Prayer and God’s Nudge
Last night when I went to bed and this morning when I woke I was caught up in the struggles of friends and family. Some struggle with health issues. Some with work issues. Others with relationship issues. But as I considered the struggles we all face I was reminded of a passage in Hebrews. It was a passage that my preacher Terry Cooper, at Ninevah Christian Church, spent several weeks discussing in the study of Hebrews chapter 11. It was also the point where I finally understood that the Bibles original writings were not broken into chapter and verse, but were letters. Some of the letters were long.
That passage is Hebrews 10:32-11:3 and it is one that gives me strength on the days that my struggles occupy my mind. That is part of the wonder of God’s Word in that if we will study and become familiar with His council, even if we do not memorize word for word, we can draw on that strength and with a little help find the passage to help me through any situation.
32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,
“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Hebrews 10:32 – 11:3 (ESV)
The Faith Chapter
This passage leads into chapter 11 which is the faith chapter. It takes me through a huge list of those men that lived by faith and did not relent they held fast to the promises of God though they did not live to see them fulfilled. The list is long and I will not put them here, but what a chapter of encouragement. I also like the way that it transitions into chapter 12.
Faith and Strength
In chapter 12:1-6 the author reminds me that I am surrounded by a gathering of witnesses and uses them to encourage me to endure.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Hebrews 12:1-6 (ESV)
What joy I gain by holding fast to these Holy Words of encouragement. I am reminded that life is not always easy but through my faith in Christ Jesus, I am given the strength to endure. I do this by keeping my eye on the future glory promised instead of the circumstance of the day.
When I finished, I read a devotional from 'Utmost for His Highest' by Oswald Chambers. That served as another reminder… and a place in my faith that continues to need work…
The title was harsh… it is hard to admit that there are times when I have misgivings but Chambers does an excellent job reminding me…
“We say, “It’s easy to say, ‘Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water— no means to be able to give us these things.” And beware of exhibiting religious deceit by saying, “Oh, I have no misgivings about Jesus, only misgivings about myself.” If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can’t.” “Utmost for His Highest” By Oswald Chambers.
But he gives me the truth and my only solution and that is to admit my doubts and fears to God. Give them to Him and He will see me through.
When I hit those times when I doubt I find myself in the shoes of the father who brought his son to Jesus for healing.
23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
It seems that exchange comes up every day, sometimes more consciously than other, but daily. I am so thankful for His strength and His discipline. I know that without it I would be lost.
So, as I pray for my friends these things are what help me press on. I know that I fall short every day, but I know that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gives me a source of strength and understanding through the gift of His Holy Spirit… Strength to stand when I cannot and understanding when I turn to His Holy Word in prayer. And I pray that for all my friends caught up in struggles.
To God be the Glory… In Him rest my Hope…
“Therefore (I) do not throw away (my) your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For (I) you have need of endurance, so that when (I) you have done the will of God (I) you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (“my” and “I” were added to make it personal to me).
What an awesome God we serve!