Monday, April 24, 2023

At All Times

At All Times 
by David Brenneman 

"Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not become discouraged, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect any person. Now there was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect any person,  yet because this widow is bothering me, I will give her justice; otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge said;  now, will God not bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night, and will He delay long for them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”" Luke 18:1-8 NASB 

It's interesting that the explanation of the parable is given right away.  A point to note is some translate the last verse to read "will He find the faith on the earth?"

Oh the transition that mankind refers to as "progress"!  We build this or that and marvel at the genius of our minds!  Pride swells at the successes of our hands!  

What is missed is that which is wrapped up in the lessons of the children of Israel in the years that followed them entering the Promised land. 

The truth that successes at our own hands at meeting our own needs and desires often creates a disconnect between us and God meeting our needs.  It often dilutes or waters down faith in God's provision and His promises.

Do you see what is meant by the parable? That in the generations to come mankind would marvel at its own brilliance and achievements, thus reducing its own reliance upon God for daily needs?  

Think about it.  What mankind calls progress, God doesn't necessarily agree with.  

We ought not to think of God's provision in our lives as a backup plan in case our societal solutions fail.  

The promises of Jesus Christ ought to be where we go to first.  

We often swim in surplus in our lives rather than considering our need to rely on God.  Some actually think they are in danger if their shelves in a vast pantry have an empty spot.  

Our world teaches so many things that are the opposite of what the Bible teaches through the Spirit of God.  We get taught to define our lives our way by our own desires.  That's not what the Spirit teaches us. We get taught to go after whatever our heart desires, regardless of if we can afford it or not.  We get taught that it's only a matter of persuasion to get everyone to agree with what we want ourselves to be accepted as.  That loving self for the sake of self is paramount.  Interestingly that's a warning in the Bible about the time that Jesus refers to here upon His return. 

It's not natural, in our time in which we live, to consider that we need to truly seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and what? And all these things will be added unto you.  

We indeed are facing needs in our lives.  
But as faith history points to for us, when we persist in going to God first, God honors that.  

When we persist in going in our own strength and knowledge, we more often than not get stressed out because of details we weren't aware of. 

God's never unaware of any kind of details. 

My life is hidden in Christ Jesus.  Satan can throw all kinds of things at it in order to spur on worry.  To try to get a seed of that to take root.  We are told up front that our battle is not against flesh and blood.  It's not the people around us.  

It's what then? "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 NASB. 

What's at stake?  There's always something that's at stake in a war.  The first is our way of life.  War disrupts the way of life for all involved.  How we eat, how we get what is needed, fix what is broken.  How we go about our day.  How we even sleep at night.  

Whether you are saved or not, the war is still there.  Those in Christ Jesus are just vastly more aware of it than anyone outside the life that's found in Christ Jesus.  We are given spiritual eyes that can see truth because we're given the truth of God in Christ Jesus.  

Satan wants to destroy whatever is valuable to God.  From life itself to how it ends.  From murdering babies in the womb to the elderly.  He cares not who it impacts as long as those people do not and are not able to give glory to God. 

Satan wants what people attribute to God. 

He wants to steal even our faith.  That lesson that I referred to considering the children of Israel.  They got to being so into their genius and successes in the Promised land that they systematically began turning away from God.  Their faith was turned from God towards other 'gods' which are no Gods at all but rather are demons. 

Persistence in prayer turns our minds towards our living hope in Christ Jesus. 

Persistence in prayer keeps our focus where the One who knows every detail can provide for our needs in His timing and through His ways. 

Persistence in prayer strengthens our faith in Jesus Christ and not of ourselves so that we don't boast.  

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB. 

It's often a great struggle for me to sit on my hands when I have prayed for God's provision.  My natural inclination is to do something.  My natural mindset is that I need to work at solving the problem.  

As one was reminded in the Bible "is there anything to great for God to handle?" sort of paraphrasing that.  Jeremiah 32:27 NASB "“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”

Persist in Godly stubbornness.  A strange way to say that.  Persist in going to God first in prayer.  Persist in sitting at the feet of Jesus.  Persist in living life so that your faith might be strengthened.  Persist because the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. 

He is looking for the weakness of self-reliance.  For that fledgling ego that's just ready to burst out n to leave faith behind. 

"Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2. 

Pray together. Bolster the faith of others.  Pray for one another.  Persist in prayer. 

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