Friday, 12/10/21 – Knocking or Nagging?

Knocking or Nagging?

Before long most spiritually nourished Christians become familiar with Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

The phrase is repeated in Luke 11:9-10 along with the illustration of the persistence of the man seeking loaves at midnight to feed a hungry houseguest. He tells a similar story in Luke 18 regarding a widow woman seeking justice against an adversary. His purpose in the parable is stated at the outset, “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1).

Ask… seek… knock…” All three verbs are gerunds denoting ongoing activity. Yet there are other passages which point to times when one must simply stop.

In one of Paul’s epistles to the Corinthian church he writes of an an undefined “thorn” which beset him, “a messenger of Satan, to harass me,” he says, only later learning its purpose. He recounts “Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Cor. 12:8-9).

Three times Paul prayed, only three, and then he stopped! What made the difference? Surely he agreed with our Lord’s teaching on persistence. “Pray without ceasing,” he urged the Thessalonians. (1 Thess. 5:17). Yet, here, three times, and he stops.

We must be very humble when we pray, cognizant that we are approaching the Almighty for His answer. We are knocking for there is something we do not know, and want Him to tell or to show us. We must not confuse flesh with Spirit. We must come to Him as Christ also came to the Father — also only thrice — ever willing to say to Him, “Not my will, but Your’s be done.” (Matt. 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42, John 6:38).

When His answer is clear, we are done.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 11/12/21 – Question: How can I beat temptation?

How can I beat temptation?

We’ve all seen it… the story line of many movies, novels, sagas and serials. Against impossible odds the hero faces battle with the foe… fierce conflict ensues and the hero is almost defeated, but then, with gasping breath he realizes he has carried with him all the while a power to defeat the foe completely! Renewed excitement and sure hope flush through his veins as he wields the talisman, musters the untapped power within, or calls upon a magical or divine source from without. Instantly (or eventually) the foe is utterly (or temporarily) destroyed (or vanquished), and the hero rises triumphant and transformed.

The world, the flesh, and the devil are the foes of every faithful follower of Christ. The first two have fallen to the power of the third and are thus instructed by his tactics. Primary of these tactics is his seductive lying, and primary of these lies are these: “This temptation will last forever.” “You have no power to defeat it.” Or “You may defeat it by longer or harder self-effort, by trying another plan or strategy, or by succumbing to it by a measured and self-controlled degree.”

But these are all lies, part lies, or truth twisted to become lies. He is trying to distract you from that inner power which can truly defeat him: the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Word of God hid in your heart, and the help available from the family of God.

You cannot in your flesh defeat the devil because your flesh nature wants to sin. But within every believer resides another nature, the Holy Spirit of God, and “the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). The promise of God’s Word is this: “Resist the devil… and He will flee…from you” – he will run away in terror of you! As the Word says, “the demons believe… and they tremble in terror.” (James 2:19, NLT).

Hide deep in your heart these truths:

Do not love the world or anything in the world.” (1 John 2:15).
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16).
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:25).
Put on the full armor of God…” (Eph. 6:11).
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and He will flee from you…” (James 4:7).
Carry each other’s burdens..” (Gal. 6:2).

Mind & heart focussed upon God, strengthened by the indwelling Holy Spirit, claiming the promises of the Word of God, clothed in the assuring, defending and engaging Armor of God, and supported by the prayers and encouragement of the family of God. These are your spiritual weapons, with you at all times, and striking true terror against your lying foe.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? …in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 7:31, 37).

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.