I Believe In Prayer

Praying for Branch County and Beyond

Archive for the category “Bold Obedience”

Day 15 – Expectations

Luke 14:25-35

             Mistaken expectations can leave us confused and even put us in harm’s way. A newspaper photographer in Los Angeles got a call from his editor, who told him he wanted pictures of the fire that was raging out of control in Palos Verdes. The editor told him that there was a plane waiting for him at the county airport and that he needed to get the pictures and get back in a hurry. They were needed for the evening edition. 

            The photographer raced off to the airport, and found everything just as his boss had described. He jumped into the plane and yelled, “Let’s go!” The pilot took off and within minutes they were within sight of the raging fire. The photographer then instructed him to swoop down near the flames so that he could get some pictures. The man looked surprised and asked, “Why?”  The reporter snapped back, “Because I’m a photographer and that’s what photographers do: they take pictures.” After a moment or two of complete silence, the pilot stuttered, “Does that mean you’re not the flight instructor?”

            If we enter the Christian life with the expectation of ease and comfort, we shall be disappointed. Jesus does not call people to pursue success but to follow him. Following him will eventually lead to “fullness of joy . . . and pleasures forever more,” but along the way we will encounter our share of difficulties: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” said Paul and Barnabas bluntly (Acts 14:22).

            If we expect God to make life easy and keep us out of all troubles, we will inevitably feel that he has let us down. But if we expect him to be with us in trouble, to glorify his name and work ceaseless good in us and through us – that is, if we trust in him – we will never be disappointed.

 “The one who trusts will never be dismayed.” (Isaiah 28:16)



Day 14 – Bold Faith Together

Acts 4

The third and fourth chapters in the Book of Acts contain stories about action (“Acts”) for God in Christ by Peter and John, and the consequences they suffered for taking those actions. The believers respond to the threats against Peter and John by praying for more boldness – and praying together. That togetherness deserves to be highlighted, a togetherness which also can be seen in the way this passage is couched between two scriptures, Acts 2:44-47 and 4:32, that show us a cooperative early church. But before going on we must know what is meant by the term “boldness” here.

The Greek word for boldness, in our English letters, is parrhesia, and it can mean several things. It has much to do with speaking out loud publicly, and might be considered the opposite condition of, and maybe the antidote for, being afraid to talk in front of crowds – one of our society’s greatest fears. Yet, this boldness in speaking is not something coerced, but has an air of freedom to it; not quite casual but certainly open, unambiguous and plain-spoken. Undergirding it all is a confidence and assurance, connected with an authority and even license that actually comes from somewhere beyond the individual.

Of course, the ultimate authority and power for this boldness is the Lord. Yet, I want to accentuate that our authorization and strength additionally can come from being the People of God together, with common direction and purpose. That’s what attracted me in the first place to this community-wide emphasis on bold faith, and why I continue to support it through our congregation. It can cause us to encourage each other publicly, from congregation to congregation, to unambiguous boldness in faith. The outcome is something far beyond our individual and personal faith expressions, creating a community in Christ, in which the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Oh sure: we may have our differences. Yet, like the believers in Acts, let’s continue to pray for each other in our communal authentication of bold faith in others, in order to show the world around us the love of Christ in action!

 We ought always to thank God for you … because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. (2 Thess. 1:3)


Day 13 – Bold Obedience

Acts 4

             The theme of bold obedience rises to prominence in Acts 4. It shows up specifically in the lives and ministries of Peter and John the Apostles. In fact, the book of Acts is itself an account of the apostles and disciples of Jesus boldly walking in obedience to the Great Commission. There is a principle at work here: in order to get the results that Peter and John saw, one must be boldly obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

            Isn’t this the same Peter who, just prior to Jesus’ death, denied Him three times?  We find him now preaching with power and boldness, while being used to perform supernatural works.  He was most definitely different; he had been transformed by the person of Jesus Christ and empowered with boldness through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

            We find a second principle here: when people are boldly obedient to the Lord they will in fact face opposition. Peter and John were arrested and brought before the religious leaders of their day because of their bold obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised us that as we follow Him in bold faith and act according to His word, great things will accompany us. However, He also promised that we would be hated and rejected by a world that cannot comprehend spirit truths.

            There is a third principle demonstrated in these early believers: their bold obedience was not only visible as they ministered to others and as they stood before their opponents, it was evident in their personal lives as well. In Acts 4 we’re told they sold everything, sacrificed it all, and fully trusted God. What would the church look like today if we as believers would take God at His word and boldly walk in obedience to Him and Him alone?  

Present your bodies as living sacrifices,

             Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. (Romans 12:1)


Day 12 – Elijah

1 Kings 19

                  Elijah was, like many of us, a man of contradictions. There were times when he expressed great faith — and times when he was full of fears. He was powerful as he faced the false prophets of Ahab and Jezebel, and he was compassionate when he raised the dead son of the widow who had provided him food and lodging. The Bible shows both sides: Elijah acting as the instrument of God’s miracle power; and Elijah falling victim to the natural human fears that afflict even the strongest person of faith!

                 Elijah ran and hid in a cave when Jezebel determined to take his life.  The Lord appeared to him and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He did not the answer the Lord’s question, but instead stated how he had “been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty,” and how the Israelites were being unfair to him. The Lord told him to go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord. The Lord then sent a great and powerful wind, and an earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in them. Finally He came in a gentle whisper, and Elijah went out, pulling his cloak over his face. The Lord showed Elijah that He does not always work through all those harsh methods, represented by the winds and earthquakes and fires, but the He was also kind and patient and could speak to His servants through a gentle whisper.

                 May we all gain courage to be bold for God, despite our human weaknesses and moments of doubt, knowing that He personally cares for us and will send His angels to minister to our needs, along with gentle words of comfort!

 “After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.   And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12)


Day 11 – Bold Obedience to the Word of God

Jeremiah 20

             Have you ever just been completely fed up? You’ve determined you cannot take it anymore? Your life is just overwhelming.

Jeremiah found himself in this situation. Even though he was chosen before his birth to be God’s man, the message God gave him to share was very unpopular. He told the people and leaders of his day that God’s wasn’t going to overlook their sin anymore.  God’s judgment was coming and their cities would be overthrown. Jeremiah was laughed at, mocked & abused.  He was ignored, put in stocks, & thrown in a mud pit. Every time He spoke of the things of God he suffered.  So Jeremiah had had it. He was determined to keep his mouth shut.  He would just not talk about the things of God and his life would be OK.

This is a great temptation of Christians in our day and time.  We’ll just keep our mouths shut and not speak the Word of God to our friends and neighbors.  We don’t want to be thought of as weird, odd, pushy, and even a little crazy.  So we keep our mouths shut so that we will not suffer from ridicule and mild persecution.  Who wants to be mocked or be a laughingstock?  What is needed is a BOLD obedience to the Word of God.

Jeremiah burned on the inside like a fire because of the truth and burden of the Word of God.  So in spite of the ridicule and persecution he would undergo, Jeremiah open his mouth and boldly spoke the Word of God to his generation.  He had to be obedient to the Word of God.

Is this not true for us too?  We must boldly proclaim the word of truth to this wicked and perverse generation.  We must boldly hold out the word of life to the spiritual dying souls of our generation.  We may suffer for it but Jesus said we could be glad when this happens because we would be like the prophets of old.

Pray for God to put a fire in your bones to know His word, to spread His word, to be boldly obedient to His word.  This prayer for such a fire is the desire to be filled with a sense of need and urgency.  Our generation needs us to be a people of BOLD OBEDIENCE.

 “But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” 

 (Jeremiah 20:9)


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