“But we prayed to our God–and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat!”
~ Neh 4:9
We are in danger of making prayer a substitute for duty; or of trying to roll over on God, the burden of caring for us and doing things for us–while we sit still and do nothing! When we pray to be delivered from temptation–we must keep out of the way of temptation, unless duty clearly calls us there. We must also guard against temptation, resist the Devil, and stand firm in obedience and faith. When we ask God for our daily bread, pleading the promise that we shall not lack–we must also labor to earn God’s bread, and thus make it ours honestly.
A lazy man came once and asked for money, saying that he could not find bread for his family. “Neither can I!” replied the industrious mechanic to whom he had applied. “I am obliged to work for it!”
While we pray for health–we must use the means to obtain it.
While we ask for wisdom–we must use our brains and think, searching for wisdom as for hidden treasure.
While we ask God to help us break off a bad habit–we must also strive to overcome the habit.
Prayer is not merely a device for saving people from toil, struggle and responsibility. When there is no human power adequate to the need–we may ask God to work without us, and in some way He will help us. But ordinarily WE must do our part, asking God to work in and through us, and to bless us through faithful obedience.
“I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me!”
~ Colossians 1:29
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”
~ Rev 12:11
It is not “the blood of the Lamb” as revealed in the word of God, but as applied to and sprinkled on the conscience, which answers the accusations of Satan. But we may observe that there is our coming unto “the blood of sprinkling,” and there is “the blood of sprinkling” coming unto us. The Apostle speaks, Hebrews 12:22-24—“You have come to the blood of sprinkling, which speaks better things than that of Abel.” This coming to the blood is the first step in gaining the victory. But in Christian warfare defeat generally, if not always, precedes conquest. It is not, therefore, so easy to overcome sin, death, and hell, which are all striving against us; and usually we never look to the right quarter for help until well-near all hope is gone. The first gleam generally comes from a view of “the blood of the Lamb,” as it were, in the distance.
The lighthouse casts its glimmering rays far over the wide waste of waters, to guide into harbor the storm-tossed mariner; so, when there is a view in the soul of “the blood of the Lamb,” even at a distance, it is a beacon light, which draws towards it the eyes and heart of those who are doing business “in deep waters.” The light may not at first seem very bright or clear; but it is a day-star, heralding the rising of the sun. The Spirit shines on the word, and raises up faith in the soul to believe that the Lamb has been slain, that blood has been shed, that a sacrifice has been offered, and that “a new and living way” has been opened and consecrated “through the veil,” the torn “flesh” of the Lord Jesus. This affords the accused soul some foothold on which it can stand and answer Satan’s accusations. “True,” he says, “I am a guilty wretch, a sinner, and the chief of sinners, for I have sinned against light, against convictions, against conscience, and the fear of God; my heart is altogether evil, my mind wholly corrupt, and my nature utterly depraved; I have never done any good thing; I am a wretch, and the worst of wretches, and I can never say anything too bad of myself, nor others of me; but, with all that, the Lamb of God has shed his precious blood, and that blood cleanses from all sin.” “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord,” we read, “shall lift up a standard against him”—the blood-stained flag of the crucified Redeemer; and to come for refuge under this banner dipped in blood is to make head against Satan. Still, the victory is not fully gained. It is only when there is a coming of the blood into the heart, a sprinkling of it on the conscience, a manifestation and application of it to the soul, that Satan is effectually put to flight.
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
~ Psalms 16:11
Knowing God is the most important thing. Without the knowledge of who God is we miss out on living out our purpose for our lives. We are created to be in relationship with God. Connecting with God is how we find joy! If you don’t know God, take a moment and pray and invite Him into your life, so you can experience the joy of His presence.
The Christian optimism is based on the fact that we do not fit in to the world. I had tried to be happy by telling myself that man is an animal, like any other which sought its meat from God. But now I really was happy, for I had learnt that man is a monstrosity. I had been right in feeling all things as odd, for I myself was at once worse and better than all things. The optimist’s pleasure was prosaic, for it dwelt on the naturalness of everything; the Christian pleasure was poetic, for it dwelt on the unnaturalness of everything in the light of the supernatural. The modern philosopher had told me again and again that I was in the right place, and I had still felt depressed even in acquiescence. But I had heard that I was in the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy, like a bird in spring. The knowledge found out and illuminated forgotten chambers in the dark house of infancy. I knew now why grass had always seemed to me as queer as the green beard of a giant, and why I could feel homesick at home.
~ G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy