Acts 4:29 A Different Prayer

Locked Up Prayer

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Acts 4:29

Peter and John had already been put in prison for preaching about Jesus. They had been released and all the believers gathered together to pray. Persecution against believers was increasing tremendously. As they prayed, they prayed for boldness to speak the gospel message.

Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, the world has been against those who believe in God. During the Old Testament times, many different nations tried to destroy the nation of Israel, until Israel destroyed itself in rejecting God. They had fallen into the pressure of the world to not follow God.

Later when Jesus came, it was no longer the idea of going against Israel, but against those who follow Jesus. Since the time of Jesus, the persecution against believers has changed in small areas. For a time one nation may persecute Christians strongly, and then later back off some, or it is usually the other way around.

In America it is appearing that persecution of believers is rising higher and higher. Many believers who are in situations of being harassed about their beliefs are praying that God would remove the problem. They want the persecution to stop and that is what their prayers are about.

Looking at the book of Acts, the disciples did not pray for the persecution to stop, but that they would be that much more bold in proclaiming God’s word.

Jesus promised that there would be persecution, so it does not do any good to attempt to pray for it to be removed. Believers are not on this earth for comfort or self. They are there to do God’s word–proclaim the Gospel message to every person. This is to be done regardless of the persecution.

It takes boldness to stand up and proclaim Jesus when under persecution. God will give that boldness, because that is what He wants a believer to do.

As you are going through tough situations and persecutions in life, pray a different prayer. Do not pray to get out of the situation, but that God would give you His boldness to be His witness and proclaim His message to this lost world.

It is in that boldness that people will hear the gospel message and lives will be changed.

What is your prayer about today?

I pray today that God will give you His boldness to be a witness; that God will give you strength to speak His words to this world; that God will remove all fear of persecution; and that God will touch many lives through your life.

Isaiah 37:5-6 Do Not Be Afraid Of Reports

When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard–those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.” Isaiah 37:5-6

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had come up against Jerusalem and laid siege to it. The city was threatened to be overrun and everyone killed. He boasted about the power that Assyria had and all the other nations he had overcome already. The people were afraid of him, because his army was much stronger and Assyria had destroyed many other nations.

King Hezekiah sent some people to Isaiah to find out what God had to say about the situation. Basically Isaiah said that they were to ignore the reports that were being delivered by Sennacherib’s men. God saw what he was saying and how Assyria was blaspheming Him.

Since that time the methods of delivering messages have changed, but the messages often being delivered are the same. Watch any news channel and you will see many reports of danger and threats. One nation is always threatening another nation. One group of people is threatening another group of people. Governmental laws threaten some people. Reports of epidemic sickness arise. Reports of economic collapse are everywhere. Reports of violence, rape, murder, theft are always out there. Fear is found everywhere.

As a believer in Jesus, you will hear these reports on a regular basis. There is nothing to stop these reports. However, you do not have to live in fear because of the reports being made. God is greater than any power in this world.

Just as Hezekiah did, you must bring those reports to God. He is the one who is really in control of everything. Without His permission, nothing can happen.

Instead of running in fear of those reports, give them to God and trust Him in how to deal with them. Trust that God knows what is best to be allowed or stopped. There is purpose for everything that happens in this life, both the good and the bad things. God will use everything, but all of it will be used for your benefit, if you allow Him to use it that way.

Are you fearing those reports?

Or are you trusting God with those reports?

I pray today that you will know that God is in control; that God will help you to not fear any bad reports; that you will bring all reports before God to deal with; and that you will be a witness of God’s great power to this world.

Isaiah 8:12-13 Conspiracies And Fears

Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one  you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. Isaiah 8:12-13

In every nation and throughout all of history, people have come up with many stories of government conspiracies. Stories are made to explain away different events. Usually they are centered around a group of people who are planning to do some type of illegal work to take over and destroy someone or something.

Some of the conspiracy theories are widespread and many people believe in them, while others are not so well-known. Among those that get well known, there are some that bring about a great fear among the people. The people start to fear the big government takeover, where the government controls everything.

God tells Isaiah not to fear these conspiracy theories that the people are believing in.

Nothing has changed since the time of Isaiah. It is easy to get caught up in the media world and begin to believe in conspiracy theories. When something happens, many people start talking about it and put their own twist on to what actually happened. In the process, fear is often raised.

In current times, many people fear a Muslim takeover, or terrorists attacks. Theories as to who is behind the attacks are numerous. Fear among people is very high. Dread of people from middle-eastern countries is high.

Yet, the only one that you should fear is God. Despite all the efforts that people or a government may be making to do something illegal or for a takeover, it is God who is really in control. No terrorist or criminal can do anything without God allowing it to happen.

Always keep in mind that God created everything, so He has absolute power. Jesus defeated death, so nothing can defeat Him. Both God the Father and Jesus are on your side, if you are following Jesus, and will not allow anything happen to you that is not to your benefit in the end.

As the world trembles in fear, you can walk in peace knowing God is in control and on your side. You can then show the world the truth in Jesus and the peace they may have.

I pray today that you will know the peace Jesus provides; that you will know the truth of God; that God will remove all fear in your life; and that you will be a witness for Jesus to this world that is living in fear.

 

Isaiah 7:4 Keep Calm

Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do  not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood–because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Isaiah 7:4

While Ahaz was the king of Judah, the nations of Aram and Israel had worked together to try to destroy the city of Jerusalem. Having two nations together against one, made their armies very large and powerful. King Ahaz and all the people were scared and did not know what to do.

Speaking through Isaiah, God told them to not only be careful, but to be calm and not afraid. They were to no longer shake with fear because of the armies coming against them. God describes those two armies as just pieces of smoldering firewood.

Smoldering firewood is not a very large threat. It can break out into flame and cause a lot of damage, but at the same time it can easily and quickly be put out before it bursts into flame. If a fire is smoldering it only takes a little water to put it out. Once a flame is going, it will take a lot more water to put it out.

As you are going through life, there will be times that there will be smoldering firewood in your life. There will be situations that are brewing underneath the surface threatening to burst into flame and destroy your life.

At times these smoldering pieces of firewood may only be one thing, but other times it will be multiple things all at the same time. Bills, health, vehicles, jobs, family, natural disasters, and the list goes on. Usually it is more than one thing happening that puts pressure on you.

God wants you to trust Him in every situation. When you put all of your trust in God, you will be calm and not afraid. There is nothing to fear when God is on your side.

Jesus paid the price for your life and said He would never leave you. Since He did that, you have a reason to be calm in spite of all the threats going on around you in your life. All those threats are just smoldering firewood that God can control and put out, in His time and way.

Trust God today and be calm.

I pray today that you will know God is in control; that you will know the peace of God in your life; that you will not fear any threats in your life; and that God will calm your heart and mind.

Ezra 4:24 Giving In To Pressure

Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Ezra 4:24

King Cyrus had given the Israelites permission to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem. The people in the surrounding area began to be afraid. They that if the city was rebuilt, the Israelites would revolt and break away. They persuaded the king to force the people to stop the building. After a lot of pressure, the Israelites stopped the building of the temple.

In the eyes of the world, Christians are a dangerous threat, even though Christians are to love everyone, including their enemies. The threat comes in that Christians do not believe in or act the way the world does. Jesus had set a standard that was different from that of the world. This has a severe effect on the lives of those in the world and they do not like it.

People in the world try to accuse Christians of hate because they do not conform to the world’s standards of living. For many years in America there has been the term of “political correctness” being used. Believers are threatened in many ways to give in to the world’s way of living.

Sadly, many believers have given in to the pressure to conform to this world’s standards. They feel the threats of job losses, jail time, lawsuits and more, and choose to change their words and standards. Churches, and many believers, now allow open sin as acceptable in God’s eyes, changing the Word of God, and doing what God clearly says not to do.

As the Israelites gave in to the pressure to stop building the temple, many believers today give in to the pressure to stop building God’s kingdom. They stop being His witness out of fear of those in the world.

The world will do their best to put pressure on you to turn from Jesus and follow their ways. As the world puts on the pressure on you to give in to their ways, you must make a choice as to who you will follow.

Will you follow Jesus, who gives life?

Or will you follow this world, which brings only death?

I pray today that you will stay focused on what God wants you to do; that you will only live for God; that God will give you strength to overcome pressure to turn from Him; and that you will continue to build His kingdom.