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Archive for the tag “Pentecost”

Day 35 The Longest Lever

“Do not despise these small beginnings.” Zechariah 4:10

A friend recently came to me saying that she’s been praying during our 40 Day Prayer Challenge but things don’t seem to be getting much better. I know it’s hard to pray and wait on God (see post Day 23 Not Now) but small beginnings is where we must start. And if we continue to pray like the members of the early church (Acts 2), Pentecost can happen anytime, anyplace!

Mark Batterson reminds us of the value of small beginnings, “In Zechariah 4, the Jewish remnant who returned to Israel are getting ready to rebuild the temple. It is an overwhelming undertaking. But the Lord encourages them with these words: ‘Do not despise (Zechariah 4:10) these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s land.’

“The plumb line was an ancient measuring tape. All they had done at this point was measure! That’s it. But God was already rejoicing over them. Like a parent that celebrates a baby’s first step, our heavenly Father rejoices when we take the smallest of steps in the right direction. And those small steps become giant leaps in God’s kingdom. If we do little things, God will do the big things. But we have to do the little things like they are big things.

“We cannot worry about what we cannot do; we have to simply do what we can. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things. And if we do the ordinary, God will add an extra to it.

“Prayer is our plumb line. It’s also the true measure of a person. No one is greater than their prayer life. Our potential is directly proportional to our prayer life. It is the single greatest indicator of our success in any endeavor.

“Archimedes of Syracuse is famous for his quip, ‘Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the earth.’ He was referencing the lever, one of six simple machines identified by Renaissance scientists. A lever amplifies the input force to provide a greater output force. Simply put, the longer the lever, the greater the leverage.

“Let me borrow a simple statement and substitute one word: Give me a place to kneel on, and I will move the earth. In the kingdom of God, humility equals authority. Call it bold humility or humble boldness. That is our lever. If we try to exalt ourselves, God will find a way to humble us. But if we humble ourselves, God will find a way to exalt us. There is no leverage like kneeling in prayer. If we hit our knees in humble prayer, God will extend His mighty hand on our behalf. He will leverage us in ways that are humanly impossible.

“Humility is how we get out of the way of what God wants to do. And if we stay out of God’s way, then there is nothing God cannot do in us and through us.

“There is nothing magical about kneeling, but there is something biblical about it. Posturing our bodies helps us posture our hearts. Bowing our hearts in reverence before God is what really matters.”

If we do the ordinary, God will add an extra to it. -Mark Batterson

Is daily prayer your plumb line?

Prayerfully, Paige

 

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Day 23 Not Now

“Wait for the gift my Father promised.” Acts 1:4

Whew! This devotion is so powerful, I’m going to quote most of it directly from the book so you won’t miss the blessing.

I can’t agree more with Mark Batterson in Draw the Circle when he says, “When God says no to a prayer, it doesn’t always mean no; sometimes it means not yet. It’s the right request but the wrong time.

“Sometimes we have to be willing to give something up to God in order to get it back from God. Like Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac, it will probably be something as precious to us. It may even be a gift from God, just like Isaac was to Abraham. But God will test us to make sure the gift isn’t more important than the Gift Giver, the dream isn’t more important to us than the Dream Giver. He’ll test us to make sure it’s not an idol. If it is, that dream, gift, or desire might need to die so that it can be resurrected. But God often takes things away to give them back so that we know they are gifts to be stewarded for His glory.

No one likes waiting, “but waiting is part of praying, and praying is a form of waiting. Prayer will sanctify our waiting, so we wait with holy expectancy. And waiting doesn’t delay God’s plans and purposes. It always expedites them. Waiting is the fast track to whatever it is that God wants to do in our lives. And we’ll discover that on God’s timeline, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

“In our impatience, we often try to do God’s work for him. We treat Sabbath observance like a luxury instead of a commandment. We only obey it when it’s convenient, and then we discover that it’s never convenient. We work as though our world revolves around us and relies on us. Maybe it’s time to rest as though the world revolves around and relies on the Creator who hangs the stars and spins the planets.

“We’re way too busy. We’re constantly trying to do more and more in less and less time. The net result is that we don’t have any margins in our lives. And that is when prayer gets marginalized. We think we have too much to do to pray, but the exact opposite is true: we have too much to do not to pray!”

Following Jesus’ ascension, the disciples followed His explicit instructions not to immediately go into all the world (Mark 16:15), but to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. They didn’t go ahead of God but instead gathered in an upper room and prayed for ten days. Those ten days have benefited generations for over two thousand years!

“After we pray like it depends on God, we need to work like it depends on us. But if we don’t pray first, our work won’t work. We can’t do something for God until we let God do something for us. He wants to fill us with His Holy Spirit, but we need to empty ourselves first. From the depths of our hearts to the depths of our minds, the Holy Spirit wants to fill every crevice that already exists and create new capacities within us. And when the Holy Spirit comes on us, we will think new thoughts and feel new feelings.

“What would happen if we holed up in an upper room, knelt at an altar, or locked ourselves in a prayer closet and said, ‘I’m not coming out until I receive my gift my Father promised.’ I’ll tell you exactly what would happen: Pentecost would happen all over again.

“You cannot plan Pentecost. It’s not like Peter woke up on the day of Pentecost and had ‘speaking in tongues’ on his to-do list. He didn’t plan on baptizing three thousand people that day. But if you pray for ten days, Pentecost is bound to happen.

Sometimes God’s no simply means not yet. -Mark Batterson

How long are you willing to wait?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 35 The Longest Lever

“Do not despise these small beginnings.” Zechariah 4:10

A friend recently came to me saying that she’s been praying during our 40 Day Prayer Challenge but things don’t seem to be getting much better. I know it’s hard to pray and wait on God (see post Day 23 Not Now) but small beginnings is where we must start. And if we continue to pray like the members of the early church (Acts 2), Pentecost can happen anytime, anyplace!

Mark Batterson reminds us of the value of small beginnings, “In Zechariah 4, the Jewish remnant who returned to Israel are getting ready to rebuild the temple. It is an overwhelming undertaking. But the Lord encourages them with these words: ‘Do not despise (Zechariah 4:10) these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s land.’

“The plumb line was an ancient measuring tape. All they had done at this point was measure! That’s it. But God was already rejoicing over them. Like a parent that celebrates a baby’s first step, our heavenly Father rejoices when we take the smallest of steps in the right direction. And those small steps become giant leaps in God’s kingdom. If we do little things, God will do the big things. But we have to do the little things like they are big things.

“We cannot worry about what we cannot do; we have to simply do what we can. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things. And if we do the ordinary, God will add an extra to it.

“Prayer is our plumb line. It’s also the true measure of a person. No one is greater than their prayer life. Our potential is directly proportional to our prayer life. It is the single greatest indicator of our success in any endeavor.

“Archimedes of Syracuse is famous for his quip, ‘Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the earth.’ He was referencing the lever, one of six simple machines identified by Renaissance scientists. A lever amplifies the input force to provide a greater output force. Simply put, the longer the lever, the greater the leverage.

“Let me borrow a simple statement and substitute one word: Give me a place to kneel on, and I will move the earth. In the kingdom of God, humility equals authority. Call it bold humility or humble boldness. That is our lever. If we try to exalt ourselves, God will find a way to humble us. But if we humble ourselves, God will find a way to exalt us. There is no leverage like kneeling in prayer. If we hit our knees in humble prayer, God will extend His mighty hand on our behalf. He will leverage us in ways that are humanly impossible.

“Humility is how we get out of the way of what God wants to do. And if we stay out of God’s way, then there is nothing God cannot do in us and through us.

“There is nothing magical about kneeling, but there is something biblical about it. Posturing our bodies helps us posture our hearts. Bowing our hearts in reverence before God is what really matters.”

If we do the ordinary, God will add an extra to it. -Mark Batterson

Is daily prayer your plumb line?

Prayerfully, Paige

 

Day 23 Not Now

“Wait for the gift my Father promised.” Acts 1:4

Whew! This devotion is so powerful, I’m going to quote most of it directly from the book so you won’t miss the blessing.

I can’t agree more with Mark Batterson in Draw the Circle when he says, “When God says no to a prayer, it doesn’t always mean no; sometimes it means not yet. It’s the right request but the wrong time.

“Sometimes we have to be willing to give something up to God in order to get it back from God. Like Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac, it will probably be something as precious to us. It may even be a gift from God, just like Isaac was to Abraham. But God will test us to make sure the gift isn’t more important than the Gift Giver, the dream isn’t more important to us than the Dream Giver. He’ll test us to make sure it’s not an idol. If it is, that dream, gift, or desire might need to die so that it can be resurrected. But God often takes things away to give them back so that we know they are gifts to be stewarded for His glory.

No one likes waiting, “but waiting is part of praying, and praying is a form of waiting. Prayer will sanctify our waiting, so we wait with holy expectancy. And waiting doesn’t delay God’s plans and purposes. It always expedites them. Waiting is the fast track to whatever it is that God wants to do in our lives. And we’ll discover that on God’s timeline, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

“In our impatience, we often try to do God’s work for him. We treat Sabbath observance like a luxury instead of a commandment. We only obey it when it’s convenient, and then we discover that it’s never convenient. We work as though our world revolves around us and relies on us. Maybe it’s time to rest as though the world revolves around and relies on the Creator who hangs the stars and spins the planets.

“We’re way too busy. We’re constantly trying to do more and more in less and less time. The net result is that we don’t have any margins in our lives. And that is when prayer gets marginalized. We think we have too much to do to pray, but the exact opposite is true: we have too much to do not to pray!”

Following Jesus’ ascension, the disciples followed His explicit instructions not to immediately go into all the world (Mark 16:15), but to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. They didn’t go ahead of God but instead gathered in an upper room and prayed for ten days. Those ten days have benefited generations for over two thousand years!

“After we pray like it depends on God, we need to work like it depends on us. But if we don’t pray first, our work won’t work. We can’t do something for God until we let God do something for us. He wants to fill us with His Holy Spirit, but we need to empty ourselves first. From the depths of our hearts to the depths of our minds, the Holy Spirit wants to fill every crevice that already exists and create new capacities within us. And when the Holy Spirit comes on us, we will think new thoughts and feel new feelings.

“What would happen if we holed up in an upper room, knelt at an altar, or locked ourselves in a prayer closet and said, ‘I’m not coming out until I receive my gift my Father promised.’ I’ll tell you exactly what would happen: Pentecost would happen all over again.

“You cannot plan Pentecost. It’s not like Peter woke up on the day of Pentecost and had ‘speaking in tongues’ on his to-do list. He didn’t plan on baptizing three thousand people that day. But if you pray for ten days, Pentecost is bound to happen.

Sometimes God’s no simply means not yet. -Mark Batterson

How long are you willing to wait?

Prayerfully, Paige

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