Do you know what God requires of you? Do you know God makes His requirements clear in His Word? Micah 6:8 conveys three things God requires. This passage is very direct and straightforward. There is no room for doubt, questions, or uncertainty.
What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
TO DO JUSTICE – To carry out the judgments of God. Do things after the opinion of God. Follow the commands of God. Let the rules you use to conduct your life be the same as God uses.
TO LOVE KINDNESS – Be affectionate or intimate with the goodness of God. Befriend the favor given by God. Marinate in the mercy of God. Soak in the affection God has toward you. Know the wonderful value of God – being moved closer to Him day by day.
TO WALK HUMBLY – Behave oneself as lowly and reserved. Do not draw attention to self. Instead point toward God in worship and respect of Him. Be without any attempt to impress God.
Begin today doing what God wants from you. Learn His right ways of living, move close to Him in love being changed by Him, and conduct your life with a view of you being low and Him being high.
Some ways you can grow in these things God requires of you is to do the following:
Read – His Word – Psalm 119 provides a rich commentary for the value of God’s Word and His judgments.
Pray – Seek to understand God more by prayer and petition, presenting your anxious thoughts to Him. (Philippians 4:6)
Watch – God direct the steps of your life as you listen to His Word and communicate with Him in prayer. (Psalm 37:23)
Do you feel exhausted when you pray? Does prayer seem like a task that causes you to be drained? Jesus was concerned about this for His followers. He provided 4 qualities of prayer that will help enable us to pray energized, fresh, invigorating prayers.
Jesus explained these valuable qualities by using a Parable.
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
This parable was told for two purposes. It teaches us two things. The thing it teaches us is that we should always prayer. Secondly, it teaches us not to get weary in praying. Know you are not the only one who struggles with prayer. Jesus would not have told this parable if everyone had an “out of the park” prayer life.
The widow in the parable possessed 4 qualities that show us how we can stop being stifled in prayer and instead pray with fresh vigor. These qualities are Directed, Diligent, Disciplined, and Determined. Let’s explore each of these qualities the widow possessed. Then, we’ll discover how implementing these qualities in our prayer life will keep us praying even when we feel like quitting.
DIRECTED The widow’s prayer was directed to the Judge in the town. This was the only one who could do something about her problem. Her difficulty would only be properly addressed by the Judge. She could ask friends for help. She could have locked herself in her home. Fleeing to another town could have been an option. However, she chose to direct her request to the “top”. She prayed to the Judge – the only one who could do something for her.
DILIGENT “Kept coming” describes the diligence with which she presented her need to the Judge. She was tireless in her pursuit. Eagerly she presented her need to the Judge. The denials didn’t deter her attentiveness to present her need.
DISCIPLINED Did she come every day? Did she come day and night? Did she stay all day? The Parable doesn’t say. However, it does say she came “continually”. She regularly came. The widow had a method for coming. She didn’t “skip it” when it didn’t feel right. She put in the needed preparation to present the desire before the Judge.
DETERMINED The reason her requests got addressed was because she had purposed she would keep coming until the outcome she was looking for was given. The denials, refusals to answer, and “slammed door” in her face didn’t deter her from being resolute to have the request answered. It was actually her determination that made the wicked judge answer her request.
Adopting these 4 qualities in your prayer life will create an energy that you may not have felt in a long time. When you have a need or needs and you are Directed, Diligent, Disciplined, and Determined, you will pray with animated, lively prayers. Those prayers will get answered.
Jesus contrasted the Judge in the story with God. He said the Judge cared nothing about God or man yet he answered the widow’s need because of the qualities she possessed. Jesus encourages us to be encouraged our needs will be met when we possess these same characteristics. We can know when our prayers are DIRECTED to God who is a just God and always does what is right, our prayer will be answered. He is the very most “top” of the chain. God is the only ONE who can do anything of any value or significance about the needs we bring to Him.
It takes no effort to get distracted and forgetful in this life. We often forget we are in pursuit of an answer. “Oh yeah, I did care about that but I had forgotten about it.” We see a little glimmer of change and instead of more ambition; we tend to lose steam and think “Oh that’s the answer”. We take the silence as a “NO”. It is frequent we get busy with other things that rob our time and attention. We must be DILIGENT to continue to ask. Diligence includes remembering what we are asking, to ask, and continuing to ask until the request is granted.
It takes discipline to keep pursuing when it appears the results are not on the way. Going to the gym or taking that afternoon walk seem hopeless because there is no real, immediate change. However, it is in discipline that change occurs. When we understand that about exercise and apply it to prayer, we will exhibit a quality the widow portrayed. She prepared her need to present regularly. We should have a DISCPLINED routine to present the needs of our life regularly before the Lord. It may require keeping a prayer journal, writing it on a card, or setting a schedule in your phone.
When it seems our prayers are not being answered and no one is listening, be DETERMINED to continue to ask for the desired outcome. It will come . . . wait for it! The widow adopted this mentality. Her feeling of rejection didn’t stop her staunch statement of need. She was very insistent that her desired outcome be granted. We should have that same determined mindset when we pray.
THE REST OF THE STORY
There’s one more purpose for this parable. It is found in the question “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” How would you answer that in respect to your prayer life? Does God find that you DIRECT all your needs to Him with confidence He can do something about them? Does God find that you are DILIGENT to remember and pay attention to the needs of your life to present them to Him regularly? Does God find that you are DISCIPLINED, planned and resourceful, to keep asking when the answer doesn’t appear visible? Finally, does God find that you are DETERMINED to continually present your need before the only One who can do something about it.
Jesus told this parable to give us hope, energy, and encouragement to keep praying and not to give up. Keep praying today! Possess these four God-given qualities to keep your pray life fresh and energetic.
Does God get angry? God is a God of love and peace. Could God ever get mad?
A preacher in the 1700s preached a famous sermon called Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. In the message Jonathan Edwards helped to influence the Great Awakening in America. These spoken words caused many people to change their minds about God and choose to do things His way. The sermon made people recognize the power of God, the authority of God, and understand truly He was right to be angry.
Mark 3:5 tells what makes God angry. It is the “hardness” of the hearts of men. It is the unwillingness to listen to Him, to change, and to do things His way.
How do you feel when you have something beneficial for someone and they turn their nose up, go in the opposite direction, or call you a liar about wanting to do something good for them?
Think about how God must feel. He is good and can do nothing but good. Men in all the ages have hardened their heart toward God. Mankind has chosen to continue in the wickedness of their own hearts, unmoved by the love of God, teaching of God, and redemption of God. This heart of stone makes God angry.
God wants to give us a heart of flesh. He wants to take out our heart of stone and replace it with a heart that He writes His laws and commandments on. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Today be soft toward God, ready to hear His word, and do what He says. Don’t be a sinner in the hands of an angry God.
Proverbs 4 provides five things for parents to do and five things for children to do to make life pleasant peaceable, and prosperous.
Solomon, the king known for his wealth and wisdom wrote Proverbs 4. His father was King David, the man after God’s own heart. From David, Solomon learned many things. In this Proverb, he recalls how his father instructed him and expected him to get it. Solomon was teachable and motivated to be successful.
As parents we want our children to be successful. We want them to thrive. Our desire is for them to be healthy, stable, beautiful, and wise.
As parents, we achieve an outcome of pleasantness and prosperity for our children by doing the following 5 things:
Instruct our children – furnish them with knowledge in a systematic and directive way.
Provide our children with good teaching – explain and develop concepts and ideas.
Encourage our children to “get it” – take their hand and make them clutch on to the truth.
Cheer our children on to thrive – build our children up with confidence to make right decisions.
Warn our children against danger – inform and caution them what bad decisions and practices bring.
When a child does the following 5 things, they attain for themselves an outcome of successful living:
Listen to parents – hearing for the purpose of obeying and doing what is spoken.
Pay attention to parent – with a focused view on observing all the parents instruct.
Comply with the teaching – genuinely acting in wholehearted accord with the teaching.
Act out the commands – “just do it” with a desire to please and receive blessing.
Cautiously move forward – consider reverently and honorable all options and choose the most beneficial.
When these 10 things are carried out in the life of parent and child, the outcome cannot help but be bright and beautiful. Think about how much strife would be prevented if parents instructed in wisdom and children received the instruction, following it with all their might, for their benefit.
Take a moment and read through Proverbs 4. Encourage your children to read through it with you. Decide how you and your children can implement these 10 things in your life and the life of your family. Post the benefits of participating wholeheartedly in these “things”. Then discuss regularly the value your children would gain by following the king known for his wisdom and wealth.
Do you have any enemies? There are three broad categories of enemies for the Christian: The World (I John 2:15-17), the Flesh (Romans 7:14-25), and the Devil (1 Peter 5:8). All the temptations, sins, and struggles of our life can be put in one of these three broad categories.
The Bible provides great guidance to win in the battle against our enemies. 2 Chronicles 20 gives the strategy that proved effective. The participants in the battle triumphed victorious over their enemies. We are going to learn from this great example. Also, Psalm 25 supplements this proven strategy with encouragement of victory over the enemy.
We can be victorious over our enemies when we use this battle plan. We can enter the battle with assurance of victory in the end when we use these strategies to fight against the enemy.
STRATEGY ONE – KNOW THE ENEMY
Be alert and on guard against the enemy. Listen for sounds of the enemy or the announcement the enemy is nearing. 2 Chronicles 20 records King Jehoshaphat heard the enemy was coming. He heard a “great multitude” was on their way to fight them. He knew the enemy was not his friend. He knew the enemy was out to destroy him and his territory. He was afraid of his enemy.
Enemies are not your friends. Enemies are out to hurt you. Jehoshaphat didn’t try to make an alliance with the enemies. He didn’t try to talk to them to make them act different in his life. He knew they were bad and troublesome. He knew they would hurt him and his people.
STRATEGY TWO – SEEK THE LORD
Jehoshaphat was scared of the enemy. He was scared of what the enemy could do to him. He knew the enemy had power to destroy, harm, and trouble him and his people. Therefore, he “turned his attention to seek the Lord“. (2 Chronicles 20:3) He understood he could not win against his enemies. He had no power to stand against the enemies. He knew the best of his people were weak before the enemies coming against them.
They would praise God and continue to look to God for help from their enemies as long as was needed.
Acknowledgment of their enemies and their current situation.
Request for God to destroy the enemy.
Confession of their own powerlessness to win against the enemy.
100% surrender to God to tell them what to do because they had “no clue” and they were looking with their whole being to God.
STRATEGY THREE – WAIT
After they recognized their enemies and sought the Lord, they waited. In their waiting, they were “standing”. They were at attention to hear the answer of the Lord. They were watching for His response. They prayed in confidence, knowing that He would hear them, and He would answer them.
Psalm 25:5 encourages to “wait all the day”. Jehoshaphat encouraged the people to lift up their lives to the Lord. They knew there was no help for them but in God. They had no where else to turn. They knew they would not be ashamed of God’s response to their plea for help. They waited. They looked. They watched. They stood at attention with their eyes “continually toward the Lord” because they knew He was the only one who could get them free them from their enemies. (Psalm 25:15)
STRATEGY THREE – HEAR GOD’S DIRECTION
God spoke with an intention for the people to listen. He told them to not be afraid. He didn’t want them to be scared of the danger. They were in a dangerous position, but they didn’t have to be scared. Secondly, God told them not to be dismayed. He didn’t want them to be discouraged because of the greatness and power of the enemy coming against them. Third, God told them the battle was not theirs, but His. The enemy in their life right now was really against God and just took it out on them. They were caught in the middle.
God gave them instruction to go toward their enemy. He didn’t want them to run away. Facing the enemy is what He instructed. He told them to take the position in the battle and stand. Then, they would see God deliver. The encouragement to go out against the enemy with no fear or reserve was given. The basis of their confidence was “the Lord is with you”. (2 Chronicles 20:17)
STRATEGY FOUR – BOW IN WORSHIP & STAND IN PRAISE
Hearing God’s response, some of the people bowed in worship and others stood in praise. They rehearsed the worth of the Lord. They raised up the power and might of the Lord.
Psalm 25 provides some specific characteristics of God they may have used in their worship and praise of God.
You are full of compassion.
You are forever faithful.
Your goodness’ sake will help us.
You are good.
You are upright.
You instruct sinners.
You lead the humble.
Your paths are truth.
You share your secrets.
You deliver from distress.
STRATEGY FIVE – TRUST GOD FOR SUCCESS
Jehoshaphat gathered everyone together early and reminded them to trust God knowing they would win in the end if they kept trusting God. He also encouraged them to trust the words of God’s prophets. Jehoshaphat encouraged success would come if they would continue to trust God and hear the words of God.
We find further explanation of the successful path in Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous;be careful to do according to all the Law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may achieve success wherever you go.”
It is God’s word, the words of the Prophets, the words recorded in the Bible which make us successful against the enemy. Psalm 25 has portions that plead with God for His ways, His paths, His truth, His instruction, and His agreement.
Faith to trust God for good success only comes as we know, understand, and believe His word. (Romans 10:17)
STRATEGY SIX – RAISE A HALLELUJAH
Go forth to the fight against the enemy with a song of praise. Jehoshaphat taught his troops to say “Give thanks to the Lord, for His faithfulness is everlasting”. (2 Chronicles 20: 21) In saying this, they were thanking God for the victory before they saw it. They were praising what they knew about God. They were remembering the past victories He had won for them. They were acknowledging He would perform what He said He would do, so they thanked Him for what He was going to do.
They were thanking Him also for His faithfulness. They had seen, known, understood God was a faithful God. He could be trusted. He was a dependable God. For all these reasons, they went to the battle with victory on their minds. They took every step with appreciation and acknowledgment of the greatness of their God.
Psalm 25 appreciates and acknowledges the faithfulness of God with these phrases:
None who wait for You will be ashamed.
You are the God of my salvation.
Remember, Lord, your compassion and faithfulness.
All the paths of the Lord are faithfulness and truth.
STRATEGY SEVEN – SEE THE ENEMY DEFEATED
The battle was over before it began. God ambushed the enemy causing them to strike one another. The enemies defeated each other. There were no survivors. God completely wiped them out, making them turn on one another, and all the enemies were destroyed.
Jehoshaphat and his troops followed the command of God to go to their enemies. God had told them they would see the enemies defeated before their eyes. Well, it turns out the enemy was defeated before they even got there. God was right. They found the enemy dead on the battlefield. Jehoshaphat saw the enemy defeated.
STRATEGY EIGHT – TAKE THE BLESSINGS
God allowed the army of Jehoshaphat to get many goods, garments, and valuable things from the enemy. (2 Chronicles 20:25) It took them three days to collect all of it because there was so much. The blessings of abundance will follow the victory of God in our lives. We will not have any enemy to kill, steal, or destroy the favor of God to add valuable things in our life. Relish in the blessings God provides once the enemy in your life is defeated.
STRATEGY NINE – CELEBRATE THE VICTORY
Give God credit for the victory over the enemy. Show others the blessings of the Lord. Display the value of the win. Be full of joy and rejoicing at the triumph over the enemy. Receive the peace and rest God provides. Exalt the wholeness and stability He has won for you.
Psalm 25:21 says “Let integrity and uprightness protect me”. This means let the wholeness and stability God provides in the “win” to protect me from enemies coming against me. Let all the enemies be discouraged from wanting to fight me and come against me because they can see how God provides victory for His people.
FURTHER ENCOURAGEMENT FOR YOU
“No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
God is the same today as He was in the day of Jehoshaphat. These strategies of winning against the enemy work today as they did in the day of Jehoshaphat. Be encouraged. Use these strategies to fight the enemies in your life. Your struggles, your tests, your problems, and your difficulties will be defeated. These nine strategies are God’s escape route and endurance plan for you.
Take some time to read 2 Chronicles 20 and Psalm 25. Talk to God about the enemies in your life. Implement these nine strategies to win over the enemies in your life.