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Pray Without Ceasing

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I don’t know if my sister is still doing it or not, but for awhile she was buying a lot of hair products for hair growth. And I mean a lot. One day I was asking her about one of the products she had on her dresser.

I don’t know if it works or not. I didn’t use it long enough. I started and then I stopped.

Does that sound familiar?

When something doesn’t happen as quickly as we would like it to, this is what some of us do. We get weary, we stop believing and we stop doing the things that we started doing.

The reason why some of us haven’t seen results or haven’t seen certain things come to pass is because we got distracted along the way. We started making daily confessions and then we stopped. We stopped fasting. We stopped doing what God told us to do. Some of us decided to set up a time to pray every day, but then something else became more important and it took the place of our prayer time.

When Peter was in prison, the church prayed for him and they prayed without ceasing. They didn’t stop praying just because nothing had happened yet. They prayed until their answer knocked on the door.

The angel told Daniel, You words were heard and I have come for your words. If the church had stopped praying, the angels would have stopped working.

Peter needed a miracle. He was in a situation that he couldn’t get himself out of. He was bound with two chains between two soldiers and there were guards at the prison door. Now, Peter wasn’t worried about his situation. He was sleeping. He was resting, but because the church remained faithful, consistent and persistent, an angel appeared to Peter in prison. It was the angel who took the chains off his hands. It was the angel who led him out of a door that he wasn’t supposed to go through.

I’m not saying that the church never grew weary, but in spite of what it looked like or how they felt, they kept praying. Without ceasing means they never stopped. Our problem is we just don’t give God time to work. If nothing happens when we think it should happen, then we assume that God doesn’t love us or that He has forgotten about us or that He changed His mind about what He said.

Let’s become the church we read about in the book of Acts. These people probably needed a miracle in their own lives, but they kept Peter’s name before the Lord. I know God doesn’t sleep or slumber, but they gave Him no rest until Peter was released from prison.

They were like the widow who went to the judge daily until he gave her what she asked for. They were like the person who went to a friend’s house at midnight to ask for bread, but the friend told him that the door was shut, he was in bed and he wasn’t getting out of bed. But because of their friendship (John 15:15) and because he refused to return home without getting what he asked for, the man got out of bed and gave his friend what he needed.

There are some things that we need to stop doing, but praying isn’t one of them.

Pray without ceasing.

 

[Scripture references: Acts 12:1-16; Luke 18:1-8; Luke 11:5-13]

You Will See It When You Believe It

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God told Moses that He was going to use him to deliver His people. He also told him that He had given them favor, but the king of Egypt wasn’t going to let them go. It was going to take a mighty hand and wonders and then Pharaoh would let them go.

Moses did and said what God told him, but he returned to God without what God had promised. It was disappointing for him, but God wasn’t worried. He knew Pharaoh was going to let His children go.

There is something I’ve been desiring and the Lord said to me, It’s yours.

So, I went after what God said was mine.

But I just didn’t go after it. I went, knowing that I was going to receive the thing that God said He has given me.

I faced Pharaoh, but Pharaoh wouldn’t let it go.

So I went back to God because maybe I heard it wrong. Maybe it wasn’t Him, but I knew it was Him. Like Moses, I began to question what God said.

Why did you send me (Exodus 5:22)? Why get my hopes up like that?

But you know what God did? He just reminded me again, It is yours.

When the disciples told Thomas that they saw the Lord, Thomas told them that the only way he would believe them is if he could touch and see the print of nails in his hands.

Eight days later, Thomas saw the Lord and Jesus told him to touch him. The only reason why Thomas believed was because he could touch and see him, but God doesn’t deal with me the way Jesus did with Thomas. Maybe He did years ago when I first got saved, but now He wants me to grow up and to believe Him for what I have yet to see.

He doesn’t want me to worry like the disciples, who when they were in a storm, woke Jesus up from his rest. Instead, he wants me to rest in and with Him.

Pharaoh didn’t want to let the Israelites go, but God said he was going to and Moses had to believe God. No matter how many times Pharaoh told him no, the promise was still yes and amen.

Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed (John 20:29).

Make Time

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make time: to find time to do something or be with someone in spite of being busy (Macmillan Dictionary)

I remember one day I shared with an individual that I wanted to do some things, but I didn’t know how to get started.  At that very moment, the young man began to tell me all the things I could do, but every time he gave a suggestion, I gave an excuse.

After the last excuse, the young man said, ‘Then, you really don’t want it’. And he said no more.

My feelings were hurt. How could he say that I didn’t want it? But sometime later, I realized he was right. It’s not that I didn’t want what I was asking for. It’s just that I wanted it to come easy. I wanted it, but without the work.

For six days, God didn’t just speak creation into existence with His mouth, but He also worked with His hands.

God made the firmament and divided the waters (Genesis 1:7).

God made two great lights (sun and moon). He made the stars also (Genesis 1:16).

God created every living creature that moves (Genesis 1:21).

God made the beast, cattle and every creeping thing after its kind (Genesis 1:25).

God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him (Genesis 1:27).

I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens (Isaiah 45:12).  

My hand has made all those things (Isaiah 66:2).

We all are the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8).

God not only said things, but He did things. I was saying things, but I was doing nothing – or I was just doing enough to say I was doing something.

The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God ended his work which he had made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made (Genesis 1:1-2).  

After God worked, He rested. Some of us want the rest, but without the work – and it doesn’t work that way.

You and I will never inherit the promises through laziness, but it will be through patience and faith, but you must show your faith by your works and by your actions.

This may consist of early mornings and late nights. And some of you may say, ‘I don’t have time’, but we can’t use that excuse anymore because we all make time for the things we want to do and for the people we want to spend time with.

The question isn’t, Do you have time?

The question is, Will you make time?

Rest, but Don’t Quit

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walk: the way you conduct yourself; to live in obedience; to move; to go through

Throughout his ministry, Jesus walked a lot.  There was this one time that he needed to travel through Samaria.  When he arrived to Sychar, a city of Samaria, he was tired (John 4:4).  What I love about this passage of scripture is that when Jesus got tired, he didn’t quit.  He didn’t give up.  He stopped and rested.

Jesus, therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well  (John 4:6, KJV).

So Jesus, tired as He was from His journey, sat down [to rest] by the well  (John 4:6, AMPC).

As believing Christians, we walk a lot too.  Well, we are supposed to.

Let us walk honestly  (Romans 13:13).

For we walk by faith  (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Walk in the spirit  (Galatians 5:16).

And walk in love  (Ephesians 5:2).

Walk as children of light  (Ephesians 5:8).

That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing  (Colossians 1:10).

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments  (2 John 1:6).

Throughout the bible, we are told how we should walk.  I know we don’t always walk how we were taught to walk.  I know you’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I want to encourage every person who is reading this.

Keep walking!

Do you remember when Paul was in a ship with some other prisoners?  While they were sailing, Paul perceived that they would suffer hurt and much damage (Acts 27:10).  He wasn’t just talking about the ship, but he was talking about their lives being in danger.  But the centurion wouldn’t listen.  He believed the master and owner of the ship more than the words spoken by Paul.

Sometimes we believe the words of people more than the word of God. 

When a violent wind came, they were tossed about on the ship.  To save themselves, they had to throw things off the ship to reduce the weight.  They experienced seasickness, stress and they were without food for a long time.  Have you ever thought back to some decisions you made and said, If I had only listened?  Paul told them that they should have listened to him, but he knew they were already feeling bad so he didn’t make them feel worse.  He didn’t condemn them.  He told them to cheer up.  There will be no loss of life among you, but only loss of the ship  (Acts 27:22, AMP).

Maybe you didn’t listen when God warned you, but don’t dwell over it.  Don’t beat yourself over it.  Cheer up.  The enemy wants you to feel like you’re a failure.  He wants you to think that you can’t do anything right.  You’re always messing up.  You do good for a little while, but then you do something foolish just before the breakthrough or before the promise can be fulfilled in your life.  For some of you, there are people who have blamed you for the choices they  made.  They made you think it was your fault.  They made you feel like you were a bad person.  Yes, you have made some bad choices, but that doesn’t make you a bad person.  Everything wasn’t your fault.

I don’t care what people have said about you.  You won’t miss it this time.  You have been the tail for too long, but things are about to turn around for you.  No, God hasn’t changed His mind about you.  He wants to bless you.  If you will obey His voice and do all that He has commanded you to do, God will make you the head (Deuteronomy 28:1, 13).  You don’t have to force it.  HE will do it.

So don’t look back.  I don’t want you to regret anything.  I don’t want you to worry about it anymore.  I don’t want you to sit too long.  Get up and ‘walk’.  Don’t stop doing what works just because it seems like it’s not working.  I know you wish you could have done some things differently, but guess what?  You still can.  It’s not too late for you.  Every day that God gives you is another chance and another opportunity to do things differently.

I told you earlier that Jesus needed to go through Samaria.  When Jesus sat down to rest, he ministered to a woman who was ‘tired’ too – tired of going from man to man, tired of the hurt, tired of the disappointment – looking, searching and hoping.  Is he the one?  Will this one love me the way I deserve to be loved?  This woman was so busy looking for someone to love her that she never learned to love herself.  But she met Jesus – and he spoke to her like no other man had ever spoken to her before.  What this MAN did for  her made her forget about what all the other men did to  her.

You need  to go through what you’re going through.  It’s going to help somebody.  Someone has lost hope, but you’re about to give someone hope again.  I know you get weary at times along the way. Sometimes you want to give up, but keep walking in what God told you to do.

And when you get tired, rest.

Rest in the promise God made to you.  Become like Paul who believed God and believed that it would be as it was told to him (Acts 27:25).  Be at peace with what God said and as you place your hope in Him, He will renew your strength and you will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

Rest, but don’t quit.