Archive for May, 2011

Prevailing With God

May 23rd, 2011

1 Samuel 7:3-12
• This time looking at how the Israelites won the battle – it was God, He won the battle and Israel played their part. It was the Lord who thundered and threw the Philistines into confusion – He is the hero.
• It is humbling to us – God does the heavy lifting.
• How did God get so involved? Samuel was the great warrior – he prayed and heaven broke loose.
• Throughout history, men of God prayed and saw victory – e.g. Moses who prayed when Joshua was in battle, and he prevailed.
• The great power and efficacy of prayer. We don’t pray to feel spiritual but to know God and get things done.
• God invites us to an adventure of changing the course of events and even history.
• Prayer is not weak, pious, religious escapism or a cop-out for not doing “real” work. Prayer here is continuously fighting and prevailing with God.
• It is one of the privileges of being a Christian.
• It is hard – it’s a discipline and a struggle and a labour. But prayer is also sweet! God is our Dad and loves us.
• The more you press in, you find God is dealing with you and shaping you. We’re often tempted to pray only in the shallows.
• Jesus calls us to pray and not give up.
• We are called to live a life of prayer – living our lives with God and prevailing with Him.
• Prayer is not a spare wheel – it is the steering wheel!
• Turn your passions into prayer. Sometimes we only see prayer as a duty. What do you want? Take it to God – you’ll find out if they’re right or wrong. Take your anger to God in prayer – it’s much easier to just sit around and complain. Pour out your heart to Him!
• James 4 – you do not have because you do not ask.
• Whatever it is that angers and frustrates you can unlock and grow your prayer life.
• Sometimes you have to pray for something for years, even decades.
• Prayer is like a business product that sells really well.
• There is a danger – you can think it’s all about you and what you can achieve in your own strength in prayer.
• Samuel cries out to God on behalf of a desperate people who don’t deserve anything, and he prays for their protection and wellness. He was a sign of Someone who was to come.
• The Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest pray-er – He went back to the Father to pray and intercede for us (Heb. 7:25). He lives to pray and intercede for us. He’s not in heaven doing nothing!
• Before Jesus went to the cross, Peter was so sure of himself that he wouldn’t deny Jesus or turn away. Luke 22:31-32 – Jesus said he had prayed for Peter and that his faith would not fail, not for an easy life. Shows the importance and power of prayer.
• Jesus knows what is valuable, what’s most important about us – it is how much we trust God. All of our problems have come from us not trusting God.
• Jesus’ prayers never get denied!
• 1 Peter 1:6-7 – faith is more precious than gold. Your faith will be tested through trials and fire.
• If you don’t think you can make it, take heart – Jesus went through trials before you and for you, and now prays that you will be able to do the same.
• Romans 8:34.
• Jesus names us before the Father.
• John 17 – Jesus’ great high priestly prayer. This is what He prayed for us.

Author: Categories: What Kind of King? Tags: ,

Remembering God

May 16th, 2011

1 Samuel 7:3-17

  • V.12 – Samuel commemorates the event of God helping Israel – he’s trying to make it clear that God was the one who won the victory.
  • The book of Judges is repetitive – Israel kept making the same error, kept turning to other gods, and God would teach them by handing them over to those gods and allowing the tribes of those gods to rule over them – and Israel would cry out to God and He would raise up a hero to rescue them. Then Israel repeats the same mistake and never seems to learn.
  • Samuel doesn’t want Israel to make the same mistake this time so he sets us this memorial, “Ebenezer”.
  • We are the same – we tend to wander and drift from God, even when He does great things in our life.
  • Romans 1:21.
  • We all make the same error of not remembering God or giving thanks to Him.
  • Samuel wants to break the cycle of forgetfulness.
  • Phil. 4:6-7 – we find peace through thanksgiving to God.
  • We all have an inbuilt human instinct to give thanks and celebrate the good things that come into our lives.
  • Set up reminders in your life – to get you through the tough times.
  • 3 ways Ebenezers can happen in our life:
  1. The ones that are already there, that already exist to prove God’s work in our life – e.g. healings, miracle children, etc.
  2. The ones we set up – steps we take to commemorate e.g. journaling (the book of Nehemiah is a journal), recording what God has done. Deut. 6 – be a household that commemorates what God has done. Even write down the tough times and then what happened after. Ebenezer was the field where Israel got massacred – shows God’s hand was through it all and that He leads us through all times, even things that don’t make sense. Look for what God is doing through each season of your life – take time to think it through. God’s blessings come to us ripe, in the right time.
  3. The one Jesus gave us – the meal of bread and wine, Communion – to remember what Him and what He did for us, how God dealt with our sin and defeated all our enemies: Satan, sin and death. He is victorious. We can either live in it or forget it. “Eucharist” is another name for Communion and it means “thanksgiving”.

Real Solutions

May 11th, 2011

1 Samuel 7:2-14

  • This is a story of dramatic heart change of a community – Israel decided to pursue God wholeheartedly.
  • Israel had wandered so far from God that they had lost their most sacred object – the Ark of the Covenant. It was like a symbol of the covenant between them and God – but even though they had kept the Ark, they hadn’t kept their commitment and promise.
  • Something happened in Israel – heart change and repentance back to God. This was not only unusual but it was impossible, a miracle. The human heart doesn’t choose God in and of its own accord.
  • This was a different sorrow to mere outward, religious sorrow. 2 Corinthians 7 – godly grief vs. worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow is selfish grief – being sorry about the consequences vs. sorry about grieving God. Psalm 51 – David acknowledged he sinned against God and God alone.
  • We may not have murdered or committed adultery like David did, but our hearts are still the same. God wants an inner purity at the deepest level – our desires and the way we function deep down should line up with God – we need to rediscover the holiness and purity of God. And we need to realise this is not for misery but for our joy – it is the way to true joy.
  • Samuel exhorts Israel to turn their hearts to the Lord. We don’t turn to outward religion or rules, but direct our hearts to the love of God in repentance. Not trying to do god things or negotiate a deal but trusting in the promise of God that He will receive us by turning to Him. Not a burdensome thing.
  • God is the only one who can truly love us and make us truly happy – we come back to Him in order to return to joy and happiness. Psalm 16:11. We sin because we’re not enjoying God enough!
  • We go further than a mere feeling of sorrow & repentance – we also come under the instruction, input and help of people who are godly and wise, and get them involved. We come to God but also to God’s people – we walk in the light by being transparent with people in our life (not everyone obviously) or healing won’t truly happen. You won’t win fighting sin on your own.
  • Don’t let pride get in the way, or even a false sense of humility (i.e. not wanting to burden others).
  • Conviction of sin can fade if left alone.
  • “Sin” is not a popular term in our day and age. Don’t dress it up guilt and push it away – call it what it is and you will probably end up finding the relief you need.
  • The repentance of Israel started off so well, but then the Philistines decided to come against them. Often the steps of obedience and repentance we take lead to trouble! When you start to take God seriously, trials often come. What’s being tested is who you trust.
  • Israel got scared – but it is an improvement as at least their fear drove them to God (v.8). Who/what do you turn to in times of trouble? Where do you go for comfort? Drink, girlfriend/boyfriend, movies, food, sex?
  • Israel didn’t turn back to their idols in trouble, but God – shows true repentance. And they found peace, deliverance and victory. They found it in the place of prayer – Philippians 4:6-7.