Tag Archive for strength

Deliverance

 

 

No, not THAT kind of Deliverance!
 

 

 

(Yeah, that’s more like it.)

 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seemed hopeless?  Did you pray to God for deliverance?  I have found myself in that place on numerous occasions.

 

God always answers prayers for deliverance, but sometimes it’s not the answer we were expecting.  We have a tendency to treat God like an ATM—swipe our prayer card, and out come the blessings.

 

But sometimes the answer is “no.”  And sometimes it’s “not yet.”  And sometimes, it’s “Yes, but not the way you’re thinking.”

 

God wants us to live life to the full; however, He is always more interested in our holiness than our happiness.  We would love for our deliverance from trials and tribulations to be as quick and painless as possible.

 

But more often than not, God’s plan is to deliver us through the trial, rather than from it.  And painless isn’t always part of the plan.  In fact, sometimes the pain is the plan.

 

The trials we undergo may seem like the end of the world while they’re happening, and yet, we always come out the other side, maybe not totally unscathed, but still standing nonetheless.  We may have some scar tissue, but we also frequently have a sense of liberation.  We got THROUGH this!  And it didn’t kill us!

 

Here’s the thing about deliverance though.  The process of being delivered through a trial is supposed to be a lesson about reliance on God’s strength when our own is failing.

 

After all, why did we cry out to Him in the first place?  Because we knew that we were at the end of ourselves and it was only His strength that could deliver us.

 

So naturally, what do we do first when the next trial comes along?  That’s right, we try to fix our own problems and rely on our own strength.  Again.  Although we know we should never take God’s deliverance for granted, we do it anyway, because it is in our nature to forget things like that.

 

Fortunately God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, anticipates this, and is always there to pick up the pieces AGAIN (and again, and again).  What a great thing it is to know that we can always fall back on His patience and mercy!

 

Still, I think we ought to make more of an intentional effort to remember why God delivers us in the first place—because He is with us, and He is for us.  If He was in our corner the last time we had a problem, and we know that He doesn’t change, then it makes sense that He will go to bat for us again the next time we have a problem. 

  

So instead of having a high-speed come-apart the next time life beats us down or backs us up against the wall, we should approach our trial with confidence, knowing that we will be delivered, and that we won’t have to rely on our own strength to get it done.

 

Christianity’s PR Problem–Part 2: PRaise and PRayer

 

 

 

PRAISE AND PRAYER

 

God must come first, because He is first.  When you put God first in your life, you are not doing Him a favor; you are doing yourself one.  As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

 

 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33 NIV)

 

So what is the best way to keep God on top of the list?  Well, the obvious answer is to pray.  But how?

 

Too often, our prayers sound like we are making God into our own personal vending machine.  We need or want something, so we push our prayer button and expect that we will receive an immediate answer to our prayers, all wrapped up like a Three Musketeers. 

 

Since we wouldn’t be asking God for something if we didn’t believe he was capable, and willing, to provide it,  why not start our prayer by praising Him for being that kind of a God? 

If we need His help, He is obviously greater than we are.  Starting our prayer time by meditating on just how much greater He is puts us in an appropriate posture for prayer.

 

Of course, once we’re there, standing in the glory of His greatness, we realize how unworthy we are.  This is a good opportunity for confession. 

You can’t help but call to mind where you’ve missed the mark when you have entered the presence of the Most Holy One.  But that’s just it.  Even though we have missed the mark, and will do so again, He still welcomes us into His presence. 

 

Once we begin thanking Him just for paying attention to us at all, we become more aware of all the ways, great and small, that He is acting in our lives.  Thank Him for all of those things, because He didn’t have to do any of them. 

I have found that the joy of the Lord comes to me in the course of my thanksgiving.  As David wrote:

 

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” (Psalm 28:7 NIV)

 

It is through this strength that we finally get around to presenting our requests to the Lord.  Because now, instead of feeling confused and helpless and needy, we are renewed and refueled. 

(Next–Part 3–PRotect)