The devil's final strategy in deceiving believers is to make them doubt the faithfulness of God in answering prayer. Satan would have us believe God has shut His ears to our cry and left us to work things out for ourselves.
Christians are strange creatures. They travel the world, preaching the love of Jesus and His forgiveness for any and all sin. They tell the heathen, the addict, the alcoholic, the prostitute - "Come to Christ and be forgiven. He forgave your sins at the Cross - so come and receive forgiveness and healing for all your hurts. You can have peace and be free of guilt." As a result sinners, who have been guilty of every conceivable kind of dark and evil deed, gladly come to Christ and are instantly forgiven and delivered from their guilt.
How often have you heard Christians say, “God is doing a new thing in the church”? The “new thing” they refer to may be called a revival, an outpouring, a visitation or a move of God. Yet very often the “new thing” they describe dies out quickly. And once it has faded, it can’t be found again. In this way, it proves not to have been a move of God at all. In fact, Christian sociologists have tracked many of these so-called visitations. They’ve discovered that the average span of such an event is about five years.
I’m convinced we can’t fully obey God’s Word until we understand why the Lord calls for perfect obedience. Why does God demand this? Is it because he’s a despot, a tyrant who delights in placing heavy yokes and burdens on his people? No, not at all. Jesus tells us the burden he places on us is light and easy (Matthew 11:30). His commands aren’t grievous.
“There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you’” (John 2:1-5).
By Acts 27, Paul had already led a full life of ministry. This man had accomplished incredible things, yet he still had a burning passion to pour out his life for the gospel.
Many Christians right now are dealing with the biggest obstacles of their lives. In my own congregation, people are facing what seem like impassable mountains. They're dealing with job loss, bills piling up, future needs fast approaching. Marriages are under stress, loved ones are sick, children are struggling with faith.
“This cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause” (John 15:25, my italics).
Jesus said he came to seek out and save the lost. This was the same man who had power to subdue the very winds and waves. At any time Christ could have sent fire down from heaven to destroy the wicked. Yet instead Jesus came as a humble servant.
Here at Times Square Church, we sing a hand-clapping song that goes this way:
Send him on down, Lord, send him on down. Lord, let the Holy Ghost come on down. We need him, Lord, send him on down.
We sing other, similar songs, pleading with the Holy Ghost to come down.
But the truth is, the Holy Spirit is already here. He came down from heaven at the Upper Room at Pentecost. And he never left!
In Matthew 14, we find Jesus getting into a boat to leave for “a desert place apart” where he could be alone. He had just received word that John the Baptist had been beheaded and buried. And now he was so moved by this news that he felt the need to be by himself and pray.