It’s said that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. It’s day 6 for PRESS. I hope you’re hanging in here with me, but more importantly, that if you’re still with us, you’re feeling good about the commitment to this prayer challenge.
Last week was a short week and our theme was consistency. I talked about developing the habit of intentional prayer and using the journal during your prayer time. I shared a video in the Facebook Group about how to journal and why. And we prayed together two times a day and shared scriptures and testimonies in between. It has really been a blessing. This week we’ll continue to move through PRESS June 2016 with the theme of STAND. Standing means sticking it out. Standing means having courage. Standing as a Christian, means keeping the faith, no matter the circumstances.
I’ve had a few inboxes and comments in the FacebookGroup about the timing of this event. The trials are great. The fire is hot. The storm in some of your lives is raging. You’ve got problems! You don’t have to tell me that, because I have them too. And even if you happen to be in a season in your life where you don’t have any problems, I’ll say it like my Aunt Mary used to say, “Keep on living.” I think Aunt Mary or whoever first spoke those words were quoting Jesus when he said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33). Our spiritual seasons change the same way they change in nature, without warning, without indicators. We now go from spring to summer and summer to fall without clear demarcations of what the weather is going to be. The good news is that though the climate and daily weather forecasts are unreliable, we have a God who is. Jesus ended that passage of text in John 16:33 with “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
What does Jesus having overcome the world mean to us in this present time, in our present situations, I mean other than that we have the gift of salvation? Don’t misunderstand me. I know salvation is big. It’s eternal, spiritual deliverance from sin. That’s huge. In the end, I think that’s what we all signed up for when we decided to choose this faith. But if you’re reading this blog post, that means you opened your eyes this morning. And I know for many of you that means you need a little help from Jesus in the here and right now.
One of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions states salvation is something that saves someone or something from danger or a difficult situation. Another states, salvation means to deliver or protect. Although the Bible mostly refers to salvation as spiritual deliverance, there are many times when salvation is referred to in the temporal, physical deliverance context. And sometimes both are used in the same passage of scripture. Read the story of Paul and Silas to understand:
Acts 16:16-40 King James Version (KJV)
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go.
36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace.
37 But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out.
38 And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.
39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.
40 And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.
In verses 25-26, we see Paul and Silas being saved through their prayers and praise. Saved from their current situation, imprisonment, but then in verses 30 and 31, we see salvation of the jailer…his eternal soul and the souls of his family.
God is always saving us. He has salvation for today and tomorrow and forever, all at the same time. But Jesus overcoming the world is not necessarily about a jailhouse delivery for all of us. Sometimes our salvation is the ability to walk through our trials victoriously. We have to withstand the weather in the seasons of life in the presence of God. How do we do this? We hold on to our peace and joy.
John 16:33 is about peace and joy in the face of difficult situations. Jesus is soon to encounter his death. These are his final words to his disciples. In John 14:27 He speaks of peace with the words:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Then in John 16:20, He speaks of joy:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”
Peace and joy are the two gifts Jesus has left for those of us that love Him. In the same way that he spoke of them, we must embrace them during tough times. We have to find our peace and keep our joy no matter what grave situations we encounter. Paul and Silas did it in prison. Jesus did it even into death.
So, you’ve got problems, but take heart. He has overcome the world so that you could STAND.
Walk in HIS Grace!