Women's Prayer Team - Week #23
For those of you who know my family, you are most likely aware that my husband and I are as different as night and day! Craig is mostly (I saw that loosely) serious and he is extremely focused. I tend to be a bit of a dreamer and am always thinking of a project or task for us to do. I am super focused at work and a "happy accident" of events at home. My husband is practical and reasonable, and I sometimes err too much on the side of fun and impulsiveness. I'm grateful for Craig and the balance the Lord allows us to bring to one another. I like to think of him as the tether to my hot air balloon-way of thinking. I think BIG and he thinks practically.
We tend to handle the good and bad of this life in this same format. He buckles down and puts his game face on and will approach the situation with calculated thoughts and responses. Where as I will jump right in ready for whatever is ahead without even pausing to think of consequences or the probability of risks. If you are reading this email, you know that life happens. Situations come. No matter how big or how small, how easy or difficult. Situations, circumstances, trials, and challenges as well as achievements, victories, and mountain top experiences are all part of this one thing we all have in common - life. Those easy and rewarding circumstances are delightful! But when difficult situations are on the horizon, how should we properly handle it? We could be like Craig and bear down and go in with shear determination and fortitude. You may be like me where you jump in without giving much thought of the outcome, but just want to be "dive in" to whatever is in front of you.
But, how can we look to God's Word to think through situations that life gives us? We often hear of those that have walked through hard circumstances and have come out on the other side with the Lord's grace and victory. But what if that's not your story? What if the situation in front of you feels bleak and seemingly without hope? Sometimes, we may demand God’s deliverance, threatening to give up our faith or even question His goodness. How can we be set apart from what the world might feel is the correct response to hardship - giving up? Let's look to the Lord for our help, friends! In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar has just challenged three young Jewish men - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - with the choice of either bowing down to worship a false idol, or to be thrown into a fiery furnace to their deaths. It seems that these three men are at a crossroads, a criss of belief for those of us who walked through last semester's Life University class, "Experiencing God". Would they remain set apart? Would they fully rely on God and trust Him?
If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from
the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods,
nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.
Prayer Tip # 23 – Pray for Courage to be Set Apart - No Matter the Outcome.
Isn’t that a contradiction what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego told the king? They said, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not..." They were basically telling the king that they believe God had the power to deliver them, but even if He didn't save them - they would still not compromise.
Friends, what if we as a church family would strive to think and live this way? We would be unstoppable! These three men were so confident that God had the power. They knew He parted the Red Sea to save His people, they knew about the Lord's deliverance from the 10 plagues, they knew about the battle of Jericho. God had proven Himself to these men over and over again throughout history - just as He has done for you and me.
They didn't doubt God’s power to stop events from happening. Think about the worst event that has happened in your life. If God couldn’t have stopped that from happening, then He’s not God. But He is God, and He didn’t save these young men from having to go into the fire. He didn't stop their storm - He instead gave them what they needed to endure it.
They had complete confidence in God’s power, but they also had an unwavering faith that He would deliver them. But what if He didn't? Then you have to see the last piece of the puzzle: trust. They say, “even if he doesn’t, we aren’t going to bow down and worship a false God. We already passed on the food you gave us back in the day that was devoted to your idols, we are definitely not backing down now. And if God doesn’t save us, then we still trust him.”
King Nebuchadnezzar thought they were foolish and that he was winning when his command to throw them in the fire was being carried out. Man, he could not have been more wrong. Despite the evil, you could not take away their trust. They trusted God whether Jesus met them inside the furnace or met them inside of paradise.
“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
This situation turns out quite remarkably. King Nebuchadnezzar is changed because of these men's belief in God and because of God's deliverance. What if our circumstances are to ultimately bring someone else to Christ? If these men hadn't been thrown into the furnace, the Lord would not have had the opportunity in this instance to make His power known in such a way. They used their sufferings to still bring glory to our God!
I don't know about you, but I want to have that kind of faith. These are the types of people we want our children to be. Confidence, faith and trust. I hope that all three of these qualities are increasing in me and in you, friends. No matter how you handle the situations in your life, it's my prayer and earnest heart's desire for each of us to fully rely on the Lord for everything! For facing uphill climbs to enjoying the splendor of His blessings on the top of the mountains. Let's be set apart from the status quo - for His glory!
Prayer Points: Please pray over these requests:
Humbly ask for a faith that can move mountains.
Pray with a firm belief that the God of the Universe is with you no matter what the circumstances are.
Talk to the Lord with complete trust in His plan, not your own.
Lord, let me be set apart for You.
I come before You in the Name of Jesus and humbly ask for a faith like that of these three men. Lord, give me a faith that can move mountains. Lord, I believe that You are always with me and sustain me throughout any situation I am in. Help my unbelief when I am struggling to find Your way and keep my faith in You! Lord, I completely trust You with all of me and all of my life. Allow me to live in light of Who You are, what You can do, and how good You are - no matter my circumstance. Help me to live a life set apart like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Thank you for their examples in Your Word. I love You, Lord and I give my circumstances over to You. In Jesus' Name I pray these things, Amen.
Because of His Grace,