to be concerned about the authorities stopping my Christian worship. I don’t have to dress a certain way, or limit the number of my children, or worry about my daughters and granddaughters being able to attend schools and pursue their dreams.
Because our nation has been blessed by God, there are many more perks we can list. Warm or cool houses, running water, electricity, good sanitation, ample food…the list goes on and on. We are truly a blessed people.
I’m quite sure that the reason for this is that our God has had His hand on our nation from the beginning. Even Christopher Columbus noted in his diary that He felt that Providence had miraculously allowed his small crew to make the journey to the new world. Later, when the first adventurers started coming to the new country, they were seeking a place where they could worship their Christian God freely. Then, when the first settlers signed the Mayflower Compact dedicating the new country to God, our nation was started in covenant with God Himself. What a significant foundation.
The ingenuity and creativity we have enjoyed, the entrepreneurial spirit we have demonstrated, and the standard of living we have come to expect, all have come from God’s blessing. We have had His guidance and protection from the beginning.
So why is it so important to involve ourselves with politics? We have been entrusted with a tremendous responsibility. In our free society, we have the right and responsibility to vote for the people who will lead us, make laws, and activate other decisions which affect our lives. For us not to vote, indicates that we don’t honor our freedom to do so.
And for us to vote the way God wants us to, we need to know what the candidates stand for.
Successful democracy depends on an educated populace. We can’t afford to stick our heads in the sand and just hope that “God’s will is being done.” He is counting on us to pay attention and vote for His will.
So go beyond the surface,and find out what the candidates believe. Don’t just look at what they say, look at what they do.
As you do your research, ask yourself these questions. Do they honor this great country and the constitution, which many believe was inspired by God? Do they honor religious freedom? Do they honor all life – even the defenseless, like unborn babies? (Oops, I’m giving myself away). Do they want to provide opportunities for people to pursue their dreams, or do they want to control the process?
Listen to the debates,and take a look behind the rhetoric to assess the truth.
Then, make your plans to vote for God’s candidates in November. We need to exercise our right to vote. We don’t want to lose the privilege God has given us to live in this free country. A country which is free to strive for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Let’s look at what some founding fathers said about this.
We electors have an important constitutional power placed in our hands; we have a check upon two branches of the legislature . . . the power I mean of electing at stated periods [each] branch. . . . It becomes necessary to every [citizen] then, to be in some degree a statesman, and to examine and judge for himself of the tendency of political principles and measures. Let us examine, then, with a sober, a manly . . . and a Christian spirit; let us neglect all party [loyalty] and advert to facts; let us believe no man to be infallible or impeccable in government any more than in religion; take no man’s word against evidence, nor implicitly adopt the sentiments of others who may be deceived themselves, or may be interested in deceiving us.
[John Adams, The Papers of John Adams, Robert J. Taylor, ed. (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1977), Vol. 1, p. 81, from “‘U’ to the Boston Gazette” written on August 29, 1763.]
Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.
[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256, in the Boston Gazette on April 16, 1781.]
Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.
[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. III, p. 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775.]
Consider well the important trust . . . which God . . . [has] put into your hands. . . . To God and posterity you are accountable for [your rights and your rulers]. . . . Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you. . . . [L]ook well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust. . . . Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant; or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. Think not that men who acknowledge not the providence of God nor regard His laws will be uncorrupt in office, firm in defense of the righteous cause against the oppressor, or resolutly oppose the torrent of iniquity. . . . Watch over your liberties and privileges – civil and religious – with a careful eye.
[Matthias Burnett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, An Election Sermon, Preached at Hartford, on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803 (Hartford: Printed by Hudson & Goodwin, 1803), pp. 27-28.]
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.
[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.]
[T]he time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them. . . . Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter. But the time has come when they must act differently. . . . Christians seem to act as if they thought God did not see what they do in politics. But I tell you He does see it – and He will bless or curse this nation according to the course they [Christians] take [in politics].
[Charles G. Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1868), Lecture XV, pp. 281-282.]
Thanks to www.wallbuilders.com for providing these documents.
Never forget how important your part is. Our blessing and our responsibility go hand in hand!
So let’s keep on Soaring!
As I scan across the internet and see what people are saying, I find certain themes are prevalent. Many – especially young people – are questioning the existence of God. Is He real? Does He speak to us? And what about Jesus? What is He all about? Is He a myth?
These questions are sometimes posed outright, but more often implied in the views which are expressed. Furthermore, peoples’ actions give them away. It’s obvious that the many distractions of our age, whether they are career achievements, sports, or social life, can dull the nudge within a person’s heart. Often it seems that people don’t care.
This saddens me, but doesn’t surprise me. There have been so many mistakes by those of us in “organized Christianity.” Hypocrisy, apathy,and in-fighting sometimes have made us poor role models. But the faults of others don’t have to determine your life. (more…)
Anthony Morgan left the Secretary of State’s office with a bounce in his steps. He could hardly wait to get in touch with his wife and give her the great news. He had been chosen to be the United States Ambassador to Glokwando. He would be representing his beloved country to the government of this far away land.
He and his family would live in the American Embassy in Glokwando. A beautiful, almost palatial complex from which he could conduct his business.
Now there was much work to do. He would have to learn the language and study the culture of these people. But more importantly, he would have to fully understand the mission. He would want to represent his country in an honorable way, so Anthony would need to study to be certain that he understood the United States position in dealing with these people.
The rules of engagement. The history of the relationship between the countries. And most importantly, the goals of his government in performing this mission.
He would certainly expect the full backing of the United States government as he carried out his duties.
Does that sound like a terrific assignment?
Well, I have some great news for all Christians everywhere. You, too, have been chosen to be an ambassador. An ambassador for Christ – representing God’s kingdom to all the people of the earth.
After we are born again, our home country is now God’s Kingdom, not just our earthly homeland. Even though we are living on the earth, our allegiance is to One higher than the earth. Our allegiance is to our God. The Creator of all things.
As with any job, there are benefits and privileges – along with responsibilities.
To really understand this assignment, it helps to look at ambassadors in the natural realm.
First, they must be citizens of the country they represent. You wouldn’t see an ambassador of the United States being a citizen of Russia. Obviously, they must be a citizen of the country they represent. A citizen in good standing and loyal to their home country.
To be a citizen of God’s Kingdom, one must be born again. I’ve talked about that in other posts. And to be in good standing, the person must be faithful to God and to His Word.
Second, a natural ambassador must learn about his own country. The history, the laws and customs, and the philosophy – the guiding principles of that country. In order to represent his own government to another nation, he must be faithful to execute the plans assigned to him.
For instance, a Russian ambassador and a Turkish ambassador to the United States would have different agendas and different perspectives on what they want accomplished. Each would represent faithfully the desires of their own countries.
So as ambassadors of God’s Kingdom, we study His word and spend time with Him in order to represent Him well. We want His principles to be our guide for what we do.
We will get more into our mission statement later.
First let’s look at three important privileges we receive as God’s ambassadors. What can we expect as benefits?
And how do we appropriate them?
Deuteronomy 28 is a great place to start for understanding God’s promises – and even His desires for you. The first 14 verses list promises we can expect when we are faithful to the call of God. These promises are often referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant. Galatians 3:13,14 tells us that Jesus paid the way for Christians to inherit these blessings as well.
Looking at these scriptures and others, what can we expect?
First, we can expect God’s blessing upon our family.
Blessed shall be the offspring of your body… Deuteronomy 28: 4a(NASB)
The Lord will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB)
All your sons will be disciples taught of the Lord; and the well-being of your sons will be great. Isaiah 54:13 (NASB)
When we look at the faithfulness of God not only to Abraham, but also to his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob, we see the picture of God’s desire to bless our entire families. For generations to come.
Now our part of the plan is to fully invest in God’s Word and apply it to our lives.
Second, we can expect provision.
An ambassador knows that he will be supported by his home country. Usually quite lavishly. In a similar way, as God’s ambassadors, we can expect provision from Him. This is not to say that there won’t be times when our faith is stretched to receive this provision. Yet God’s provision will be there – sometimes from the most unexpected places.
The Bible is full of words promising our provision, and giving us wisdom on how to receive these natural blessings.
The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hands to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. Deuteronomy 28:8 (NASB)
The Lord will open for you His good storehouse the heavens to give rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 28:12 (NASB)
Philippians 4:19 And your God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NASB)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. II Corinthians 9:8 (NASB)
God’s Word is our instruction manual to let us know what we can expect, and how to appropriate His blessings.
We learn that our provision is linked with our obedience and our faith.
If you be willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land. Isaiah 1:19 (KJV)
Never does God want us to be selfish in receiving. In fact, He indicates that we reap what we sow.
Give and it will be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing shall men pour into your lap.
Now for the third benefit: protection.
A natural ambassador can expect the armies of his sending nation to promise security and safety. In a similar way, as ambassadors of Christ we can count on protection from God’s heavenly army: His angels.
A favorite reminder of this truth is found in II Kings 6:8-15
The king of Aram was attempting to conquer Israel, but Elisha the prophet had been thwarting their plans.
God had been showing Elisha what the Aramites were planning, and Elisha had been warning the Israelites. As a result, none of the evil plans were working, and the King became very frustrated. He decided to capture Elisha.
The king located Elisha in Dothan, and sent a huge army with chariots and weaponry.
Elisha’s servant woke up early and saw that they were surrounded by this evil army. Frightened, he ran to wake Elisha. They were surrounded, and there was no hope for them.
I love Elisha’s famous response.
So he answered. Fear not. More are they with us than they who are with them. II Kings 6:16 NASB
Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. II Kings 6:16-17 (NASB)
Elisha prayed for God to strike the army blind – and the angels did it. Then Elisha led them away to another place where they received food and water and were returned to their own land.
Needless to say, they never came again.
This episode shows us that we are surrounded by angelic beings. We can’t see them, but when we are God’s people, we can count on them for protection.
When speaking of angels, Paul says:
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation. Hebrews 1:14 (NASB)
And there is this:
Bless the Lord, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word. Psalm 103:20 (NASB)
When you and I – as ambassadors – speak God’s word, we activate our angels to accomplish what God has promised. They are part of God’s plan for us and our mission.
My husband had an interesting encounter several years ago.
Distressed about some things which were happening, Mickey was walking around our den, wringing his hands and thinking. Maybe praying a little.
Suddenly he had a vision.
He saw what looked like a hockey penalty box – loaded with angels. They were sitting, watching, and waiting for Mickey to speak the Word.
As he began to speak God’s Word, they rushed out of the penalty box and started to work. He knew they were performing the Word. And he knew that the answer was coming.
And the answer did indeed come – almost immediately.
There are many examples in the Bible of angels working on behalf of God’s people. They are there for our protection and deliverance.
So as ambassadors for Christ, we can expect many benefits. We can expect blessings on our family. We can expect provision. And we can expect protection.
The word of God is filled with wisdom on how to appropriate these many benefits. As we study God’s word and apply His principles, we will see the fruit of our labor.
What does our God expect in return? As God’s ambassadors, we have a job to do.
That message is for another day.