‘…And I Will Harken Unto You’

(Jer. 29:12)

THE MATCHLESS POWER EVER AT OUR FINGERTIPS

   It was a beautiful summer morning. The sky was clear, the air fresh and cool. Some were already at work and the activities of the day were well underway.  There was a plane flying high overhead. Few paid much attention to it, but those that did notice that the plane banked steeply into a shallow dive and seemed to speed up as it headed out to sea.

   The time was 8:15 A.M. Aug. 6, 1945. The city was Hiroshima.

   Suddenly there was a blinding flash of light.  The plane pitched and rocked wildly.  The pilot exclaimed in horror and wonderment, “My God, what have we done!” as he witnessed the instant extermination of 92,000 human beings.  The awesome power of the atomic age had come.

   The Bible tells us of another spectacular event that occurred in 701 BC.  Assyrian king Sennacherib delivered a letter to King Hezekiah of Judah.  In this letter, he bragged about the many kingdoms he had conquered and that it would be useless to resist him.  He said it would be foolish to trust in his God to save him, as they had destroyed every kingdom and god they had encountered.

   King Hezekiah laid that letter before God and prayed earnestly and sincerely, and that night 185,000 enemy soldiers died (2nd Kings 19:35).  Would it be fair to say that Hezekiah’s prayer triggered twice the power of the atomic bomb by killing twice the enemy?  And yet the countryside was not destroyed nor any of the innocent harmed.

   Sennacherib made a terrible mistake.  He tried to convince Hezekiah that God would be powerless before his mighty Assyrian army.  God sent him back the way he had come in disgrace, and he was then killed by his own sons, while he was praying to his ‘false’ god.  Read the whole intriguing story in 2nd Kings chapter 18 through chapter 19, and II Chronicles chapter 32 and learn what prayer can do.

   We all have a Sennacherib that is daily, moment by moment, telling us that God can’t or won’t answer our prayers.  Our Sennacherib is the doubts, discouragements and put-downs that constantly invade our minds. We know him as Satan.  He’s continually reminding us of our many failures and of his many conquests, and how useless it is to resist him.

   Satan’s objective is no different than was Sennacherib’s.  He wants you to serve him, or be destroyed; either way, you lose.  But, if we employ the same weapon that Hezekiah used, then we have many times the power of the atomic bomb at our fingertips.  The direct, personal conversation between a loving       Father and an imploring child can move mountains of problems (Mat. 17:20).  It’s called prayer.  Ask and it shall be given to you (Mat.7:7).  Just do it!

   There’s a story about Houdini, the famous escape artist.  He claimed that he could escape out of any enclosure in 30 minutes or less.   It happened that a small town in England had just built an escape-proof jail.  They invited Houdini to try his skills to prove it.  Happy for the publicity, Houdini accepted the challenge.  After trying every trick he knew, he was unable to pick the lock.  Time was running out.  Was he going to fail?  In desperation, he reached for the handle and gave it a twist.  The door swung open. It had never been locked, THEY TRICKED HIM.

   Can you see how Satan would like to trick you into believing that the door to prayer is locked, that you must have the key, special techniques or intercessorys in order to approach God in prayer?  He doesn’t want you to know that the door of prayer is never locked.  You don’t have to do penance and seek absolution from a priest or be forgiven by any earthly higher authority before approaching God.

   Consider David’s monumental sin and how he humbly prayed for forgiveness in Psalms 51.  David pointed out that it was against God and Him only that he sinned in spite of the harm done to others.  When we sin, the damage is done and others may be hurt, but the sin is against God.  Study David’s prayer for forgiveness in Psalm 51 prayerfully.

   The thief on the cross admitted that he was a sinner and deserved death, but he appealed directly to Jesus and very simply ask to be with Him when He came into His kingdom (Luke 23:41-43).  The point being, you can’t sin so severely that you can’t be forgiven providing you are sincere and humbly approach God with true Godly sorrow.

    “Come now, let us reason together, sayeth the LORD, though your sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow,  though they be as red like crimson they shall be as wool (Isa. 1:18).  Missing the mark is disappointing and should be a learning opportunity, but failure is when you don’t try again.

   The veil that separated man from God has been torn from the top to the bottom by the blood of Christ (Mt. 27:51).  The way into the Holy of Holies, the very throne of God, is now open to all mankind (Heb. 10:19-23).  There is no need to go through a minister, priest, pope, or the ‘virgin’ Mary.  For we have the only mediator authorized by God (I Tim 2:5) who is right now sitting at the right hand of the Father (Mk. 16:19) and is pleading our cause.  We have access to more power than we can possibly imagine.  Satan knows that and tries to convince us that we are unworthy of God’s love, but contemplate what Jesus promised us in Mark 11.

   “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.  24 Therefore I say unto you, what things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.  25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:22-26).

Further assurance of God’s love for us

   15 “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.   16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me” (Isa.49:15-16).

10 “When (or if) my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Ps. 27:10).

   “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:  15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

10 “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee” (Ps. 9:10).

   11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:11-13).

10 “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1John 4:10).

   When it’s the hardest to pray is when we should pray the hardest!  Satan constantly tries to flood our mind with negative defeatist thoughts.  He knows that there is a deep tendency in human nature to become precisely what we imagine or visualize ourselves to be.  He knows that our subconscious mind cannot distinguish between what is true or false, real or imagined.  It simply accepts everything as entered, like a computer.  Whatever is presented is accepted, if you allow it to be, but that choice is yours.  Be very careful what you allow your mind to dwell on.  Garbage in garbage out is still true.

A great recipe for mental health and peace of mind

   8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Phil.4:8-9).

   Our mind is comparable to our cell phones: constantly receiving messages, but we can delete them or accept them; the choice is ours.  We can fill our mind with the vanity of Satan’s garbage or with God’s truths, such as:

   “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”

   (Phil 4:13).

   “Greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world”

   (I John 4:4).

   “I am come that they might have life and that they might

   have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

   “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy

   paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

   The Psalms have a wealth of good thoughts to dwell on, don’t allow Satan to fill your mind with junk food.  Remember: it’s your choice.

The power of visualization

   Visualization is a more descriptive word for focusing and concentrating your thoughts in a particular direction.  One of the Vietnam P.O.W’s was able to keep his sanity by playing 18 holes of golf every day.  Every morning he would take out his clubs, walk up to the green, and place his ball on the tee.  Making sure he gripped his club correctly, he would strike the ball and follow it to the next green.  He carefully kept score and constantly tried to improve his game.  Understand that this was all done in a cubicle of about 6 by 12 feet.  He visualized every detail with mind pictures.  When he was finally released and back home, his friends were surprised at how his game had improved even though he had not actually played in years.

   Visualization is a powerful weapon you can use any time anywhere if you have control over it.  Take control!  What you allow your mind to dwell on is up to you.

   I read of a study made by a prominent university where they were attempting to find a formula for success.  They were able to isolate it down to four important categories. These were: IQ (the ability to learn) – knowledge (what you have learned) – and skill (the ability to apply what you have learned).  But these three accounted for only 7% of the total.  The single most important element to complete the formula counted for 93% of the total necessary for success in any endeavor.  What single component could possibly be so imperative as to make up 93% of the total?

   This component in large measure was what Cain had a problem with.  You can also see it in King Saul.  Yet it is also the thing that prompted God to describe David as a man after His own heart.  Would you say integrity, dedication, loyalty, or perseverance?  Of course, all those things are important ingredients, but something stood far above all these elements. It’s called attitude. Attitude made up 93% of their success formula!  Attitude can be defined as a posture of a person; be it mental, moral or physical.

   Pilots know to gain altitude you first point the plane up, in descending you also first point the plane down. Attitude determines altitude.  So it is with life!

   Your entire life can be changed by a change in your attitude. Guard it with your life, IT IS YOUR LIFE!

   Charles Swindall said about attitude:  “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude is more important than education, money, circumstances, failures, successes, appearance, skill, or what other people think, say or do, it will make or break a company – a church – a home (or you). The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will have for that day.  We cannot change the past – we cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string that we have and that is our attitude.   I am convinced that life is10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it and so it is with you, we are in charge of our attitudes.”

In summary

   Sennacherib’s power was turned into nothing more than a hollow threat when set against the power of sincere, heartfelt prayer.  That same power is yours.  Use it!

   Houdini could not imagine that the door was not locked.  It was not necessary to apply any of his great knowledge, techniques or special keys.  All Houdini had to do was walk through it.  Your door to prayer is not locked, just walk through it.

   David’s victory over his enormous sin was forgiven by his admission of guilt and wholehearted plea for forgiveness as evidenced in Psalm 51.  David prayed for the restoration of a clean heart and a right spirit.  God answered his prayer but take note that the damage David’s sin did could not be undone.  What was done was done.

   The thief on the cross had nothing more to give, nothing more to offer, even his life was soon to be over.  He was totally empty with naught to offer but his worthless self, so he simply asked to be with Jesus in His Kingdom (Luke 23:39-43).

   Visualization is a powerful tool when used correctly, as is prayer.  Visualize yourself humbly, sincerely approaching God as you would your best friend whom you respect and love very much, because He is.

   Charles Swindall on his view of attitude was only off by 3%.  Your attitude makes up 93% of your success ratio.  Life is not fair, you can’t always choose what comes your way, but you can choose how you will react to it.

   Check your attitude. You are the pilot of your own life, are you looking up or looking down?  Attitude does determine altitude!

   There’s no lock to pick, Christ unlocked that door for you.  When He died on the cross, the veil separating humanity from the Holy of holies was ripped apart.  Thus, opening the way unto the throne of grace; the very throne of God the Father is now open to all mankind through the blood shed by Christ.

 

A prescription for results

Prayerize, visualize, actualize and Energize.

    Prayerize:  King Hezekiah, in heartfelt sincere humility

                      implored God for help, and received twice the

                      power of the atomic bomb against his enemies.

                       David kept in touch with God and pledged that

                      He will hear my voice every evening, morning,

                      and noon (Psalms 55:17).

   Visualize:  Draw a mental picture in great detail. Use the ‘as

                      if’ approach, ‘as if’ it was already so, for God ’s promises

are as good as done.

   Actualize:  For we have not been given the word of men,

                      “but as it actually is, the word of God, which is

                      at work in you who believe” (1st Thess. 2:13 NIV).

   Energize:  Take action.  The right angle to any problem is

                     the try-angle.  Just do it!

                     Therefore: “I can do all things through Christ who

strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).

Just remember: the “izes” have it.

 

 Every problem contains within itself the seeds of its own solution.

  Our failures and our successes are teachable moments. We learn what not to do from our failures, but our successes become a test of our moral character.

   “I am grateful for all my problems.  As each of them was overcome I became stronger and more able to meet those yet to come. I grew on all my difficulties.” – J. C. PENNEY

   2 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2).

   8 “Though He (Christ) were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.  9 And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” (Heb. 5:8).  We also learn obedience through our suffering.

   “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:12-13).

 

You can do it!

But,

Are you standing on the promises or just sitting on the premises?

Del Leger, 6/24/18, (970) 249 6857, Christian Church of God, Grand Junction, Co.

King James version throughout unless otherwise notated.

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