Many Christians are dealing with great obstacles in their lives. It may be a job loss, a stressful marriage, a sick loved one, or a child struggling with faith. But no matter how bleak things may look, God is in the midst of the lives of those who love him and put their trust in him.
In the Bible we read of a poor widow who was in a desperate situation. After the death of her husband, she was unable to pay her debts and the creditor had come calling. In those days, creditors didn’t just take your belongings; they took your children. In her desperation, the widow appealed to the prophet Elisha for help.
“Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves’” (2 Kings 4:1).
Elisha could have told her to go to the temple for assistance, but he personally took action. “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” (4:2). Elisha was essentially saying to her, “God can meet you just as you are, in your present condition. If you have faith, he can multiply even the smallest thing you have.” She had only one jar of oil but in response to her obedience and faith, the oil was multiplied and her needs were more than met for the glory of God. In fact, she had an endless supply of oil and she also had a powerful testimony for her neighbors. (Read the full story in 2 Kings 4:1-7.)
The Lord used unconventional means to supply this widow’s needs but that is the beauty of how God works. His plans are usually far above anything we could imagine. He goes beyond our human capabilities and provides us with victory upon victory.
No matter your situation, may your faith keep bringing you to a place of rest in your loving Father. All the forces of heaven are at his disposal and he is bringing your victory right now!
Although it is crucial to understand the principles governing prayer, understanding alone won’t lead you to a breakthrough. In fact, prayerlessness often co-exists with extensive Bible knowledge. Only the Holy Spirit can inspire us to pray effectually, and he uses various means to accomplish this purpose.
Serious prayer is born out of a sense of need, out of the knowledge that we must ask God to intervene. Hannah’s story in the Bible serves as a motivation for our prayer life. She could be called the “First Lady of Prayer” because she is the first woman whose petition is recorded in Scripture.
Hannah shared her husband, Elkanah, with his second wife, an unpleasant woman named Peninnah. Hannah’s inability to have children made her the brunt of Peninnah’s taunts (see 1 Samuel 1:3-7). Constantly tormented, with no offspring of her own, weeping and unable to eat, Hannah seemed mired in a hopeless situation. In the midst of her pain, she didn’t know that God was about to choose her, among all the women of Israel, to bear a son, Samuel, who would become a prophet and lead his wayward people back to himself. So she wept before God and prayed, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11).
This prayer, one of the greatest in the Bible, not only changed Hannah’s life, but also altered the history of Israel. God often works out his plans through human beings who feel compelled by their need to pray. Incredibly, we have the same potential in prayer that Hannah did. Our “breaking point” can lead to a breakthrough if it spurs us to call on God. Hannah asked for a son, but God gave her much more.
Don’t wait one more minute to receive what you need from God. Let this be your day to arise and talk to the Father from your heart and experience a breakthrough in prayer from your answering God.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.
We often expect God to move in one of two ways: either by sending a supernatural outpouring of his Holy Spirit to sweep multitudes into his kingdom, or by sending judgment to bring people to their knees or even destroy them. But, beloved, that is not God’s method of changing things in an evil day. His way of rebuilding ruins has always been to use ordinary men and women whom he has touched. And he does this by filling them with his Holy Spirit and sending them into the warfare with great faith and power! “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4).
You are God’s witness to your city! He uses laypeople who get alone with him, seek him in prayer, rend their hearts and then go forth full of the Holy Spirit, faith and power. If God has not been using you, it may be because you have not been usable. That happens when believers get “caught up in gazing at the glory” instead of preparing to be used.
The disciples basked in the glory when Jesus was taken up into heaven. They could have stood there forever, enjoying the warm glow, but the angel of the Lord lovingly rebuked them: “Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? (Acts 1:11). There was a lot of preparation needed and tasks to be completed. “They returned to Jerusalem … went up into the upper room … [and] all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:12-14).
When you emerge from seeking God, you can stand with boldness before fellow workers, family, anyone, and your witness will evoke one of two reactions: genuine repentance or anger you. Either way, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will speak a word that “cuts to the heart.”
Go forth in the power of the Holy Ghost, bringing the light of Jesus everywhere you go.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Many Christians have troubled hearts and some live in fear, secretly plagued with panic, turmoil and sleepless nights. For many, peace comes and goes, leaving them worried, restless and battered by stress. Yet, Zacharias prophesied that the Messiah would come “to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life” (Luke 1:74-75).
Beloved, Jesus came to this earth and died for sinful man so that we could walk with God without fear and enjoy his peace all the days of our lives! This includes times of suffering, turmoil, testing, and uncertainty. It means both good days and bad days. No matter what comes our way, we are to enjoy peace.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace! At his birth the angels sang, “Peace on earth” (see Luke 2:14) and he promised of himself, “In Me you may have peace” (John 16:33). Peace is what the gospel is all about: “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36).
In this world we will face tribulation, persecution and fiery trials. We will be tempted and we will suffer for the sake of Christ. Still we are to serve him in righteousness, full of peace and joy in the Holy Spirit at all times. Paul’s prayer for all believers was this: “May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
Think of it — peace in every circumstance! Truly that is supernatural but it is available to all who have been justified by faith and reach out to the Savior.
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house” (Hebrews 3:1-2).
The book of Hebrews offers a strong, vital word to all who are “partakers of the heavenly calling.” This means that you hear heaven calling you. Even now heaven is calling for a people who are free from the materialism and foolishness of this world — Christians who wake up each morning and hear Jesus calling them to himself. They look at all that surrounds them and cry inwardly, “Jesus, my heart is not here, my future is not here. Nothing in this world satisfies me. You alone, Jesus, are my life.”
“[Jesus] was faithful to Him who appointed Him” (Hebrews 3:2). Faithfulness means simply believing that God will keep his Word to us. In this sense, we are to “hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:14).
Over time, as your trials increase and the battles grow more intense, you may become weary. Daily, you have an enemy who is out to destroy you; he is a liar and a seducer. Jesus said, “The devil … does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him … he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Satan doesn’t waste his time lying to sinners; they are already held prisoner by his deception. No, he lies to those believers whose hearts are set on the Lord. In fact, Satan uses his most subtle, convincing lies against those who are determined to enter God’s provided rest.
“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God … Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:9, 11). “Resting in God” means to enter a place of total trust in His Word. It is a place of faith, a continuous confidence that God is with us, that He cannot fail, and that he will see us through to the end.
Spend time with your Father today and let the Holy Spirit minister to your heart and strengthen you. Find rest for your weary soul with a total surrender to God.